Stuck Fine Tuners

September 13, 2019, 11:49 AM · Hi all,

I wondered if anyone could give me some advice on what to do about my fine tuners please.
They are the Wittner-style tailpiece integrated fine tuners.
The violin is a VSO (my thread from earlier in the year https://www.violinist.com/discussion/thread.cfm?page=2910 ) and the fine tuners have always been quite difficult to move, but they have now pretty much seized up completely.
I'm tuning with just the pegs at the moment, but I'd be much happier being able to use the fine tuners, particularly on the E.

Many thanks in advance :)

Replies (4)

September 13, 2019, 12:25 PM · I would take your instrument to you luthier and ask him/her what is going on. Fine tuners can stop turning if you turn them too far in one direction or the other, but normally you just have to turn in the opposite direction to free them. Good luck!
September 13, 2019, 12:30 PM · One possibility when something seizes up is lack of lubrication. As a first approach I would suggest unscrewing each fine tuner screw one at a time and applying petroleum jelly to the thread. Don't use oil - it will drip all over the place. Make sure you do this one screw at a time so that there are always three fine tuners holding the pressure on the bridge. If this doesn't work then a new tailpiece may be needed - talk to your luthier about this.
September 13, 2019, 3:32 PM · I have to deal with this just about every week as the young musicians present their instruments to have their tuning checked and usually they aren't in tune.

First of all I have a small pair of needle nose pliers in my kit because many of these tuners are really small and often stuck hard. For some reason people refuse to turn the pegs occasionally so that the fine tuners have to be loosened instead of tightened.

My approach is pretty basic. I loosen the string at the peg then I try backing the fine tuners with my fingers, if that fails then I get out the pliers. I'm usually successful but sometimes it just doesn't loosen. Then I tune it with the peg and I have a check-sheet of problems that I note the problem on that I give to the parent recommending that they take the instrument to the local luthier/music shop where they acquired the instrument. Then I tune the next instrument till everyone is tuned. I do sometimes make the young musician wait if the line gets too long.

September 13, 2019, 6:42 PM · Fine tuners need to be lubricated periodically. If a fine tuner is "stuck" lubrication might get it working again, or it may be too far gone already.


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