Do my fine tuners look normal?

Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:28 AM ·


This is my first post.

I am still a novice even though i have owned, for more than twenty years, an acoustic 4/4 with a sticker/label in the body which says:
Andrew Schroetter
GEIGENBAUMEISTER in Mittenwald/Bayern
Modell no. 2231
There is no date marked beside Jahr on the label. It's blank. I was told it's a student violin.
I bought this violin, second hand, in 1990, at a Long & McQuade music store in Toronto, for $280.00.
But that's NOT really why i am here.

I only mention the Schroetter because the place in the tailpiece which holds the ball end of the string looks very different compared to my "new", second-hand, 4/4 Cecilio electric violin i had bought just yesterday, online.
I paid only $40.00 for it, from a Norwegian guy who had bought it, but was selling all of his music gear because he's going back to Norway. He tried his hand at violin and decided he didn't like it. So now, i got it.
Cecilio's website says that the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price is USA $499.00.

Anyway, this is why i am here:
The Cecilio was missing the A-string.
So, i went and bought a string and tried to install it.

Problem is, the fine tuners don't seem to have a proper slot or "claw" through which to pass the strings. It's not the same style of fine tuners as on the Schroetter.

I can see how it's supposed to go in but the "tongs" which hold the ball end seem to be too close together, as if they were squeezed together. I can't figure it out because i am new to this. And i don't want to go fooling around with it in case i break something.

I uploaded the photos to my Robbie Daug Facebook page because photo bucket is getting ahead of itself.
My FB profile photo is of Banksy's Chimpanzee Thinker.

So, i am asking if anyone here could help me figure it out.

Replies (21)

December 10, 2017, 10:06 PM · Uhh, no, that doesn't look right.
When was the last time you changed the strings?
December 10, 2017, 10:09 PM · Looks like someone has gone after those tuners with a pair of pliers and pinched the ears together. Simple enough to just replace them......
December 10, 2017, 10:12 PM · Replacing the fine tuners is a good idea; those appear to be the worst kind of tuner anyway. If that were my violin and I wanted to keep four fine tuners, I'd get one of those tailpieces with the tuners built in. That way the afterstring lengths aren't messed up, and you don't risk digging a gouge in the top of the violin when the tuner gets too far down.
Edited: December 10, 2017, 11:45 PM · You can use a dinner knife to pry the tongs apart then bend the knife side to side until the tongs are the proper distance apart, if you break anything you were going to replace them anyway. A whole new tailpiece with inbuilt fine tuners is the other option, but I don't see how you are going to get those strings out without widening the tongs.

Be sure to put some padding underneath the fine tuners to stop them from scratching the top, while you do this.

Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:28 AM ·

Wow, that was quick

Hi, everyone.

As I stated in my post, I bought this just the day before yesterday, so I don't know when the strings were last changed. The guy's ad said, "hardly used".
He said he is a guitarist, and by how he spoke, I believed him because everything he said made sense as I am a guitarist, as well.
He told me his daughter broke the string.

When he arrived with the violin, all I checked for was if the action was too high and if the pickup worked. It seemed okay, so I gave him the $40.00. The guy's ad said he was asking for $50.00 but when he saw the broken string, he told me he'd lower it to $40.00.
The string cost me $10.32 with tax.

For the fine tuners, I had only really checked them out when I got back home with the new string and tried to install it. I had never seen these kind of fine tuners before but i had thought it was all fine when I saw the strings that were already installed.

I had thought about doing what Lyndon Taylor suggests but i really wanted to check with real violinists before I attempted to try prying them apart. I will do that and see how it goes and come back to let you all know how it went.
Great advice about putting a pad under the tuners so I don' scratch the body. Cool. I am so happy i stopped by here. Isn't the internet great?

I only bought this electric violin so that I could practice more than I was doing with the louder acoustic one, in my apartment. I've been playing the acoustic, off and on, since I bought it but the high notes are loud and piercing, and I am not that good, so it must be annoying for my neighbors. I, also, bought it so I could go to jams and not worry about mic'ing it.

Last summer, I started going to the park after supper to practice on the acoustic but the mosquitos loved the music so much, they wouldn't leave me alone.
Well, they either loved it or they really hated it and chased me away.
I am still debating that with my ego. I mean, what do THEY know, right? Bugs really BUG me.

Okay so now, i will put on my "luthier cap" and see about prying those suckers open with my Swiss army knife.

Do you think $40.00 is an excellent price considering the pinched tuner ears? It's a Cecilio It came with a case, a cleaning cloth, bow and a round tin of rosin. The bow feels lighter and cheaper than my other bow does, though. I didn't get the headphones or cable.
Here is the description link for it, on Cecilio's website:

I don't want to make you all cringe and squint at me, but on my Schroetter, I still have the same set of strings which came with the violin, in 1990 (eek!! I know). But I do keep it in impeccable condition and i only play it only once in a while.
I have a tight-fitting, soft, white, cotton glove which I use to clean the neck, strings and body, and to buff it so the body looks glossy again.
To get the rosin off the strings, I use the little shaver-cleaning brush which came with one of the electric face shavers i had bought years ago. Does a good job, I think.

Thanks to all for the quick, good advice and comments,

If anybody wants to hear any of the "noise" i make, you can google my name, Robbie Daug, and it will lead you to and youtube. On youtube, my improvs and rock, blues, jazzy, folk song compositions are on the earlier pages.
I did one violin improv on youtube when I was bored, one day. I had just learned how to do vibrato and wanted to hear how it sounded so I recorded it, and then decided to upload it to youtube to see what sort of reaction it would get.
The video is called, "Clayfinger improvises on the violin to the Sad Backing Track". It's not very good and I am not being modest. However, there are a few likes lol and wow - no dislikes. Maybe, there will be some, soon. Me and my big mouth, eh? lol
I had cut my left-hand index finger with a circular saw and was healing it with natural methods. So in the video, you'll see a huge bandage on my finger which was filled with Montmorillonite green clay.

Edited: December 11, 2017, 8:42 AM · I'd pay $40 for any violin that basically works. You got a good deal for sure. I'm with Lyndon -- pry the tongs apart. If you break it then Mary Ellen's suggestion of installing a Wittner tail piece can be your plan B -- not expensive, might be $100 including labor. When you buy your violin for $40 you better get used to the idea that replacing a tiny part costs more.

I watched your YouTube. Not to be overly negative, but I'm sorry to say that I'm not really sure even what notes you were trying to play. But the good news is that you seem to have a musical spirit and the willingness to put yourself out there, so I'd say that you could benefit hugely from a few lessons. The teacher will fix your left hand position which is clamped around the neck of the violin way too much. Other aspects of your setup I cannot really see because it's zoomed in too much.

Buy Suzuki Book No. 1. Look at the pictures in the front about how you should hold your violin. Try the first few pieces. Seriously. Look at Todd Ehle's videos on YouTube for how to hold your violin and your bow. Ehle is great. Watch yourself in a mirror to see if you are doing it his way.

For a D minor backing track I recommend you teach yourself the D minor pentatonic scale -- D-F-G-A-C-D. F and C are LOW second finger on the D and A strings, respectively. Keep them LOW. Try to avoid sliding around too, until you can prove to yourself that you know where to put your fingers to play in tune. Until you can do that, there should be NO "loud, piercing high notes." Stay in first position until you've licked it (middle of Suzuki Book 3 is where shifting starts).

You mentioned Long and McQuade in Toronto. If you are Canadian then I respectfully suggest when you cut your finger with a saw, that you get proper medical care. It's free, right? Stitching a laceration is even less of a DIY job than violin repair.

Edited: December 11, 2017, 10:27 AM · Robbie, it's worth considering, if you have only one steel string (the E), to have just the one fine tuner for the E and tune the others from their pegs. If the pegs are fitted properly and are in good condition this is an effective and reliable tuning system.

BTW, the images you posted are all messages from photobucket asking you to update your account to enable 3rd party hosting (such as on this forum). If this is done then you should be able to edit your initial post accordingly with the images of the fine tuners.

December 11, 2017, 10:28 AM · Having just an E tuner is of course the overwhelming preference among professionals, but I would strongly suggest that a beginner keep four fine tuners. Learning to tune with the pegs is a skill all its own.
Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:29 AM ·

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the feedback on the video. I am not offended by any criticism, really.
To be honest, I didn't know what notes I was trying to hit, either lol. I tend to just "go for it", when I improvise and hope for the best.

I prefer to improvise than playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. At least, with the electric, I'll be able to play more than ever without feeling too concerned about noise bothering neighbors.

I dabble with a bunch of instruments. I have an alto sax, three recorders, a tin whistle, harmonica, electric bass guitar, keyboard and an old Korg MS-10 monophonic synthesizer, and many about 8 guitars. I had a mandolin at one time but i "lost" it. I actually restrung one of my standard guitars like a 4-string mando and was playing that for a while. Just to get the feel for the different tuning.

Any advice is welcome as I was never trained, musically.
I've, basically, taught myself everything in music, so I don't have to wrestle with the classic techniques of hand positioning. That doesn't mean I am any good, of course, but playing music is supposed to be fun, not a chore. I even taught myself to read music notation but sight reading is not my strength as I don't practice that enough.
I am able to take a jazz standard manuscript for piano and arrange it for a six string guitar and incorporate bass, harmony and melody. I haven't done in years but i did that when I was in my mid twentys. It was hard to do but did it, and played it.
Nowadays, all i seem to want to do is jam along with other people and improvise to what they are doing. Sometimes it sounds really good and sometimes it sucks. I prefer improvising to pieces I have never heard before so I can really stretch out and reach for the unknown and find a groove in there.
I have difficulty improvising to songs with staple melodies like Samba Pa Ti by Santana because the familiar melody line tends to restrict my freedom of thought and I end up trying to play the melody and screw it all up.

From what I understand, many classical musicians can not improvise because they need notes to see and play even by memory. It's, kind of, like playing well known cover tunes -note for note.

I've read though, that before key signatures and bar measures were used in very early classical compositions, there was a lot more improvisations taking place between the main themes of the piece being played from the manuscripts. I don't mean they played "variations" on a particular piece or passage, they actually made up new phrases as they played. That is cool as it really expands the musical creative process, I think.
It's odd that many of today's classically trained musicians don't know how to do that. They stick to what's written on the paper. Which is perfect and very respectable as it shows their immense training and years of discipline.
I lack that training.

I like to think of myself as a freestyle, creative being more than a trained musician who plays everything note for note. I am not disciplined and it definitely shows in my playing.
I have tried my hand at some easy classical pieces arranged for guitar by Mozart and Tchaikovsky and it was very strained playing. It wasn't much "fun", it was hard work - and that was the EASY arrangements for beginner to intermediate players. My friends marveled and told how good that was but I knew how many notes I had missed or muted by mistake.
But to walk on a stage and plug in your instrument and just be able to instantly grasp onto the "feeling" of a tune, and start improvising to an unknown piece and adding fills and solos where none existed before?...doing that makes their jaws drop because i added something to it instead of mechanically playing the guitar part.

Hey, don't get me wrong, I would love to be able to play mechanically and impress people with a well known, and well loved, complicated piece but I guess I stopped trying to do that when I realized I was not having much fun playing in my room for 8 to 10 hours a day, like I used to do in my youth. We can never know it all, anayway, so why waste your time away, in your room, trying to.

I see Irish fiddlers holding their bows far from the frog and they manage quite well. I see Quebecois fiddlers holding their fiddles in the most bizarre positions and they can get their point across.
The classical approach is probably the best approach but I was never really in a financial position to pay for music teachers.

I bought a book when I bought the violin, It's called:

Carl Flesch
Book one

I. Technique in General
II. Applied Technique

By Carl Fischer

and I rarely ever looked at it. I still have it, though.

I like the idea of youtube video lessons, though, and that is where I learned the basics of violin vibrato, only a few years ago.
Before then, I was bending the strings like on a guitar because I never knew how they were doing it on violin.
Then I had a bad case of carpal tunnel in both wrists from doing home renovations and that handicapped me for a while. I couldn't play anything.

For the health care comment you brought up.
I am from Montreal, Quebec, but i have lived in Toronto for a few years as well as, in Sachsenhausen (in Frankfurt a.M.) Germany, when I was married to my diplomatic wife back in the late 80s - early 90s.

Yes, health care is free, here in Canada. I can only speak for Montreal as I forget how it was in Toronto.
And people on welfare don't even have to pay for most of the medications they need. Sometimes, they have to pay half of the full price, like, for example, if you want to get "stop smoking patches" and other drugs, like Viagra which are not really necessary for a recovery from an illness.
Hospital stays are free, the hospital meals are free, blood tests, x-rays, name it...everything is free. BUT, if you want the TV to work in your hospital room, you pay for that service. Sometimes you'll get a private room and other times you are in a dorm-like room with up to three other patients. It depends on the case.
People have to wait up, sometimes, up to nine months to get their first chemo treatments, or other treatments like seeing bone specialists or to get an EEG, ECG or an MRI done as waiting lists are quite long.
It's okay if you don't get REALLY sick - you can wait and not be in a life threatening situation.
Car accident victims and serious abuse victims, etc, who are facing death are seen RIGHT AWAY - they bypass the line ups in the waiting rooms and are seen and treated right away. So no one is left in the hallway bleeding to death.
HOWEVER, some people have died on hospital beds in the corridors, once in a while, due to highly overworked nurses and doctors who may have forgotten about a certain case. It's a bit rare but it has happened in a few hospitals.

Medi-care (as it's called here) pays dentists for annual check ups, x-rays, cleanings, amalgam (only) fillings, tooth extractions, and even dental plates (false teeth) for welfare recipients.
But more serious procedures like root canals or dealing with calculus etc, are never covered by medi-care. You either pay cash or have the teeth extracted for free IF on welfare.
Employed people without any work insurance have to pay cash for everything at the dentist's office.
Osteopaths, chiropractors and only PRIVATE mental-health care workers are paid cash.
Most times, if you go to the hospital to speak to a shrink for depression etc, you will be placed in a group session where other depressed people or people with similar mental issues share their stories and are treated individually in that sort of setting. First you go and see the shrink, and he/she evaluates you and questions you, and then you are placed in a group setting. Then, once a month or so, you meet again with the shrink, in private, for a re-evaluation, and then it's back to the group sessions until you get over or learn to deal with your issues. It works like that, here.

Eye checkups are free when on welfare and medi-care even pays for
the "cheapest frames" but the lenses are free.

Everyone, here, has a medi-care card. It's also used as a proof of I.D. as it has your face photo on it to avoid fraudulent usage. So yea it's great.
BUT what is not so great about it this. You have to wait in the waiting room for, not always, but it could be up to 24 hours or longer, sometimes, to be seen by the doctor in the Emergency room. So, that sucks - to be sitting there beside people who have "God knows what" going on with their health.

When you bring your pet to a vet, EVERYTHING is paid cash.

For my cut finger video series on youtube, it was to show that healing does take place without a doctor. Watch the series and learn from me and AVOID paying a doctor for simple to moderately serious injuries that you can heal yourself.
Think of this way: What if you were on a camping site in the woods far from a city and you got cut and ran out of first-aid supplies, what would you do if your car broke down in the middle of nowhere and you were bleeding without a cellphone internet signal?

Personally, my medi-card expired last August 2017, and I didn't renew it yet because I try to avoid doctors as much as possible - even if it's free, because I always opt for more natural methods. The photo costs about 10 - 15 dollars.
They love prescribing drugs that they have no idea what they do.
I am not a guinea pig.

I hope i helped you and others to understand how the medical system works over here.

Thanks for the comments.

December 11, 2017, 11:59 AM ·
Hi Trevor,

I love that profile pic with your dog's head tilted slightly. He's REALLY listening.
He ain't fakin' it. He's a fan!

Yes, i just saw the pesky photobucket messages.

Looks like I will have to start using an different image hosting site.
I don't use too many of them as it complicates life.
Is flicker free to use? If not, Pffft, i'll post the pics on my Robbie Daug FB page.

When did photobucket start demanding money for this?
It should die presently, eh? Screw 'em.

Wikipedia started asking for money, too, recently.

I like having the four fine tuners.
I'll try prying them open with my Swiss knife.

Thank you, for that info.

Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:29 AM ·

Hi Mary-Ellen,


I don't know why pros prefer only an E fine tuner.
Why not have no fine tuners if they are professionals?

Does the E -string lose it's pitch more often than the other strings? Must be. Otherwise why would there be just an E fine tuner, right?
See, I'm catching on (i think).

The pegs do turn nicely, actually. They seem to stay in place, BUT i have not tuned it up to pitch, yet. So maybe, I've bought a (black) lemon.

On my Schroetter, the pegs are much stiffer to turn. Is there a lube I could use for that? Or are they best stiff.
If the Cecilia pegs are shot, I might consider installing guitar machine heads.

Do you, or anyone else, have a suggestion to discover how can I find out how old my Schroetter is without seeing a luthier?
There is no date marked inside, on the label.


Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:30 AM ·

Hi everyone,

I just uploaded the photos to my Robbie Daug FB page.
My profile photo is that of Banksy's Chimpanzee Thinker.


Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:30 AM ·


Okay, i just opened the tongs for all of the fine tuners with my trusty Swiss army knife.
It was very easy to do.

Now, I have to go visit the fiddlerman on youtube to watch again how to restring the strings on the tuning pegs because the E-string came off and i still have to install the A-string.


Edited: December 11, 2017, 1:28 PM · The reason to keep a tuner for the E string is that typically the adjustment necessary for the string is very small. Basically the opposite of your guess. :-). Also, E strings are very thin and break easily. Too much up-and-down motion as one gets tuning with a peg would be destructive.
Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:30 AM ·

Hi Mary-Ellen,

I didn't know that.
Now, I know to go extra easy on my E-strings.

Thank you, for that info.


Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:30 AM ·

Hi Trevor,

Sorry about your dog.
I only read your bio, just now.
Before, i had just looked quickly at your dog's face.

You should try out Facebook. It's easy and free with lots to see.
It's not necessary to fill out every field where they (facebook) ask questions about you. You just fill in the fields you wish people to see.


December 11, 2017, 2:36 PM · Fascinating.
Edited: December 11, 2017, 3:42 PM · Robbie wrote:
"But to walk on a stage and plug in your instrument and just be able to instantly grasp onto the "feeling" of a tune, and start improvising to an unknown piece and adding fills and solos where none existed before?..."

Might want to take a trip to Nashville. Some of the better studio musicians there can not only put down an improvisation, but lay down ten different improvising tracks in ten different styles, at the same sitdown.

Should you be willing to get out and about a little more, I'll suggest that you will be blown away by the levels of skill and talent in both classical orchestras, and amongst studio musicians.

Edited: December 11, 2017, 4:05 PM · Robbie:
Stringing the pegs: For the past 70 years I always push enough of the string end through the peg hole so I can overlap at least 2 windings around the peg on the overlap to hold it from slipping. I cannot recall a string slipping since doing it this way.
The rest of the string I typically wind so that the windings end at the wall of the peg box. THis can help hold the wooden pegs from slipping - but don't overdo it. Right wall for W & A, left wall for D & G. Before then my Dad must have wound new strings (I really don't remember). But using gut-core strings there was frequent breakage and frequent new string installations before the 1970s - now my string replacements are more a matter of choice.
December 11, 2017, 8:04 PM · Shar has a video that shows you how to put new strings on.
Edited: December 18, 2017, 9:33 AM ·
Hi Paul, David and Andrew,

Paul, what is "fascinating"?

Paul and Andrew,
I have the strings back on. I went to youtube to see this cool violinist named, fiddlerman. He, also, has a website called, I think he is totally awesome. Very versatile. He can play.

The Nashville musicians are truly awesome.
When i said that many classical musicians don't improvise, i was not referring to studio musicians in Nashville or anywhere else.
I was referring to classical players who only read music and only play classical compositions.

I had a cousin, in Toronto, who was classically trained on piano who could play anything that was put in front of him. He did large classical concerts and gave lessons.
I tried to jam with him, one day, and he could not improvise a harmony without adding all the embellishments - he left me no space in which to play. He played a bunch of things that he had memorized in THAT particular musical style, but they were not his ideas. He was sort of...lost while not within his comfort zone. It was if he didn't know what to play so that someone else could play a solo over his chord progression. It was too limiting for him - he had to play what he had rehearsed. So, technically, he wasn't jamming, at all.

His sister was the same way, she went to University of Toronto and studied music (piano and flute), and she too could not improvise. She even told me that she needs to see notes.

I've spoken to several classically trained musicians in my life and it's a recurring theme.

I didn't write that classically trained musicians, as a rule, cannot improvise. I think maybe you've misunderstood what i wrote, there.
Suggesting that i go to Nashville to witness what i did not suggest is a bit...uhm...i am not sure what the word is that i want to use, there.

I am pretty sure if i get a classical student and ask him or her to jam with me, in any style other than what they're studying, that they would not be able to improvise - UNLESS they are really interested in all styles and listen to all styles of music and play all kinds of music when not playing what they rehearse for hours and hours.

On Friday nights, where i live, we have this local jam night. It's not in a bar, it's a community center.
One night, a mom walked in with her classically trained 12-year-old son. He went to the piano and began playing some classical piece. It sounded so nice. He impressed us, and we applauded. But i knew that the untrained musicians who go to the jam (me included) would not know what to play as he played his well-rehearsed pieces.
It was like my cousins all over, again.

I asked him,"How about some boogie woogie?

He asked,"What's that?"

I said, "Well, it's like blues but with more bop - it's more...peppy,"

He looked at his mom in confusion.

So i asked another guy to search youtube for this piece, and let him watch and listen to this video:

He, literally, backed away as if i had asked him to join a Satanistic cult or something, and he said, "I can only play classical pieces."

So, i asked him, "Would you like to learn some boogie woogie? I can show you a little bit, if you like. It's only four chords, C Maj, F Maj, G Maj and a D7".

He looked really uncomfortable and said, "No, i only want to play classical pieces".

So, we asked him to play another piece that he knew, and he did, and we all clapped when he was done. He felt better back in his comfort zone.

Okay, he's just a kid. It's clear. But many classical musicians i've met only like to play classical pieces. They look down on blues saying it's too rudimentary, too plain.

Nashville guys can whop almost anybody. They even have their own system of music notation, called, the Nashville Number System. If musicians don't understand the NNS, they will have a very difficult time in a Nashville studio session.

When i go to the jam, i usually set up and start playing fills and adding a solo here or there, right away. I don't even have to hear the whole progression once, usually. It really depends if can feel the vibe.
The other guitarists are really concerned with the key the singer is playing his guitar, and we can see them leaning over to see the chords the other is playing, so they can know where they are.

I overhear some people watching and then commenting to a friend, "How can he just sit down and start playing in the middle of the tune?"
I am not saying that i hit every right note, but will say that if i make a mistake, i usually repeat the mistake immediately and embellish on it until it sounds like it fits.
It might sound dissonant, at first, but it sounds "somewhat" resolved when i am done with that initially discordant phrasing.
That's why i really like improvising to pieces i have not heard before, because when i make a mistake (and i surely will), i try to resolve the off phrase while i play on.
It doesn't always work out, especially when what i use to try to resolve it with, is just another off-prase. Then everyone knows i screwed up badly. And what do i do then?...i look up into the audience, shrug at them grinning, and then laugh out loud at myself and shake my head at my own stupidity. I can laugh at myself.
That, for me

Look at Django Reinhardt - he couldn't read a note of music but when he met Andrés Segovia and played some random, off-the-cuff solo improvisation for him, the master was so impressed that he asked if he could have a copy of the manuscript, Django apologized and admitted that he was just making it up as he went along. Segovia was flabbergasted.
No doubt Segovia could easily impress Reinhardt, as well.

I'm impressed by anyone who makes musical sense. I do not need to go to Nashville to hear or see that. I would like to go there, one day, but i know i would feel very intimidated because i'm lacking in musical training. There are so many guitarists who can literally blow my little boat right out of the water and shame me with their talents.

Anyway, i need sleep. It's almost 2AM, and i overdid it again with writing too much.

For those who are interested to see the violin, now.
See my Facebook page.
I added the new photos a few hours ago. Thanks to you all for your comments and advice.

I am so sleepy, now. Good night, all.

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