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My violin modding journey
Introduction and discussion of some modes I've done on my fiddle. Geared pegs, modified tailpiece, etc.
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dpappas
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July 15, 2017 - 7:35 pm
Member Since: July 15, 2017
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Hello, new poster here!  

I'm an adult relearning the violin.  My only regret in life was putting it down when I was 16 and quite good.  24 years later I'm making strides but I wish I had kept playing.

I bought a Century Strings v220 from my local shop a few months ago.  I like the fiddle, it sounds decent for the price and it's pretty to look at.  But I like to tinker, so I quickly changed the side mount chinrest for a center mount Guarneri type.  It actually seemed to make a difference in sound, but I did it for comfort.

I also removed the ebony pegs and put perfection pegs (bought them from FM, great service).  I got the ebony button version, and I had to gently ream the peg holes.  I did not use glue of any kind to install, and they are rock steady.  Tuning is a delight and I have no fine tuners on my tailpiece.

Speaking of tailpieces, I ditched the Wittner (with fine tuners) and gave it to my daughter for her old knilling.  I put an ebony Hill style on there.  But the tailpiece was too long (114 mm), so the string after length was 48-49mm.  I sanded/cut down the tailpiece so it's about 108-109 mm long now, and the after length is about 53.5 mm, just shy of the ideal.  I'll adjust that list millimeter next string change.  Not a mod for the faint of heart!

Long story short, geared pegs are great.  Purist be darned, we don't use outhouses anymore, so why should we use friction pegs.  And the shorter tailpiece (really the longer after length) really opened up the sound. 

 

Anyway, I've been a long time reader and wanted to share some of my journey. 

Now all I have to do is land some scratch and pick up a Soil strand from FM.

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rockinglr33
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July 15, 2017 - 10:45 pm
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Wow that sounds like quite the journey with the mod's. I look forward to hearing more about the mods and hopefully some of your playing as well. 😀  Do you have any pics of the tail piece? I'm curious to see how you modified it for accurate string length. did you sand down the end where the tail gut goes or where the holes are reamed? 

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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dpappas
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July 16, 2017 - 10:50 pm
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I will post pics and a video of me playing sometime soon. 

I cut down the end near the button.  I kept the look the same and had to grind the underside a bit to keep it from touching the saddle.  It's like a whole new fiddle.  Easily 50-100% louder.  With the same pressure as before, my ears are ringing after playing.  

 

I could have purchased a shorter tailpiece but I couldn't resist the urge to modify.  

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
July 17, 2017 - 1:10 am
Member Since: March 22, 2014
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Sounds like a great project there @dpappas - I love messing with stuff like that on my old e-bay fiddle.   I have a project in-progress to ream out the box and shave new pegs - but - to be honest - I'm only doing that because I want to learn / fully understand the technique by actually doing it.   If I ever have to replace pegs again I'll use planetary ones - I had to laugh at this - 

Long story short, geared pegs are great.  Purist be darned, we don't use outhouses anymore, so why should we use friction pegs. 

roflol

Looking forward to pics and updates !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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rockinglr33
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July 17, 2017 - 11:38 am
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Long story short, geared pegs are great.  Purist be darned, we don't use outhouses anymore, so why should we use friction pegs. 

roflol

Looking forward to pics and updates !

HAHAHAH oh SOOOOO true! one of these days i'm going to invest in those darn pegs! Tuneing my violin the "traditional" way i'm always a tad off and it would be so nice to just do a little click of a peg instead of begging it to only move a little or tuneing down and starting all over! lol. I'm getting better at it but it can be so frustrating hahaha. 

 

Maybe I'll take my first violin and start playing around with it....hummm could be fun! 😀 Look forward to seeing the Pictures Dpappas

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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dpappas
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July 18, 2017 - 11:58 am
Member Since: July 15, 2017
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As soon as I figure out how to post pics on this forum, I'll get some up.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 19, 2017 - 10:27 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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dpappas
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August 22, 2017 - 12:32 am
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Thanks for the tutorial FM!

Here is a pic of the cut down tail piece.  The projection is just so much better now.  

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 22, 2017 - 9:53 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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As hard as I tried, I couldn't see the picture. 🙂

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

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dpappas
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August 22, 2017 - 11:14 am
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Let's try that again, my phone didn't upload them properly 🙂

I took the chin rest off last night to snap these photos, it's by far the most drastic thing I've done to my violin.

This is the ebony tailpiece after I cut it down, sanded, and buffed a little.  I kept the same end shape, but made it about 6 mm shorter.  Now the after length is 55 mm and the violin is about 50% louder (subjective estimate), and more importantly rings more when I play.

IMG_8465.JPGImage EnlargerIMG_8467.JPGImage Enlarger

I would not recommend this mod to the faint of heart.  I have a lot of experience building/modding things, and more important I had an extra tailpiece and tail "gut" on standby in case I ruined this one.  If your tailpiece is too long, buy a shorter one.

I promised my wife that I was finished cutting/filing/sanding anything on this instrument and I pretty much am.  I'm very happy with the sound and look, now all I need is to settle on some strings I like (you can see Tonicas in this picture, I've tried them and Dominants.  I like the Tonicas better than the Dominants--especially for the price--but I have an itch to try Zyex).

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Fiddlerman
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August 22, 2017 - 12:30 pm
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Well done. 🙂
Perhaps one option could be that one buys a higher quality 3/4" tailpiece to achieve a similar result.

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

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dpappas
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August 22, 2017 - 1:38 pm
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I had the same idea for next time, although the string spacing might be affected in some cases

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