Slipping Pegs help!
So... I have a new instrument, and at first the pegs were a bit too tight and then I (stupidly) applied peg compound and now, several days after applying the compound, they are far too loose.
I've never had this problem before and am not sure what to do! :( Yes, I am going to the luthier tomorrow, but would be nice to practice tonight too...
I've tried wiping the pegs and peg holes out with q-tips to remove as much of the compound as possible - has not helped. Humidity is at 47% in my home.
Yes a bit of chalk or diatomaceous earth. Those will have both an abrasive effect and they will help absorb traces of compound that you weren't able to remove with the Q-tips. One is reminded of the story of the little old lady who swallowed the spider to catch the fly, but your luthier will be able to remove all of that crap and give you a fresh start. While you're there ask him/her about gear pegs for your instrument.
you dont stop with that geared crap, do you??
Experience IS a pretty good teacher!!!
geared pegs are crap that devalue the violin, end of story
I managed to get them to stay long enough with a few more q-tip cleanings, and extra humidification in the room. I was afraid of using DE or chalk, since the pegs were too hard to turn before. Thank goodness I am going tonight for something unrelated...
I have used Hill's Peg Compound successfully; one does have to follow the directions and not overdo it. Hill's contains both an abrasive (jeweler's rouge) and a lubricant, so it can help with both slipping and sticking (sorry, Lyndon). Of course humidification is necessary in the dry season, but continued problems with pegs may indicate they were not well fashioned initially; only a luthier can fix that!
Gear pegs will solve your problem entirely, Erin. And Lyndon's incorrect about them devaluing your violin unless you've got a priceless Italian antique. (And people have put gear pegs in those too!) If I sold my violin I bet the next owner will be delighted that they are already there.
Chalk has worked the best for me, but you really need to have nicely fitted pegs or you are fighting a losing battle.
Paul you are so right...I got gear pegs on both my acoustic violins a year ago and they are great. I was just trying to help someone who hasn't had the good fortune of gear pegs yet...
My teacher has geared pegs on her 18th century viola and I can see from the ease with which she tunes it that they are great.
I would love some geared pegs, but the pegs I bought were pretty expensive so I won't be changing them soon. Maybe I'll get some for my viola. Paul, do you know if they sell geared pegs that have shapes other than the basic shape, such as heart shaped or other kinds?
There is a place for geared pegs in the market, however I'd rather stick with friction pegs as they sound way better and are a lot easier to change strings on. Geared pegs can have some ridiculous ratios so you'll spend an afternoon changing strings. If you are having tuning problems, just slap on a high quality tailpiece with built-in fine tuners. They make some pretty ones out of wood too.
Hmm, you're right, normal pegs are easier for changing strings. The viola is getting restored, so we'll see what tailpiece my luthier puts on. He usually has pretty good stuff, so I'm sure he will do it justice. It should be done within the next couple weeks, and I can't wait to see it and hear what it sounds like.
Well, you could use a peg crank like on a guitar. It's easy to make one. Plus, wooden pegs "sound better"? What?
I have not tried geared tuning pegs but think it would be a plus to many prospective buyers. The older I get the more I think they are a good idea to have.
OH, COME ON! GET REAL!
Peg DO have an effect on sound.
When you buy a million dollar Italian antique, we can start talking about pegs affecting the sound—and doing spectral analysis to find the difference, because god knows we won't hear it.
I use geared (wittner and knilling) and and wooden (friction) pegs. I agree that there is a difference in sound.
I read a lot of HiFi mags in the 70s. People were making platters out of a shellac 78 of the second movement of Beethoven's 4th symphony. They were sticking a disc of Mongolian yak felt to it that had 7.8g of rancid yak butter blended in with the fibres. They were heating it and their vinyl in an oven to 94.13 degrees Fahrenheit. And that made the record sound so much better on their $75,000 superfi. Some swore on their mother's life that the first movement gave a superior sound.
How would you switch out the pegs fast enough to make an honest comparison of the sound anyways?
Mechanical pegs have metal parts to rattle around and vibrate, wood pegs are just solid wood, like the rest of your violin.
I haven't run across a rattle in the three major brands of geared pegs. Have you?
why don'y you usually use geared pegs on your violins if they're so great???
Simply because most people are more accustomed to conventional pegs, than geared pegs. If a client requests geared pegs, I have no problem with doing that, and haven't yet seen a compelling reason not to do so, other than some frenetic arm-waving from one corner or another, about how evil they must be. ;-)
We're using geared pegs on most of the cellos that come through our shop these days. They work great, and I felt much better about using them after I found out how to put them in correctly and how to take them out. Players love them, pretty much universally.
Do a scientific test. Get a sizeable block of wood and tie it tightly to the scroll. Record the instrument with and without. Run it through a spectograph.
When I watched a professional cellist turn her instrument around to wrestle with her tuning pegs I was totally convinced that my decision to install geared pegs in my cellos was a good one. It was after that that I decided to go ahead and install them in my violins, my son's and my granddaughter's - and then the violas.
CM: Spectrographs are laughably inadequate to the task of showing what players respond to. Don't assume everyone is lacking the same abilities you appear to indicate you lack....you are not the standard for this.
Saying pegs change the sound of a violin is on the same level as saying that diluting duck liver makes a potent cure for the common cold. It's auditory homeopathy.
I don't know much about homeopathy, but pegs certainly can change the sound of a violin.
+1 to Cotton, I'm glad he's saving me from having to write all that. Next we'll be hearing about the length of string that you should have emerging from one's pegbox.
If you are a disciple of homeopathy, I have a copy of the original book in my small collection of rare books. I would eagerly part with it at a conservative market price.
Paul, changes from pegs can definitely be there. I think it's mostly due to differing weights of the pegs. Some violins sound better with heavier pegs, and others sound better with lighter pegs. And two people may not agree on which sounds better on a particular violin.
David I won't rule that out
Paul, some classical guitar makers do exactly that--drill a whole and fill it with lead. When I was making guitars, it was a joke that the ideal classical guitar neck would be one that had its head sunk into a block of concrete the size of a VW. I think this is due to a specific problem where the simple answer is that more weight is better. Consequently, the last I noticed, there are quite a few classicals with very heavy necks. FWIW, what happens to violin neck/head weight and stiffness is easily recognizable if you do a lot of them. When I started the business I'm now in, it took only about three new boards before my partner understood exactly why I wanted to replace some of the violin boards that he thought were fine, and he marveled that he'd never noticed before what that did. That's because he didn't have to know--that was my job.
Paul, those are fair questions, and I think Michael answered most of them.
I like Micheal Darntons last post as it accurately describes what has been my experience that any minute change to setup is noticeable, such as swapping out a fine tuner on the E string or the use of the E string sleeve or removing it, yet I can understand people being skeptical over tuning pegs affecting sound. There is so much controversy on sound subjects such as playing in, carbon fiber material, and projection that sometimes I do not want to read any more on it and just depend on my ear and intuition of what is better.
Let me make sure I understand what y'all are saying. Gear pegs (that is, heavier pegs) always causes worse violin tone for Michael's customers, who have told him this over and over apparently. Meanwhile David says sometimes it's better with heavier pegs and sometimes worse. What did I miss?
Paul: I didn't say that about violin peg changes. In fact I don't remember mentioning violin pegs at all.
Has anyone determined how much energy of the vibrating string is damped by the nut and how much continues to be transferred to the peg, the string anchor point? If the peg is absorbing a significant amount of the vibrational energy, then maybe the mass (inertia) of the peg has a measurable effect on the sound.
Tom, my crude theory is that there's not much point in wasting energy, vibrating parts of a violin which don't emit much sound. One theoretical way of doing this would be to make these parts so massive, that vibrational energy is more reflected back to the parts which are really efficient sound radiators, than absorbed elsewhere. This kind of fits in with Darnton's observations of guitar necks, and the metaphor about encasing the heads in concrete.
That's the theory I go on as well: any vibration not making music is wasted. Movement in the neck is wasted sound, basically--vibration that could go to ears rather than to the player's left hand. An interesting point on this: beginners and less experienced players often say they like a violin that communicates with them via vibration, especially through their left hand; I rarely hear this from old pros who have focused themselves on how to maximize things for the audience. Functionally, I have heard better players refer to this as an instrument having some backbone, or resistance, against which they can press (as opposed to being weak or compliant, maybe).
Perhaps the heads of the violin pegs should start out relatively massive so that they can be carved down to remove mass until the violin's tone has been optimized. I'm picturing the following:
Paul, you have some neat ideas, but you are still well behind where many violin makers and restorers are. Tungsten is much heavier than lead, and doesn't have the potential toxicity issues.
David, osmium is the densest of all natural metals, about twice the density of lead, so could in principle be used as a substitute in some applications.
Osmium is too expensive and its compounds are toxic, so I would not use that. Tungsten is nice and dense but it is not nearly as workable as lead. The lead that you put into the scroll ... one does not need to be touching it all the time (or ever).
Tungsten powder can be mixed with various types of glue, and simply brushed of dabbed into place. If it's a water soluble glue, and if removal is later desired, it can be removed with water. Doesn't get much easier than that.
That sounds messy. How much tungsten relative to the mass of glue solids? Just wondering what the final density of the dried composite material will be.
No, as one of the tools in the experimental arsenal for people in the trade. As I mentioned earlier, my first choice for varying the mass of scrolls on traditional instruments would be lighter or heavier pegs.
I wonder if they make pegs out of depleted uranium. LOL
If they could, some member of the SCVMA would have already tried them...
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