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Old 08-17-2011, 09:07 PM
snortar snortar is offline
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Default Life without Fine Tuners

So I just got my mezzo and the one thing driving me crazy is that Bob only included it with the one fine tuner on the E string. I'll probably get some this weekend (Atlantic Strings in Melbourne, Florida is having a sale in case anyone is in the area), but until then, does anyone have any advice on tuning with just the pegs alone? I realize I have been spoiled using fine tuners and when I use the pegs, I have trouble getting a continuous, tiny turn. Instead, I get little jumps which always seem to either overshoot or undershoot the exact frequency. Am I holding the pegs wrong?
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:17 PM
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Default Sticking Pegs

Snortar-- Violin pegs are able to turn smoothly because the shafts have peg dope on them where they make contact with the pegbox wall. Over time, the dope is squeezed out and the peg sticks. The intermediate stages of this process are when you get the kind of conditions you've described. For a quick fix, detune the string quite a bit so you can briskly rotate the pegs half a turn in each direction about half a dozen times. This often serves to redistribute enough of the peg dope to allow smooth turning.

Invest in a small tube of Hill peg compound, and you can lubricate the shafts yourself. Remove the peg and add a couple of strokes (not much) on the shiny rings you'll see around the shaft. Replace the peg and rotate it ten times in the direction it will ultimately be used. Be sure the peg is firmly seated. Repeat as needed. With a bit of practice, you'll soon know when you've added enough.

Pegs are consumable items and they are made of wood. Over time both the peg and the peg hole will wear out-of-round. When this condition reaches the point where peg dope can't do the job, take the instrument to a luthier to have the pegs lightly shaved.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:56 AM
snortar snortar is offline
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Thanks. Do you know anything those pegs with the gears on the inside?
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:05 PM
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Peg Heads by Chuck Herin. www.pegheads.com. The original and still the best. Competitively priced, and highly recommended. If I had more resources available, I would make them the standard peg on every New Family instrument I sell.
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Old 08-19-2011, 04:56 PM
Altoviolinist Altoviolinist is offline
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Default minor drawbacks to planetary pegs

I have a set of Tenor Gamba Peghed planetary geared pegs on my "Canon" Alto. They are tricky to install without deforming or scratching the aluminum casing. They are a big improvement but I still find a kind of tuning resistance due to the string resisting tension change at the bridge probably due to friction from string windings at the contact point. I sometimes have to tweak the fine tuner on the tailpiece to get both ends of the string to equalize and not drift out of tune. You may not be able to eliminate fine tuners at least on vertical instruments. A complex twisting situation can occur when all the strings are retuned at the same time which can be frustrating to work through. Also the leverage from the endpin can wiggle the end button and throw out the tuning via the tailgut and tailpiece. Pin instruments are more prone to going out of tune quickly than chin instruments for all these reasons.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:49 PM
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Perhaps the strring grooves need lubricating or the string winding is "biting" the wood of the bridge, but what you describe could just as easily happen with a set of standard pegs. Except that it shouldn't be happening. Or am I missing something in your description?
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:27 AM
Altoviolinist Altoviolinist is offline
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The string binding was something I had hoped the planetary pegs would solve which they didn't. Whatever pegs are used, a delayed detuning effect seems more noticeable with a taller bridge and a larger body such as an Alto. I have the impression that the fingerboard side of the string goes up to pitch but after a few notes are played or another string is tuned the previous string goes sharp or flat depending on the stress plus or minus on the tailpiece side of the string and interaction with the other strings. I have gotten in the habit of pressing on both sides of the string with a finger tip in order to relieve and unequal stress that comes back to haunt the tuning process.
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:50 AM
snortar snortar is offline
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Default Two-pronged "Hill" fine tuner?

I went and got a few of the lever-type fine tuners for the "empty" slots on the tailpiece. They're okay but not as nice as the tiny "Hill" one that came on the E string. An obvious problem with that one is it requires a loop end. Has anyone seen a pronged version which can accommodate a ball end?
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:35 PM
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There are fine tuners that will accept a ball end. It's also not difficult to spread the loop of steel wire around a ball and to turn it into a loop end string. There is also a new accessory on the market which is a flat piece of metal with a slot on one end that goes over the hook in a loop-end tuner and a "claw" on the other for the ball-end string. The big advantage is that you don't get the skew in the tailpiece that you do with conventional ball end tuners. I'm not sure what they're called or what they cost, but they can't be very expensive because D'Addario tosses them in with some of their strings. I'll look through my catalogs and post a source if I find one.
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:06 PM
snortar snortar is offline
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Default Effect of Fine Tuners on Tone

Thanks. Question: The guy at the violin store claimed that the lever-type tuners were so heavy that they would dampen the sound. Is there any truth to that? The same also tried to sell me a tailpiece with built-in fine tuners, which he claimed would overall be lighter but looked incredibly ugly, so I'm not sure if this was a marketing ploy.
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