End pieces

July 3, 2023, 11:38 PM · How many fine tuners do you have? Do you prefer more/ less fine tuners? Does it affect the sound a lot (e string)?

Replies (20)

Edited: July 4, 2023, 12:26 AM ·

I'm sure it depends on the violin. I have a single Hill style tuner for the E string. I experimented with a tuner for the A string, but it was detrimental to the tone. But at that time, the glue was weak to either side of the button. That has since been fixed, and it had a huge, positive influence on the violin's tone.

Even with my violin having been repaired, I plan to stay with just the single Hill-style E-string tuner. My luthier told me, the lighter the apparatus on the tail-piece, the sweeter the tone. And, the Hill-style tuner is about the lightest one can find. The Peter Infeld Pi strings that I use are so stable, it's a non-issue whether or not I have an A-string tuner.

July 4, 2023, 12:28 AM · My violin tailpiece has four built-in fine tuners, my viola has one fine tuner. That's not from any kind of preference; it's just how both instruments were when I got them, and I really don't care enough to change either of them.
July 4, 2023, 1:03 AM · It's personal preference, the effect on sound is controversial. My violin came with a tailpiece with four integrated fine tuners. I really really value my fine tuners, so I'm glad to have them. My viola came to me with geared pegs plus a fine tuner on the A string. I'm not a geared peg fangirl, my viola just came set up with them. I play both regularly. If I got a violin or viola with one fine tuner and standard pegs, I'd probably get the tailpiece exchanged for one with four fine tuners, since I'm much faster tuning with fine tuners.
July 4, 2023, 8:44 AM · I do not need fine tuners because I have gear pegs on my violin (PegHeds) and my viola (Wittner FineTune Pegs). However, on the violin, I still find it convenient to have the fine tuner on my E string. I'm definitely a cheerleader for gear pegs, I think they're absolutely wonderful. PegHeds are the best in terms of their aesthetic appearance; Wittner FineTune Pegs work the best. My daughter has Knilling Perfection Pegs in her violin and they're okay but they don't work as well as the Wittner.
July 4, 2023, 9:06 AM · One for the E-String as I have Perfection (geared) pegs. I still need that ultra-fine adjustment for the E-String G, D, and A are all easily tuned with the Perfection pegs.
Edited: July 4, 2023, 9:17 AM · What Andrew said. My violins have four fine tuners each.
My luthier happened to prefer Wittner Ultra tailpieces.
Fine tuners mean you get less wear and tear on the strings at the nut.
July 4, 2023, 11:02 AM · One titanium hill style tuner on the violin. No fine tuners on the viola.
July 5, 2023, 11:58 AM · I have one fine tuner on the E.
Also, I've switched out my standard friction pegs to Wittner machine pegs so in due time, I'm sure I'll drop the fine tuner.
The machine pegs are a BLESSING for my arthritic hands!!!
July 5, 2023, 12:45 PM · I use 2 fine tuners; E & A. Tuning in the orchestra is faster and easier with that. Since all of my violins are low-budget, I don't fuss with those other acoustical factors.
July 7, 2023, 6:06 PM · I too like four built-in tuners for instant adjustments as the winds warm up or when brass intonation is different.
I find the newer, lighter composite Wittner tailpieces do not affect the sound, while the older aluminium ones tended to "ring".
Edited: July 29, 2023, 11:04 PM · The less fine tuners you have, the better the quality of sound will be. I only have one fine tuner, for the E string.

Also, this may seem like a stupid questions, but I am new here and am wondering how to post discussions.

July 30, 2023, 12:59 AM · Scroll to the bottom of the Discussion page and click on "Start a discussion"
July 30, 2023, 1:42 AM · I have geared pegs (wittners) on two of my violins and my viola. Eventually I plan to get them installed on my teaching/outdoor violin. Both of the violins still have a fine tuner on the E string mostly for aesthetic, but I mostly use the peg. My viola has no fine tuners not even on the A string. Since the A string is steel core the gearded peg tunes it really precise to where I didn’t even need the fine tuner so I took it off. Obviously E strings are also steel unless you use gut, but sometimes the E is so close to being in tune it’s much quicker to just use the fine tuner.
July 30, 2023, 11:19 AM · I have four fine tuners on my viola and geared pegs on my violin (although I had two fine tuners on my violin for E and A before switching to geared pegs). I find/found the fine tuners a godsend for the viola, and also for my violin even after switching to geared pegs. Particularly with synthetic strings, the fine tuners make very small adjustments easy. I have not noticed that they make any difference to the sound quality.
Edited: July 30, 2023, 11:24 AM · Until I was in my late 60s (or thereabouts) I only used fine tuners on my E strings and after many decades had ended up with the little Hill tuners. However, beginning arthritis made peg tuning too difficult and I tried various tailpieces with 4 integral fine tuners. After many trials I ended up with Bois d'Harmonie tailpieces with CF tuners on my 4 violins, 3 cellos and one of my violas (the other has a Wittner tailpiece). The BdH weigh no more than the respective bare tailpieces and 'sound' the same.

It was only a few years later that I "discovered" geared pegs and installed them on all the instruments, some Pegheds, mostly Knillings and one (viola) Wittner. I still have the 4-tuner BdH tailpieces on the instruments.

I agree with everything Paul Deck wrote about the geared pegs.

July 30, 2023, 11:38 AM · Geared pegs. Kabosh. It wasn't meant to be easy! Where's the romance in twist, untwist (repeat), perfect, slip, damn, twist and repeat? [Actually, when they are holding and moving its really fast and most satisfying to the ear.]

That said, do they have to modify the peg box to fit the geared pegs? Specifically, are they larger in diameter?

July 30, 2023, 12:10 PM · Elise, most of the geared pegs come in a variety of diameters, so in a best-case scenario, no modification or reaming of the pegbox would be required. More often, a little reaming might be required to open the holes up to the next available peg size. But a little reaming is usually required to fit a new set of conventional pegs and get them to work properly, too.
July 30, 2023, 12:15 PM · Elise, in every violin with new installed Finetunes, where there were normal pegs before, i saw that it was necessary to ream the holes a little bit.
But if you leave them forever, it'll be the last time.... :)
Edited: July 30, 2023, 1:19 PM · My current instrument came with both geared tuners and Wittner fine tuners-- so belt and suspenders:-)
I experimented with installing a 'bare' tailpiece but eventually reinstalled the Wittner. I couldn't easily determine any effect on the strings resulting from the fine tuners alone, because the two tailpieces were different materials (composite vs wood). The overall sound was a bit different, not necessarily better with the bare one.
Edited: July 30, 2023, 5:24 PM · I installed all the 9 sets of geared pegs myself in my own instruments as well as 5 others for family members. I had to ream all 57 peg holes (odd number because one of the violins was a 5 string - Chuck Herin of Pegheds sent me a free extra peg (I was a good customer).

I had bought a cheap fiddle for my son and used that for my first geared peg trial installation.

I had also had to have my antique cello pegbox rebushed professionally and new (cheap) friction pegs fitted installed because the old pegs had worn down to their collars and would no longer hold. That had cost me more than 5 sets of geared pegs cost me a few years later.

Chances are you will not find an exactly matching size for your existing peg holes and any set of geared geared pegs being sold. Furthermore it is unlikely that all your peg holes are exactly the same dimensions unless your instrument is quite new. The only way to compensate for this is to purchase the new pegs with diameter slightly larger than the largest of your current pegs.

If you want to try to do this yourself you will also need a peghole reamer and a micrometer (both available at Amazon) for very precise measurement of your current pegs and the patience to study the instructions for geared peg installation and carefully plan the installation process. Finally, measure everything at least twice (3 times even better) before cutting

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