Tuning peg help, please

September 8, 2021, 11:28 AM · I'm not a violinist so I'm asking your help regarding tuning violin tuning pegs. I recently used 4/4 violin pegs on a banjo restoration. I'm now working on a smaller instrument and the 4/4 pegs are too large for the peg holes on this smaller instrument. Question: Are 3/4 violin pegs the same diameter as 4/4 pegs but just shorter in length (and therefore would not solve my problem) OR, are 3/4 pegs smaller in diameter and therefore might work for this application? Thanks for any help you can provide.

Replies (9)

September 8, 2021, 11:43 AM · The shaft of the peg doesn't come finished from the factory. You have to shave it down with what is essentially an industrial-grade pencil sharpener, available easily online through luthiery supply stores.
September 8, 2021, 12:10 PM · The 4/4 pegs I used for the previous project seemed tapered from the factory and worked perfectly without modification. Are some pegs designed to be shaved down and some pre-shaped? In any case, my original question remains... Is a 3/4 peg thinner than a 4/4 peg?
September 8, 2021, 12:22 PM · I'm telling you, no pegs come factory finished. They have a slight taper but it's just so the end fits in opening of the peg shaver. The taper not correct because the shaft is way too thick anyways, and it won't match the pegbox taper.

A 3/4 peg is the same size.

Edited: September 8, 2021, 12:56 PM · " I recently used 4/4 violin pegs on a banjo restoration."

Horrors, that's heresy!

Steve, the shafts on the pegs are supplied "roughed to shape". If you measure them carefully, you will find that the vast majority are neither round, nor straight. As Mr. Mather mentioned, final shaping is intended to be done with a "peg shaver", something resembling this:


September 8, 2021, 1:28 PM · Thanks. I'm not a luthier so I was hoping to avoid purchasing a specific tool for this project. Guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and spring for the pencil sharpener. Thank you so much for the violin peg education!
September 8, 2021, 2:15 PM · I'm a sometime banjoist so I would like to see the finished product!
September 9, 2021, 7:08 AM · I wonder how Wittner Finetune pegs would work in a project like this.
September 9, 2021, 8:32 AM · The other question: do you have a tapered reamer for the hole?
Edited: September 9, 2021, 9:15 AM · Although I am not a luthier I have replaced all the wooden pegs with geared pegs (Peghed, Knilling and Wittner) in 14 family instruments (2 violas, 3 cellos, and 9 violins, including one 5-string). And although I do own a peg shaper I have never used it. But I have used peg-hole reamers on all 57 peg holes I worked.

It is quite straight forward to do the reaming, But you must have a decent caliper to measure the existing peg holes in the instrument to determine what diameter pegs to purchase (the pegs must not be smaller than the existing peg hole - they can be larger).

After determining the peg hole diameter I want to create I mark at a slightly smaller diameter on the reamer blade (as measured with the caliper) and that is where I stop the first reaming for each hole. Then I very carefully do the additional reaming until the pegs seat where I want them.

If you do use geared pegs read the instructions very carefully and have every step in mind as you proceed with the work. Seating the WITTNER pegs can be tricky - be certain they are fully seated in the holes before you cut off the ends - the protrusion on the side of the peg MUST BE seated into the pegbox wall. The WITTNER pegs must snugly fit the peg holes on both sides of the pegbox. The PEGHED and KNILLING pegs "thread" in to the holes on the "wing" (handle) side and "float" on the opposite side where they are not snug.

I'm with Paul Deck - amateurs can install geared pegs, but I think installing friction pegs is a job for pros. I recommend geared pegs, I've been using them for at least 10 years.

One more word: It is advantageous to use the smallest diameter pegs compatible with your re-pegging job. Smaller diameter pegs require less torque to turn and the string tension pulls on the peg with less torque (reducing slippage) - especially for friction pegs where it can make a big difference. And (not to be ignored) if you mess up the hole you can complete with the next larger diameter peg.

P.S. David Burgess and Don Noon are the pros on this!

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