Planetary pegs vs adjustable tailpiece
If you were going this route, why would you choose one over the other? Is there a sound difference? Or is it just the look? Or because the tailpiece is cheaper and easier to install?
There are many brands and designs of tailpieces with integral fine tuners. There are only 2 designs of internally geared pegs, the planetary design (i.e., Knilling and the original - Pegheds) and the Wsittner Finetune.
2nd Andrew (as always, I am of similar mind) except I really appreciate Chuck Herrin’s work at PegHeds. I use his pegs on two violoncellos, two violas, and two violins- I use his Knilling versions on the my electric vln and vla as well. I have found much improved resonance and a more open tone in every case over tuner tlpcs.
Edward, I had tried a number of different integral-tuner tailpieces before I took the plunge with my first Bois d'Harmonie. I found no degradation of tone or response compared to my previous bare-ebony tailpiece and so I continued on to install the BdH tailpieces on a total of 3 cellos, one viola and 4 violins. Each violin has a BdH of different wood: ebony, rosewood, boxwood and pernambuco. I did the whole "round robin" thing with the violins and found that only one of my violins was not degraded by the pernambuco (so it still "proudly" wears it). all the other woods were equally good on all the violins. I did not have the heart to switch back to bare tailpieces, since there was no advantage to it and I had so much money "invested" in the BdH. I eventually installed BdH Kevlar tailcord on all my BdH tailpieces too. That was sort of troublesome until I realized how much stretch there would be in the knots and took account of it in subsequent installations.
The best TPS that I found were Dov Schmidt’s named models with the inset plastic levers. I never could bring myself to spend on some of the others and I had a preference for the minimal changes in contact, after length, and weight in his products. I also have a preference for the feel of the low string on a harp style compensated TP.
Pegs. I'm never going to use one of those blasted tailpiece tuners again.
Thank you for your input everybody. I haven't completely decided if I'm going to make the change, but if I do, it will be pegs.
Pegheds are a little more elegant and they work fine. I have them on my violin. Wittners function just a little better. I have them on my viola. Knilling Perfection Pegs are fine too. My daughter has them on her violin.
For the turn-turn-turn, Wittner offers a crank so you can do it faster.
I have never found the extra peg turning required when changing strings with geared pegs at all annoying. I also brew my own Cappuccinos!
It wouldn't surprise me if the Wittner crank fit the Pegheads heads. I have a generic one I used for guitar strings back in ancient times, bet that would work too, something like
I am interested in doing the Wittners. Did you install them yourselves? It looks like you need a reamer. This would be on a cheaper violin that's been repaired. Then what did you do for tailpiece. Is wood better or something lighter?
I installed all my pegs myself - these were the only pegs I have eve installed.
Paul, et al.,
I'll second Andrew's endorsement of BdH tailpieces, I personally find them more accurate than geared pegs. I have a pernambuco TP on one of my fiddles and I really like its tonal effect.
On my Glasser carbon-composite 5-string violin it came with the Perfection pegs and fine tuners on the tailpiece for all 5 strings. I find that I use them both but it's easier for that last tiny bit of perfect tuning to use the fine tuners on the tailpiece. The Perfection pegs are a huge improvement over the traditional wooden friction pegs that are on my wooden violin (which has 4 fine tuners built into the wooden tailpiece).
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that geared pegs aren't sensitive to humidity changes. In my area, in the fall, the humidity can vary from 60% to 10% in the time it takes for the wind to change direction. Most of my violins with wooden pegs can be heard popping them loose. I even had one peg pop loose and fall on the floor while I was playing it.
Don, you said "I would prefer geared pegs... but they have the downside of having significant friction over the nut, making fine adjustments a little more difficult than with the fine-tuning tailpiece."
What about the Harmonie tailpieces with the integrated carbon fiber tuners. Has anyone here tried these?
Christopher: These appear to be the Bois d'Harmonie I've mentioned many times. I have all 4 woods for violin (one on each fiddle) boxwood (both French and Hill style) on my 3 cellos and a boxwood on one viola.
Andrew, the break angle over the nut is much higher than over the bridge, giving much higher friction at the nut and therefore somewhat less tuning precision at the pegs compared to a tuner at the tailpiece.
I don't use the crank either. I usually wait until I'm settled in to watch a Scandinavian murder show on TV, which gives me a nice two hours to change a set of strings and have a couple of nice scotches ...
Gottcha! Thanks, Don.
You can tell Don's an engineer. That's one of the first things you'll notice with gear pegs is that they turn so smoothly that you can actually tighten the short segment within the pegbox ever so slightly before the static friction at the nut is released. Initially it can be a little annoying because you think, "I'm turning my peg but nothing is happening." But it's not true -- something is happening, you just can't hear it. With traditional pegs the main source of static friction is the peg itself, so by the time you have released your peg, the string will come along across the nut so you don't experience a deadband. (At least I have never experienced a deadband with traditional pegs.) A "solution" (if even one is needed) is to use the gear peg just the same way you would a friction peg. Tune down a little, this will release the grip of the string on the nut groove, and then draw up.
You would think that possessing 8 geared-peg instruments for over 10 years, and having seen concertmasters without geared pegs pushing their "short lengths" when tuning (over the past 25 years) and having physics degrees, that might have occurred to me by now! (:-()
What about he weight of geared pegs? Do you folks find that they have any effect on tone?
I noticed no change in my instruments' sound or responsiveness when I converted them to geared pegs.
I didn't notice any change in sound either. Yet this is a hotly contested topic on this site. Chuck Herin claims that he's never known one of his customers (at PegHeds) to switch their violin back to friction pegs.
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