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My tuning pegs keep popping out

GUEST,Gern 18 Jan 11 - 08:26 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Jan 11 - 10:17 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 18 Jan 11 - 10:19 PM
Donuel 18 Jan 11 - 10:43 PM
Bert 19 Jan 11 - 01:25 AM
JohnInKansas 19 Jan 11 - 03:01 AM
Backwoodsman 19 Jan 11 - 03:03 AM
Mr Happy 19 Jan 11 - 08:11 AM
Arnie 19 Jan 11 - 10:59 AM
Bill D 19 Jan 11 - 11:32 AM
Charley Noble 19 Jan 11 - 04:33 PM
Will Fly 19 Jan 11 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Gern 19 Jan 11 - 06:03 PM
JohnInKansas 19 Jan 11 - 06:33 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Jan 11 - 01:41 AM
Backwoodsman 20 Jan 11 - 03:22 AM
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Subject: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 08:26 PM

It's cold & dry here in Vermont, of course, and I can't play my fiddle. The dryness from heating the house shrinks the peg until it won't stay in. It now takes an in-room humidifier and a damp wick plunged inside to keep my fiddle functional. Is this typical or avoidable? And even if I keep it playable in my greenhouse-like music room, can I take it to a gig?


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 10:17 PM

The pegs should be tapered, to match the taper in the holes.

If you "unseat" the pegs by pulling them slightly out, they should turn easily, and when you get the pitch you want you push them fairly firmly into the holes so that they hold.

A little peg dope helps keep things working smoothly, and most people "dope" the pegs whenever they change a string. (It's almost impossible to get the dope where it's needed without removing the peg.)

If you've just been cranking the pegs without unseating them, you likely have worn the holes (and possibly the pegs) so that there's no taper, or not enough, and the holes are no longer round, so the pegs don't hold because they're now just straight dowels in elliptical holes (in the area where they contact each other).

(The same thing happens eventually even if you do it all right, but it should take quite a while.)

Lack of humidity shouldn't prevent you from getting - and staying - in tune. A new set of pegs, with proper length and taper, and perhaps slight reaming of the holes to restore their taper, should put you back in shape; but if you're not skilled and equipped with the proper tools this is NOT a DIY job.

John


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 10:19 PM

I claim no expertise and can't fiddle worth a damn but you can buy oversize pegs which may help. My fiddle spends most of its time hanging on the wall. The pegs are jammed in pretty tight and I use tailpiece tuners for finer pitch adjustment.


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Donuel
Date: 18 Jan 11 - 10:43 PM

Do the pegs not extend past the far opening? If not take the peg out and turn the peg with fine sandpaper rotate in your hand for 10 minutes and see if it goes in any further. There are special peg planers that are not expensive when a peg has not been fit or tapered.

A quick and dirty trick is to just put some rosin dust from your fiddle on the peg where it would come into contact with the peg box holes.

It will make for jerky or noisey tuning but it will grab the sucker


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Bert
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 01:25 AM

That is why guitars have tuning machines.


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 03:01 AM

Nah, Bert. Guitars have tuning machines 'cause guitar players are mostly puny wimps.

Real fiddle players are mostly retired lumberjacks or real girrls, that can twist yer ...

well somethin' like that.

John


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 03:03 AM

It's always a good idea to keep wooden instruments properly humidified. It prevents shrinkage and cracking. The builders of quality guitars, for instance, always stress the importance of keeping them in 45% - 55% RH. I'd guess that violins, violas, cellos, basses etc. all benefit from similar care.


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Mr Happy
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 08:11 AM

Chalk dust?


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Arnie
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 10:59 AM

I used to play a violin years ago and had metal adjusters at the end of each string where it entered the tailpiece. These were for fine-tuning but there was quite a bit of leeway and they could be used instead of the tuning pegs if the strings were only slightly out. Would that help in any way? Alternatively, a bit of bow resin around the peg makes it stick in the hole for a while, but depends how worn the hole is.


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 11:32 AM

One long-term possibility is to get pegs made of wood that doesn't shrink much...if at all. If your pegs are of a wood which does shrink too much, that 'could' be part of the problem.....and maybe it is the hole itself...not the peg... that is changing with temp & humidity.

I know there are classic, standard woods for pegs, but there are hundreds of possible alternatives.

(and chalk dust was recommended by the guy who made my walnut pegs for my dulcimer...but that was for easy tuning, not to counter shrinking. I am considering making myself some trial pegs of Lignumvitae or a couple of odd hardwoods I have.)


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 04:33 PM

And then there's Gorilla Glue.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 04:51 PM

I've been researching the Perfection Planetary geared tuners and have ordered a set for my violin.

When they've been installed, I'll report on their effect on the instrument.


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 06:03 PM

My pegs don't all protrude much from the hole, and I never particularly noticed a tapering. Will check for this. Peg dope? Never heard the term before, except regarding a certain girl in high school.


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 19 Jan 11 - 06:33 PM

The standard wooden (or now often plastic) pegs should be fine for a violin. The string tension required is fairly low and properly fitted pegs/holes with matched and round tapers.

Guitar strings require high tension, and mandolins even higher, because the strings must be at nearly breaking stress in order to provide reasonable sustain of the notes when plucked.

A violin has a continuous input from the bow so "sustain" is unnecessary, and lower string stress can be used - and is.

There are lots of "tricks" used for wobbly pegs, like putting rosin or chalk dust on them. The problem with all of these is that whatever you add gets embedded into the wood around the peg holes, making a proper repair much more difficult. Added "gunk" is also likely to increase the rate of wear, especially of the holes, so that a complete refinishing of pegs and holes will be needed sooner.

Wear on the pegs, unless you have an exceedingly fine instrument, is of relatively little consequence since pegs of modest quality are cheap enough to be tossed and replaced. (Very fine instruments may use pegs that are more expensive.)

Wear on the holes requires that they be "reamed" enough to make them round. Once numerous touch-up repairs have been done, the holes will be too large to ream again, and "inserts" or "inlays" must be installed so that there's enough wood there for fitting. A minor reaming may be a 10 minute job, while "putting wood back" may take several days. Luthiers often charge by the hour, and some count the time while the glue is setting.

If your pegs are "short" it's possible that they can't be seated sufficiently deeper just by pushing them into the hole a little firmer. All pegs are generally made a little "oversize" and it is intended that they be shaved-to-fit when installed. There also are true "oversize" pegs available if you have a "big hole" that's still sufficiently round.

If either the holes or the pegs have worn to the point where they're not "round" it will be difficult to make them hold securely with any amount of pressure or with any kind of added goop, gunk, slime, crud or "stuff" that you add to the problem. Any "additions," other than normal peg dope, will make proper repairs eventually more difficult - and probably more expensive.

Maintaining humidity is needed for wooden instruments to avoid cracking the larger "panels" of the instrument, and to avoid stressing glue joints so that they come apart. The amount of expansion/contraction that can occur at the peg/hole interface cannot be sufficient to exceed the "range of adjustment" available just by sliding the pegs in/out within the taper of the pegs and holes, unless the instrument is worn enough that the pegs are already at the end of their range of endwise travel.

Although extremes of humidity can be damaging to wooden instruments, the moisture absorbed within the wood must change before the stresses on the wood can change. It normally takes several days of exposure to a change in humidity for the moisture contained inside the wood is significantly affected. Many luthiers "age" their wood for years before accepting that the moisture level is sufficiently stable to start work on a piece.

Brief exposures of the duration necessary to take your instrument to the pub for a session will not significantly affect the moisture level inside the wood, unless you plan to dip it in your ale, if the instrument is returned to the stable humidity conditions back at the house within a few hours. The amount by which the absorbed moisture in the fiddle can change the peg/hole fit in that time will be "invisible" in any effect on your playing.

Sudden temperature changes can be more rapidly harmful, so a case (or a large rag) to enclose the instrument in-transit, and reasonable time for the instrument to "come to temperature" before tuning up, are a good idea when leaving the house.

Talk to a fiddle luthier, and you'll likely find that the fiddle can be made much better behaved at fairly minimal cost. Finding a reasonably competent shop may be more expensive (time, effort, and tranport) than the actual repair.

John


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 01:41 AM

"That is why guitars have tuning machines. "

I just had a vision of a Heath Robinson 'tuning machine' for my triple strung hammered dulcimer ...


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Subject: RE: My tuning pegs keep popping out
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 20 Jan 11 - 03:22 AM

Amen to J-i-K's comments re humidity control.


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