How to remove the ball on A string

Edited: February 19, 2019, 4:26 AM · Hi all!

Recently I have changed my violin fine tuners on E and A to hill style.

I inserted the hook into the ball. It sounds weird. The ring went away.

Would you educate me how to convert my Dominant A to loop end? I searched…people said "it's possible" but I some how found that the wire is too tight around the ball.

Thanks so much!!!

Replies (25)

February 19, 2019, 7:11 AM · Scissors? .........D*mn!
February 19, 2019, 7:14 AM · Crush the ball with pliers. Then remove it.
February 19, 2019, 7:19 AM · Tom, when you crush it, did the plier squeeze the string together with a sharp bend?
February 19, 2019, 8:37 AM · I've never tried removing an A string ball, but I just wiggle the E string ball using the point of a pencil until I can work it loose from the loop.
February 19, 2019, 8:54 AM · Check the edges of your Hill fine tuners to be sure they are rounded enough to avoid damage to the strings. The tuner edges can be easily filed to remove sharp edges. Synthetic-core strings (like the Dominant A) are particularly subject to damage by sharp edges at either end of the instrument.
February 19, 2019, 9:14 AM · Mary: yes, the E is not not difficult. The A is the problem...

Andrew: Thanks!! I have filed both. It’s proven it won’t cut the E.

I have tried to squeeze the ball by all tools I have at home. It didn’t come out.
I’m surprised no loop end / removable ball A is in the market.
Such as obvious solution to the A string fine tuner problem.

February 19, 2019, 10:13 AM · Mr. Kiang,

There are some steel As with removable balls. Warchal, Pirastro Wondertone Solo and Perpetual, Prim and Larsen, with some work (but are indeed removable.)

That said, there are no removable balls for synthetic or gut As-the fine tuner would destroy the core, making it impractical. Chang, Frang, and others do it without a Hill tuner, I believe. There's no need for that in general, but they do.

I do agree they should invent a fine tuner Hill style, but made for ball-end strings. The Wittner super long ones are heavy and clunky.

Mr. Warchal suggest a small mini tuner installed at the pegbox (check his website). I suggest black color,as gold and silver stick out too much by the pegbox.

February 19, 2019, 4:04 PM · Adalberto, thank you so much. Good to know... sadly steel is not my thing. I think I can just settle to putting the hook in the ball. Or no fine tuner at A.

Thank you all for your input! I’m grateful.

February 19, 2019, 4:06 PM · I’m not sure for the peg box solution... the pushing type of fine tuner ....
Silver is the most available choice here in my city
February 19, 2019, 4:23 PM · Isn't there a Hill-style tuner with a split post? Or is the split too narrow for an A string? I just can't remember!
February 19, 2019, 4:43 PM · Mr. Kiang,

I would do your Dominant A without anh tuners, including the one at the pegbox, because it may also brrak your aynthetic string.

I think there may be a few niche fine tuners, perhaps one by Bogaro and Clemente, usually not readily available, unless you order it from them. I may be wrong, going by memory.

So please, someone invent a Hill style fine tuner for ball strings.

February 20, 2019, 6:35 AM · No A fine tuner then!! Problem solved!
Tuning is the origin sin of strings instruments
February 20, 2019, 6:36 AM · Andrew: yes, but that would elevate the after length section of the string, and the string will exert less pressure on the top plate via the bridge.
February 20, 2019, 6:45 AM · Why do you need an a string fine tuner with synthetic string a???
February 20, 2019, 8:56 AM · Hi Lyndon, we can tune the A without the fine tuner. But it's always easier to tune with the fine tuner even you know how to use the peg. I have a feeling that people who can consistently tune very quickly with the peg are in fact settling to a few Hertz of discrepancy.
February 20, 2019, 10:09 AM · Mr. Taylor,

Some well-known soloists do, even while using synthetics. It may be something they did since their prodigy childhood years, and that has stuck with them ever since. Have never heard of any plausible advantages besides the obvious (but then this setup changes the tailpiece balance and afterlength.) I have also heard it is more common in other places to do this-definitely not the norm in US.

If there were Hill style tuners for ball end strings, I wouldn't mind it much, but I wouldn't recommend this for most players. The Wittner fine tuners are so long and impractical-wish they got a modern update.

February 20, 2019, 10:33 AM · strings sound better without fine tuners except on the e where it is necessary. 90% of players do just fine with only one fine tuner, its not hard to learn to tune conventional pegs.
February 20, 2019, 12:12 PM · When I removed my 3 fine tuners 50 years ago I was amazed at how much better the sound was. When I switched from a post to a Hill E string fine tuner it was more of a subtle difference.
February 20, 2019, 3:33 PM · There are small adapters available that allow ball end strings to be mounted on a Hill style fine tuner. And Wittner makes a "Hill style" tuner for ball end E strings. Not sure if it will accept A strings, though.
February 20, 2019, 4:14 PM · Mr. Pontoppidan,

I remember the metal adapters-I honestly consider those a patch, rather than a solution. One of Kaplan's Es used to come with one They alter the afterlength quite a bit.

This Wittner "Hill style" fine tuner you mentioned is unknown to me. Is it new?

Be well.

Edited: February 21, 2019, 1:30 PM · I agree that the adapter is not a very elegant solution to the problem.
You can see both the adapter and the Wittner fine tuner here:

E tuners

It does say that the Wittner tuner is only recommended for E strings.

February 23, 2019, 12:40 PM · Though this fine tuner doesn't appear to be readily available in the US, just wanted to share the link on a similarly related thread. Appears like the "perfect" fine tuner to me, especially for steel A lovers/users, as some good but older brands' steel As do not have easily removable balls.

https://bcbows.com/en/musical-instruments-accessories/accessories-for-violin/various-accessories-violin/tiracantino-violino-dettagli.html

February 23, 2019, 4:10 PM · I've been using the above with the Warchal Avantgarde A.
February 24, 2019, 3:31 PM · With reference to the Wittner "Hill style" fine tuner mentioned in Bo's post of Feb 21, the "E tuners" link is
https://www.thestringzone.co.uk/categories/fine-tuners-e-adapters-etc, and the "Hill style" tuner is the 3rd from the top in the right-hand column.

I have used this tuner on and off for some time, including on a steel A, which wasn't a problem. The "Hill style" has a longitudinally doubly split pillar threaded inside and out. A tuning lever passes through the slits and is actuated by a threaded tuning screw interacting with the pillar's internal thread. The external thread is for a threaded fixing screw to attach the tuner to the tailpiece. There is, of course, a small plate-like member under the tailpiece to which the bottom end of the pillar is permanently attached. Quite a neat and well-engineered design, but I suggest there are a couple of small issues, not serious but worth knowing about.

Firstly, the length of the split pillar places the ball end of the string higher than on some other tuning adapters, thereby reducing the angle of the string's after-length with the bridge and presumably also reducing the downward pressure on the bridge. I can't say that, for me, whether that results in a noticeable change in tone.

Secondly, adjustment of the tuning screw in normal playing appears to slightly loosen the tuner, resulting possibly in a slight "buzz", which first drew my attention, and a slight instability in tuning. A regular check and tightening of the fixing screw is the order of the day (as it should be for everything else on the violin!), so not really a problem. I think the loosening is more pronounced with a non-wood tailpiece.

The loosening appears to be an inherent consequence of the design. The tuning screw will tend to move the two halves of the pillar relative to each other, and this movement in turn reduces the tightness of the fixing screw.

Advantages of the Witter "Hill style" are that it is inexpensive, light in weight (among the lightest), gives the correct after-length, and is easy to fit. Overall, I like it.

February 24, 2019, 3:59 PM · Mr. Jennings,

Indeed it appears decent. I have a very unimportant-and perhaps quite trivial qualm: it only comes in super bright silver! A black version would have been nice. But definitely better and nore practical than the long Wittner ones.

Thanks for sharing how it worked out for you.

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