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My pegs are sticking - is peg compound the right stuff to use?
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iBud
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January 30, 2015 - 11:58 am
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Aloha everyone,

I can't easily turn my tuning pegs while tuning up my fiddle, not that I ever could.  I've seen videos here of @Fiddlerman tuning his violin while easily turning the pegs.  Mine don't slip, but are hard to turn.  In other words, I can't tune it while it's on my shoulder.  I normally sit it vertically in my lap, pegbox up, and tune it that way.  

I have seen lots of people touting peg drops, but their concern is always for pegs that slip.  It would seem that pegs drops cause the wood to expand slightly, creating a better fit.  I have a different problem, and did find a few references to peg compound, but wanted to get y'all's advice on whether peg compound is the way to go.  

One other solution I"ve seen is rosin.  If this is a viable option, is it possible to use the same rosin I use for my bow to apply to the pegs?  If so, I wouldn't have to buy anything.

As always, thanks in advance for any and all responses.

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DanielB
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January 30, 2015 - 12:52 pm
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Rosin would also be to keep them from slipping, not to make them turn easier.

I haven't ever used any of the remedies mentioned.  Do you think the begs are slipping because maybe the peg or hole are malformed?   Or is it possible that you are pressing the pegs too tight into the peg box?  They really only need to be pressed in just enough to not slip.  More than that and they can stick a lot.  Or get wedged so tight into the hole that tools are needed to get them loose.

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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ElisaDalViolin
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January 30, 2015 - 12:53 pm
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I had this problem too. I put peg compound last summer and it worked like a charm. In the D string had to put it twice to the peg turn smoothly without effort. 

For reference, I think it was this one. I'm very pleased with the results, doesn't slip and it's still doing its job today :)

 

I never heard of rosin for this job, but I did hear about graphite in the same way that's used in the nut and bridge. Can't talk about it to much because I never tried, so maybe someone else could verify this?

 
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iBud
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January 30, 2015 - 1:42 pm
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DanielB said
Rosin would also be to keep them from slipping, not to make them turn easier.

I haven't ever used any of the remedies mentioned.  Do you think the begs are slipping because maybe the peg or hole are malformed?   Or is it possible that you are pressing the pegs too tight into the peg box?  They really only need to be pressed in just enough to not slip.  More than that and they can stick a lot.  Or get wedged so tight into the hole that tools are needed to get them loose.

Aloha @DanielB,

I'll check them again, but I think I may actually be the culprit.  I read that to avoid slipping, slight pressure should be applied when restringing and subsequent tuning.  I probably used a bit too much pressure.  I have the weekend to sort this out anyway, so I'll do them one string at a time and check the results.

As for the pegs/holes being malformed, that is, of course, another possibility, albeit one I didn't want to consider.  They aren' wedged in so tight as to need tools to get them loose.  I can, while resting my fiddle on my lap, loosen and tighten them, but they do stick quite a bit, making tuning more difficult than it should be.  Thanks for your response.

Keep-Calm-and-Fiddle-On-small-2.jpg

 

 

 

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iBud
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January 30, 2015 - 1:46 pm
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ElisaDalViolin said
I had this problem too. I put peg compound last summer and it worked like a charm. In the D string had to put it twice to the peg turn smoothly without effort. 

For reference, I think it was this one. I'm very pleased with the results, doesn't slip and it's still doing its job today :)

Aloha @ElisaDalViolin,

The Hill peg compound is the one I saw referenced.  Thank you for sharing your experience with it.  I'm going to try @DanielB's suggestion first, but will see if I can get the Hill peg compound if needed.  Thank you for your response. 

Keep-Calm-and-Fiddle-On-small-2.jpg

 

 

 

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Uzi
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January 30, 2015 - 2:26 pm
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@iBud, it sounds like you're just putting them in too snugly when it's on your lap and you can get some oomph into it.  You won't bet able to get that much pressure into it if you tuning with the violin on your neck.  Don't forget that changes in humidity will expand and shrink wood making them slip when the humidity goes down and stick when it goes up.  I've had the opposite problem lately, with the heater on in the house, the wood shrinks and the pegs slip, so I have to press them in pretty hard.

Peg dope works pretty well by creating a layer of lubricant to make the pegs turn smoothly so that it's not a straight wood on wood connection.  It comes in a little tube like a chapstick.  If you want to experiment a little, there are those that swear by bees wax and talc and many that use Lava soap as a peg compound. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 30, 2015 - 8:57 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Yes iBud. Peg compound is a miracle worker. That will definitely do the trick. The best one is the Hill compound.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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iBud
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January 31, 2015 - 12:48 pm
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Aloha everyone,

Thank you for your responses.  I was able to pick up some Hill peg compound at a local music store yesterday and will apply it today.   I'll let y'all know how it works out.

Keep-Calm-and-Fiddle-On-small-2.jpg

 

 

 

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iBud
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January 31, 2015 - 1:30 pm
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I have one last question.  I watched a video from kevinleeluthier on YouTube where he discussed tuning peg angles.  Does anyone subscribe to the same train of thought?  I was thinking that I could try this also, but wanted y'all's take on this.  It seems to really make sense, at least to me. 

Keep-Calm-and-Fiddle-On-small-2.jpg

 

 

 

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ElisaDalViolin
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January 31, 2015 - 2:16 pm
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Never heard of this practice before but somehow it makes sense. It's well thought. Even though it may help tuning, I think it's needed to have really good fitted pegs. Would like to hear some opinions about this too. Thank you for sharing. 

 
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DanielB
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January 31, 2015 - 3:51 pm
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I keep my violins with the peg angles as shown in Kevin Lee Luthier's diagrams.  It won't make much difference if you are going to tune your violin on your lap, but it's definitely helpful for tuning the violin with the left hand on the pegs while the violin is in playing position.  Pierre also has a video on here somewhere about how to tune the violin with the left hand on the pegs while the instrument is up in playing position.

On my acoustic violin, I have a plain ebony tailpiece with no fine tuners, so I always peg tune on that instrument.  I do have fine tuners on my electric, but these days I mostly also tune that one from pegs, since I just don't think about the fine tuners much.  It actually is not hard once you get used to it. 

Probably the biggest reason for learning to tune with the violin up in playing position  is it's about the easiest way to tune from the pegs while bowing.  Why that is important is that bowing will give you a slightly different pitch than plucking the strings.  And obviously, bowing is the main way we usually play. 

The difference happens because the bow adds pressure against the string, like when a guitarist bends a note.  It can be fairly slight if you play very lightly on the strings as most folks do at first.  But as you learn to "dig in" and allow more weight from your arm onto the string to get more power and tone it becomes more noticeable because the added pressure from the bow hairs (and to some degree the speed of the bow is also a factor) makes the difference in pitch greater. 

Anyway, the whole thing with having the pegs at those angles when the violin is in tune or close to in tune is to make it easier to turn them with your left hand while bowing and applying the bit of pressure it takes to get them to hold.  If they aren't at those angles, it is considerably more awkward.  

It also gives just a little more clearance if you need to do a vibrato in the low position on the E string (the F note) than if the peg was say, turned so it is parallel to the fingerboard.  

Mostly though, it is to make it easier to tune with your left hand while bowing the strings. 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

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Fiddlestix
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Fiddlerman
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February 4, 2015 - 3:21 pm
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I didn't watch the video but I have always readjusted the peg angles on my own violin so that it's easier to tune. I don't need it like that but it makes it way easier. On the E string, it's almost necessary to have the flat part of the peg at the same angle as your finger when touching it in position to be able to vibrate back with the first finger.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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