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Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold

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Peter Woodruff 17 Feb 04 - 09:04 PM
Rustic Rebel 17 Feb 04 - 09:15 PM
Peter Woodruff 17 Feb 04 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,Les B. 17 Feb 04 - 10:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Feb 04 - 10:20 PM
Allan C. 17 Feb 04 - 10:43 PM
Callie 18 Feb 04 - 01:31 AM
GUEST 18 Feb 04 - 01:38 AM
GUEST,Repairer 18 Feb 04 - 03:24 AM
Catherine Jayne 18 Feb 04 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,Repairer 18 Feb 04 - 05:24 AM
Dave Hanson 18 Feb 04 - 06:00 AM
Catherine Jayne 18 Feb 04 - 06:48 AM
fiddler 18 Feb 04 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,mink 18 Feb 04 - 09:13 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Feb 04 - 11:17 AM
ced2 18 Feb 04 - 11:27 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Feb 04 - 11:56 AM
Bobjack 18 Feb 04 - 12:04 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Feb 04 - 12:06 PM
Bobjack 18 Feb 04 - 12:09 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Feb 04 - 12:28 PM
GUEST 21 Feb 04 - 02:41 AM
GUEST,Bob Foggin Eastwood Australia 21 Feb 04 - 04:38 AM
Peter Woodruff 22 Feb 04 - 05:34 PM
Bob Bolton 22 Feb 04 - 09:47 PM
Bassic 23 Feb 04 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,Phil 09 Nov 11 - 10:56 PM
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Subject: Tech: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Peter Woodruff
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 09:04 PM

I am learning to play the fiddle after 44 years of learning to play fretted instruments. It's bad enough there are no frets on my new (old) fiddle, but the tuning pegs slip and the strings never stay tuned...very frustrating. What can I do to fix the problem.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 09:15 PM

I thought the same thing when I just got a fiddle. Turned out that all I had to do was push the peg in further. Hopefully that's your only problem. Good luck and that's all I can tell you because I don't have much of a clue about the things myself!
Rustic


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Peter Woodruff
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 09:24 PM

Ah! Push the peg in further! Sounds like good advice for alot of applications. Thanks

Peter


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 10:01 PM

Try rubbing a little rosin on them. There's also a commercial product meant to keep pegs from slipping - and it's not super glue :)


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 10:20 PM

Don't use rosin under any circumstances. If you really need to apply anything at all, get some proprietory "peg dope". Any repair shop will advise you; or look at some of the past discussions here where people have asked the same question.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Allan C.
Date: 17 Feb 04 - 10:43 PM

In another related thread, Mark Clark said, "I would really advise against Peg Dope or rosin dust to improve tuning peg function. Hie thee to a good repair shop and have a trained repairman re-seat your pegs. Properly fitted pegs never bind or slip, they work almost a smoothly as machine pegs."

I have taken a good look at my own and have realized that at least two have been jammed in so hard at some point in the fiddle's former life, that the gripping area is just too slick and indented to allow further gripping. I plan to replace all of them as well as to heed Mark's advice.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Callie
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 01:31 AM

While you wait to get it fixed, a bit of common chalk might do the trick. Worked a treat on the cello when I had a similar problem.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 01:38 AM

Spit on them


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST,Repairer
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 03:24 AM

Chalk is abrasive and will wear the holes in time, Rosin will set and seize up the pegs! If you're new to it the pegs could just need pushing in GENTLY as you turn them. If they appear to fit badly( take one out, it should be shiny all round where there is cotact with the peg and cheek)Go to a repairer who should offer to fit or replace them. If this is too expensive, then fine tuners on all strings can help.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 03:48 AM

If the pegs are slipping then fine tuners aren't going to help. Fine tuners are used when the string is only slightly out of tune and doesn't warrent using the pegs. I use a form of peg dope made by hidershine. .(it comes in a round block and is black) it works well to a certain extent but if that doesn't work then you may need new pegs. Try gently pushing the pegs in as you turn them though first.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST,Repairer
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 05:24 AM

I agree about fine tuners Khat, but just suggested it as some people jam the pegs and use them. My choice would be to fix the pegs.
Sounds like you use Hidersine peg paste, as do I.It won't cure badly fitting pegs though!


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 06:00 AM

Well if superglue won't do try 4inch oval brads applied with a 4lb lump hammer.
eric


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 06:48 AM

I agree repairer. It does sound like the pegs need replacing or refitting.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: fiddler
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 08:23 AM

With you all there,

Depends on the price / quality of the fiddle which route to follow.

If pushing them home helps fine but too much pushing over a long period can begin to split the whole scoll and then the costs escalate!

Some fine sandpaper and some peg dope is probably the answer if it is not an expensive instrument then they can be bedded in correctly with a good bearing surface.

Belt and braces I always wind the string around so it pulls the peg in as it tightens. Probably an old wives tale but I was told about this many more years ago than I care to remember.

TTFN

A


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST,mink
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 09:13 AM

fiddler - how do you go about winding it in that way? Could you please advise on how to visualise that?


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 11:17 AM

How you tune your fiddle is reported to me by several as having a significant effect on how well it stays in tune, and on how long your peg setup will last. The "instructions" I've received say that you should always "unseat" the peg by pulling it slightly out of the tapered socket when you start tuning, so that it turns with very slight resistance. With the peg "loose," you turn to tune. When you've reached the proper point, you "punch" the peg back into the taper to hold.

To use the above technique properly, you can't just "tweak" a tuning. You cannot let go of the peg once you unseat it, until you have obtained the correct pitch and reseated the peg. Most of the fiddlers I've seen who do it this way always "wiggle" the peg by dropping to a lower pitch at the start of any adjustment (a twist-pull motion as part of unseating the peg), and then bringing the string up to pitch.

If you just "grab and twist" you are rubbing two pieces of wood against each other under fairly high contact pressure, and you will "wear out" the hole. Because of the directional grain in the wood, it will not "wear out round." Once either the hole or the peg is "not round," you have little hope of making the peg hold at any arbitrary point you pick to be in tune. It will want to turn to where the "out of round" of the two parts match up.

Applying any kind of "dope" like chalk or rosin to make the peg stick better usually amounts to adding an abrasive that will make the holes wear faster. The principal purpose of "peg dope," which is recommended, is to make the pegs turn smoothly and easily so that the taper and roundness is retained. You need to use it from the beginning when you get a new peg setup, and add a little whenever you change strings.

If you need to replace a peg that's out of round, it's almost a certainty that the peg hole is even more out of round. Ideally, both the hole and the new peg should be "trued" to make them round and to make them match in taper with any peg replacement. (New pegs, "out of the box" are seldom really round, at least in the common store stock variety.)

If the peg and its hole are round and well matched, fiddle pegs are a pleasure to use. If either is a little off, it's a battleground.

John


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: ced2
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 11:27 AM

One of my friends seems to use super-glue, he gets new strings tunes them and they rarely seem to need adjusting, particularly at the peg! Seriously though the way that pegs work is by the natural friction between the peg and the wood of the head, interfere with that at your peril, it may be as simple as ensuring that both pegs and holes are free from any dirt or grease.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 11:56 AM

The tapered joint used between peg and hole on a fiddle is pretty much the same as the joint used on machine tools to hold cutters and spindles in place. Because of the taper, if hole and peg match well, a very small endwise push on the peg generates very large radial force in the hole. Two such surfaces that match each other and are held tightly together do not slip.

Conversely, a very slight endwise motion out of the hole should release the pin so that it moves easily for adjustment. (For machine tools, that "very slight release" often means a hydraulic ram or a wedge and a large hammer.)

Since the standard pin/hole taper is 1:30, note that when you push on the poorly fitted peg with 2 pounds to make it stick, it's like hanging a 60 pound weight on the peg hole. (or 60 pounds on each side of the hole, pulling in opposite directions?). A few ounces should work if the fit is good.

John


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Bobjack
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 12:04 PM

Fit some machineheads


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 12:06 PM

Bobjack -

Yeah, but machine heads always have backlash. With the lower string tension typical on fiddles, you'd never get them loaded enough to work.

John


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Bobjack
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 12:09 PM

I'll get me coat.................


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Feb 04 - 12:28 PM

Bobjack

The machine heads thing isn't all that bad an idea. The "crossover" mountain dulcimer is one example of an instrument that appears in both versions. The "traditional" builders generally used pegs, but with the more ready availability of steel strings (dispensing with the need to find your own cat) the machine tuners have almost entirely displaced peg tuners.

And lower string tensions aren't entirely a bar to machine heads, as seen on banjos (although banjo string tensions are higher now than in ancient times). Banjo tuners are a sort of different breed, and are used by some dulcimer makers. They probably are not, inherently, the cause of all the jokes about out of tune banjos.

Machine heads are found on many of the new "electronic fiddles," but folkies tend to make jokes about them that rival the banjo/accordion lot.

Properly fitted peg and hole tuners do work quite nicely on fiddles, so if there's a problem it's probably just time for maintenance.

John


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 02:41 AM


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST,Bob Foggin Eastwood Australia
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 04:38 AM

The firm of Hill in London make a peg paste in a lipatick like dispenser which is smooth but the pegs don't slip. I favour it. Hidersine make a compound in a black block but it seems to hold more than allow to turn. Rosin used on the pegs melts and tends to slip in extremes of heat in outdoor playing.
I have seen a tool called a reamer, in the hands of an Australian violin maker, which cuts a correct tapered hole in either side of the peg box.
If a hole becomes too big for a normal sized peg, some repairman prepare a collar or grommet or bobbin of new wood, which is prepared into the side of the peg box, and using a reamer cut a standard sized tapered hole to last for the next few generations. This is less obvious if your do four at a time. The tone is not affected.
For some this would detract from the value of a fine fiddle. I myself don't think so.
I had nice fiddle which used African Monkey Pod wood pegs (I think!) which were ornately finished. I went to display the fiddle at the Australian Musical Instrument Makers annual show. They were hopeless in the heat slipping all the time, and I had to prevail on the maker to give me simpler pegs of a different wood with which I have been very happy- I bought the fiddle.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Peter Woodruff
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 05:34 PM

Thanks for all the good advice everyone. Sorry I did not get back to you sooner.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 22 Feb 04 - 09:47 PM

G'day Bob Foggin,

So the fiddle will still be in tune for the next Backblocks practice ...? (Then we only need to look up the "banjo-out of tune" jokes mentioned by JohnInKansas!)

I must look up your 'African Monkey Pod' wood. I know some Philippine woods of similar name appear to be fairly oily ... unless that's just the local finish on tourist wares! I presume a good violin peg would have fine, smooth, even grained (unfigured!) wood - and not too slippery.

BTW: Sign up for Mudcat - it doesn't cost anything ... only needs a "cookie" to reside on your temporary Internet files ... and saves you the trouble of typing in your name (and allows PMs ... Private Mail to other Mudcatters, so you can chase specific topics without all the chaff and banter of the forum). There should be a link exhorting you to sign up on the first page you encounter, when you connect to Mudcat.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: Bassic
Date: 23 Feb 04 - 03:10 AM

In answer to your question Guest Mink, it is simply a case of winding the string on to the peg against the taper of the peg, sort of "uphill" if you get my meaning. Start where the string slots through the peg and work towards the thicker end, thats the end towards here the handle of the peg is that you use to turn it. This tends to pull the peg into the taper and I find that I rarely have a problem with slipping strings on either my Fiddle or `Cello.


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Subject: RE: Help, fiddle tuning pegs won't hold
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 09 Nov 11 - 10:56 PM

Thanks that really helped! (pushing the peg in)


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