Changing out Cheap Tuning Pegs

April 15, 2019, 10:08 AM · I came across a violin that has decent bones, I believe I would play it if it were easier to tune. It's a 1K level instrument which is why I can't believe they didn't put wood tuning pegs on it. The plastic pegs tend to slip. The violin only has one string tuner on the E string.The A goes out of tune constantly.
I am toying with the idea of replacing the pegs with better pegs. There are lots of upgrade kits online, I'm just not sure if the diameters are the same. The violin has never had the peg holes enlarged. Will any kit fit it? Or should I look for something more specific? Thanks!

Replies (39)

April 15, 2019, 10:45 AM · You cannot count on a set of wooden pegs fitting your current peg holes.

There are two tools essential for working with wooden pegs: a peg hole reamer and a peg shaper. The reamer will enlarge peg holes to the proper shape and size for the pegs and the peg shaper (when used properly) will help you make the pegs perfectly round. The reamer is easier to use. Although I have a peg shaper I have done everything possible to avoid having to use it.

Another very helpful tool is a digital caliper that will allow you to measure the diameter of the pegs. The caliper is the least expensive of these tools.

If you choose to install geared pegs such as Wittners or Knillings you will not need a peg shaper and the job will be much easier although the geared pegs will cost more than wooden pegs. I can attest that you will avoid many violin woes during your lifetime of playing if you choose geared pegs.

April 15, 2019, 10:47 AM · The tools needed to fit pegs would run you about $150, you should be able to find a luthier that will fit pegs professionally for you for less than that, and no, pegs you order will not fit the holes they will be significantly thicker and need a pegshaver and a peg reamer because your holes probably aren't the right taper.
April 15, 2019, 11:47 AM · Thanks Andrew and Lyndon.I had hoped they were a more universal fit. The geared versions Andrew mentions seem about the best.I didn't want to put a lot into the instrument. I have a reamer that looks to be similar to the hole sizes. I'm not bold enough to attempt to try that yet. I have a digital caliper. I was hoping to give it a mild face lift with hardware and pegs without spending a fortune.
April 15, 2019, 3:37 PM · Most reamers from the hardware store will not fit your needings. First, it has to be 1:30. Second, peg hole reamer have their three blades only on one side. The other side stays round and smooth, helping the reamer stay centered.
April 15, 2019, 5:01 PM · Screw all of that. Get Wittner Finetune pegs. And just to spite Lyndon, glue 'em in!
April 15, 2019, 5:21 PM · Yes Paul geared pegs are the way to go there easy and also you aren’t worried about investment because it’s not an investment fiddle.
April 15, 2019, 5:25 PM · I second geared pegs. I have no regrets putting them on my much more valuable violin.

I glued them in, too.

April 15, 2019, 5:25 PM · I second geared pegs. I have no regrets putting them on my much more valuable violin.

I glued them in, too.

Edited: April 15, 2019, 6:35 PM · Wittner pegs do not need to be glued in. Knillings do!
Read the instructions twice before starting.
And do a "mock run." Think, Plan, Re-Think before any cutting. Take your time.

Measure the diameters of your current pegs carefully and purchase replacement geared pegs as slightly larger than the current pegs as possible. That way, if you screw up there may be larger pegs to buy for replacement in case you screw up the first time.

I bought my peg-hole reamers on Amazon.

I bought some of my Wittners and Knillings on ebay.

I have installed geared pegs on 14 instruments (all in the family) - its not something I do commercially.

April 15, 2019, 6:32 PM · With plastic pegs it wouldn't surprise me at all if they slip in their holes and the string windings slip on the pegs - double whammy!

I agree with the others - geared pegs are the way to go in this instance.

April 15, 2019, 8:45 PM · You can pay a moderate amount to get a set of new ebony pegs fit professionally, or you can pay double to have plastic?? mechanical pegs fit which may or may not last a lifetime.
April 16, 2019, 9:09 AM · Thanks everyone for the advice on the tuning pegs. My mental imagery pictured something similar to geared guitar tuners. I have seen violins with a setup like that. The violin geared tuners just look like regular tuning pegs. I would be tempted to put these on all of my violins since I don't own a collector fiddle.

I will need to buy a specialty reamer it seems. I found a site online that sells the Wittner pegs for under 70.00.I didn't check their shipping. Most are charging in the 100 range for the tuners if shipping is included. Not sure how much a reamer will cost. If I can get it to under 100.00 for this refurb I will be willing to invest 10% of the value of the instrument. I know I won't recover it, but maybe it will help to sell it later on.As it is now I hate playing it because of the tuner issue.

Lyndon , "paying double" for geared pegs at say 100.00 plus a reamer might be in the 130.00 range puts your estimate at about 65.00 for the pegs and the labor. Not bad if a person didn't want to mess around with a violin. I think at some point I would like to try both standard new pegs and the geared tuners. I think I read here before that having the geared tuners depreciates a violin. Maybe this only applies to higher end instruments. Might actually appreciate mine. I guess if the future buyer knew about the tuners.

Here's a video I found in case anyone else is thinking about this.

April 16, 2019, 9:25 AM · Amazon is selling violin peghole reamers for $15 to $20. That's where I bought mine at least a decade ago.
April 16, 2019, 10:03 AM · Thanks Andrew!I have one on the way. I'll get it in a day. I had to watch the sizing. The least expensive one, the ream size was questionable. I found a 1:30 for just a shade over 20.00 US.
April 16, 2019, 10:06 AM · I also bought mine on Amazon, works as intended. Installing Wittners was problem free, but I did change back to conventional pegs barring the E peg. Great thing about the Wittners is that they can be taken out at any time if you want to
April 16, 2019, 10:18 AM · All my sets of gear pegs were installed by luthiers. Maybe $50 for each set. I am glad I decided to have someone do it for me. My dad has a peg reamer. I would be scared to death to put that thing into my violin. I'd need to try it on a few VSOs first. But that's just me.

Andrew is right that the Wittner pegs do not require adhesive. In my opinion, they also work the best out of the three brands that I have tried (the others are PegHeds and Knilling Perfection Pegs). The most physically attractive are the PegHeds.

April 16, 2019, 10:52 AM · I think all of mine are just nice VSOs and I keep telling myself, it's a violin not a baby.
I won't need to go to the emergency room for heart trauma if the neck breaks off. I might say a few words I can't repeat here though or make a few originals up.
April 16, 2019, 3:13 PM · A tip for dealing with a slipping peg in an emergency situation: take the peg out and apply a little rosin dust from the bow hair to the shiny surfaces where the peg contacts the wood of the peg box. That should provide the necessary friction. Then, as soon as you can, take the problem to a violin technician or luthier for it to be sorted properly.
April 16, 2019, 11:03 PM · Well he said his pegs are plastic so I doubt a luthier can do much for that except put in new ones, and if you're going to do that then might as well get Wittner Finetune Pegs.
April 16, 2019, 11:04 PM · You geared peg nuts never stop, do you!!
April 17, 2019, 8:22 AM · Hey there, Lyndon!

THREE cheers for "geared peg nuts" and for three more of their violins ----->

April 17, 2019, 8:37 AM · I didn't realize this was going to put me into another classification.

I'm soon going to be inducted into the GPN society.I feel pretty special!

April 17, 2019, 8:45 AM · After you learn you're definitely not qualified to fit geared pegs yourself and have to pay a luthier to do it.
April 17, 2019, 8:57 AM · Any member interested to become a founding member of the GPNS and take part in the GPNS inaugural assembly - date proposals are welcome!

As long as one knows what he's doing, it's not rocket science. (This said after having installed Wittner pegs on one viola and two violins.) Problem remains: how to know what you're doing...

April 17, 2019, 11:19 AM · Nuuska :)

If there will be food I'll be there.I can bring potato salad....and my geared peg violin.

April 17, 2019, 11:41 AM · So you don't have any problem precisely reaming the hole to the correct size, carefully sawing off the excess length of each peg, and finely rounding and sanding the end of each peg you have just sawed off??????
April 17, 2019, 11:56 AM · No should I????
April 17, 2019, 12:07 PM · Incidentally, the number 27 comes up often for me. That post ^^^^^ is number 27. I don't like to land on 13.

I think this is significant.

Edited: April 17, 2019, 12:45 PM · I definitely prefer the 7 and 9. And while 12,20 and especially 24 are very relaxed numbers (not to speak of 32, which almost feels too laid back to me if it comes about tradition), 11 or 17 are fine when I'm in some kind of radical mood, and revolution is in the air. 15 is somewhat inbetween, I'd say. A typical John Doe number for daily use, like 8 or 56...
Although the 27 isn't ugly or something, I personally never felt a strong resonance with it. Maybe it is because it feels a bit too much like mondays or red beets salad with horseradish, but I'm glad it was lucky enough to find you.
April 17, 2019, 1:36 PM · I think there is something significant in numbers. I never really understood why 27 comes up so often for me. I have noticed recently I land a lot on 7 and 14 too, but not as much.
27 was a call number for me among other things that seem almost too much for coincidence.The entry number to my road is 27. I think 7 and 9 tie into other important things. People seem to prefer more evenly divided numbers as a general rule.It seems 27 came after me.I never looked for it.
27 was a significant age for me as well.
April 19, 2019, 4:28 PM · All that numbers stuff is BS.
April 19, 2019, 4:46 PM · In two orchestras I am Number 6 in the firsts. Number 6 is of great importance in the TV series "The Prisoner". Yes, it is indeed all BS, marinated.
April 19, 2019, 5:07 PM · Paul you landed on 31...that's not a lucky number.
Edited: April 20, 2019, 11:07 AM · But only because it's an inverse 13. I prefere it with french dressing.
April 22, 2019, 3:23 PM · OK Nuuska,the second part of that went right over me. Made me hungry too.

I still haven't ordered the pegs yet. Been a busy Easter weekend. I don't think Lyndon can bear to watch. The numbers thing really weirded him out and put off a few of the analytical types.

Edited: April 22, 2019, 4:51 PM · Well yeah, guess when it turned to marinades and dressings, even the analysts got hungry and hurried towards their fridges.
I'm just about installing geared pegs on my violin Nr.4 which is sitting at my parents place. Every time I visit them, the pegs loosened, and it's like a miracle the soundpost never fell. By accident I ordered the 8,6mm version instead of the 7,8mm, stupid me, but these are not my numbers anyway, so violin Nr.4 has to wait a few more weeks for them getting installed.
Same time I ordered a set of ordinary rosewood pegs for my violin Nr.1 - it will be our 3rd anniversary soon, so I thought about something fancy to celebrate our stormy love affair... And who knows, maybe a new bow?! (But don't tell yet!)
April 22, 2019, 4:54 PM · My daughter (a cellist) decided at a young age that tenor clef looks like 13. So she calls it "13 clef."
April 22, 2019, 5:07 PM · ... and now she mainly uses the 9-clef? I see.
April 22, 2019, 6:44 PM · Nuuska, hope all goes well. Finally ordering these now....I tend to procrastinate.
Paul, that's funny.

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