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Fine Tuners.. To Be or Not To Be ??
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (2 votes) 
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Crazymotive
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September 17, 2013 - 10:46 am
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On my current and most used violin I have a Wittner style composite tailpiece with built in fine tuners for every string.  It's a $400-$500 range instrument so it is not high end. It does sound quite good, in fact a pro-violinist friend tried playing it and he said he liked the tone, the response, etc. He did however suggest that I might even improve the sound a bit further if I were to replace the current tailpiece and replace it with a wood tailpiece and install a fine tuner only on the e-string. He feels that not using the fine tuners on the A, E, and D strings provides for better transfer of vibration from the string to the instrument leading to a cleaner and a more vibrant tone.... It would be easy enough to do as long as my wood pegs are turning smoothly enough such as to allow me to fine tune the string with just the wood pegs. The fine tuners do make it a bit easier to tune up. Yet, if I do hear a notable improvement in sound it may be worth the try. As he said, the violins sounds quite excellent as it is currently set up so even if I don;lt change the setup I am still in great shape as far as sound quality goes.  I have noticed that some of the more expoensive instruments in my orchestra only have fine tuners on the E-string. And the violin I played as a child (and still have) only had fine tuners on the A and E strings but none on the D and G strings. So I am sort of used to just tuning with the pegs.

Any thoughts on this. Should I stick with the composite tailpiece and 4 fine tuners or go with a quality wood tailpiece and only 1 tuner on the E ?

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HatefulPain
Trondheim, Norway
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September 17, 2013 - 11:37 am
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I've gone from two violins with built in fine tuners to one fine tuner on the E. Reason why I did it, its because I fine tuned with the pegs most of the time anyway, and it's more neat. IMO they sound a lot better without them too, much clearer sound. That they look more like fine violins is a nice bonus. But of course, the choice is yours. If you can tune without them, I don't see much use of having them. 

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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Kevin M.
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September 17, 2013 - 1:05 pm
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I don't know if you would at this stage hear any difference with changing the tailpiece. Of all the fine tuners the ones on tailpieces that are built in are the best. The afterlength remains the same as on a wood tailpiece. This is the reason that I like the Hill fine tuner for the E string.  As far as the pegs working smoothly. If you rub the peg with bar soap and work it in the peg holes it will smooth right out.

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ozmous
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September 17, 2013 - 1:32 pm
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I don't use a single fine tuner, removed them all, but I can stil tune it perfectly, it doesn't seem to change the sound(well, for me)...but a wooden tailpiece is aesthetically pleasing.

cheers! - ⁰ℨ

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Steve
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September 17, 2013 - 2:52 pm
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This is a topic that could easily lead to inflammatory responses! There will always be folks (snobs, I call them!) who insist the "real violin" only uses a wooden tailpiece and only has a single E fine tuner. I'm not in that camp. I always use fine tuners on every string and have no interest in learning the skill of using pegs-only for tuning. I like the composite Wittner tailpiece with built in fine tuners and put that on almost all my violins. As Kevin said, it retains the proper afterlength. The Wittner fine tuners are very well built and turn smoothly and easily and don't wear out over time. I've had many fine tuners used on wooden tailpieces that eventually wore out and were hard to turn.

I have never noticed any difference in sound, either improved or degraded, from using the Wittner composite tailpiece vs. a traditional wooden tailpiece. I collect good violins for a hobby and have several multi-thousand dollar violins--I don't notice any difference in sound on them, either, using the Wittner composite tailpiece.

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gwscheer
Pullman,WA, USA
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September 17, 2013 - 8:35 pm
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I can't really weigh in on this one as my NS Design Wav 5 only has fine tuners;  no peg tuners 

 

gws "Pegless in Pullman" 

 

"Make every note beautiful", Ivan Galamian

“To play a wrong note is INSIGNIFICANT; To play without PASSION is INEXCUSABLE!” , Ludvig Van Beethovan

"It ain't rocket surgery"

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StoneDog
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September 17, 2013 - 9:21 pm
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Whatever works for getting it in tune. I have been using the pegs more on the lower strings > just gets there quicker. I have noticed that you have gots to turn the fine tuners a lot for the lower strings so I go pegs first > then if needed I will go at the fine tuners. I like having them when my persickaness kicks in.

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DanielB
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September 18, 2013 - 6:58 am
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It's your instrument.  You put the gear and options on it that *you* want on it.

If you want fine tuners because you feel it makes tuning easier for you...  Great!  Do it.

If you feel that a particular instrument looks or sounds better without them and you can manage with the pegs... Great!  Do it!

Anything that you personally feel is an improvement that will encourage you to play and/or be proud of your gear is fine.

Something like which sort of tailpiece and whether you use fine tuners or not is very reversible.  If you decide later that it wasn't the best move, you can just go to what does seem like the best option to you.

 

 

"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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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 18, 2013 - 8:43 am
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I agree with what others have said above, that changing the tailpiece does not change the sound, or at least that I have noticed. I've replaced a lot of tailpieces, both adding the tailpiece with built-in tuners and taking them off.
That being said, tailpieces with removable fine-tuners seem to improve when removing them. One theory might be that the string length (afterlength) is slightly longer without the built-in fine tuners.
If you have trouble tuning your violin using the pegs, here are a few considerations. Ensure that the pegs movement is smooth, they may need peg dope (peg compound) to help with the smoothness. It is also possible that the peg holes were not reamed properly or that the pegs were not shaved and burnished well. In either case the peg compound usually helps. Another option could be geared pegs.
There is no doubt IMAO that a violin looks better with a wooden tailpiece with no fine-tuners except for the E, as long as long as it is a Hill style fine-tuner :-)

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

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Mad_Wed
Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city
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September 19, 2013 - 4:48 pm
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It depends, Crazymotive. Experiment with it. Find the way You like it and feel comfortable. I ended up with geared pegs and have no fine tuners, since i never liked them and never used them much anyway.. Can't say about the look and sound though (i don't care about the look and unable to hear much difference in the sound exept there's no rattling sounds anymore which was coused by bad fine-tuners i had once). =)

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Crazymotive
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September 21, 2013 - 12:02 pm
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Thanks for all the good responses to this question. yeah, I kind of suspect that swapping out the tailpiece would probably not make much of a noticable difference in sound quality. But, it is easy enough to try and it's reversible, I can always swap the current tailpiece back on. IOn any event it's not a priority. Maybe I'll try it sometime down the line. As far as tuning with just the wood pegs that wouldn't be much of a problem for me.  When I first started learning as a child that is basically how I always tuned, by adjusting the pegs.  However, I do like a fine tuner on the E string. Since they are so thin they can break easily if tightened to much. And on the E all it takes is a tiny bit of tightening or loosening to change the pitch noticably.  The fine tuner on the E makes it so much easier to get the E centered right on pitch.  For the B, D and G it's not as critical.

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allisonyli
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September 21, 2013 - 1:15 pm
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btw crazymotive it's A, D, and G. I just want to say that i use the pegs sometimes even though i have built-in fine tuners just cuz it's fun. :)

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Tyberius
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September 21, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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several people have said what I agree with. It is your instrument. Sometiems it comes down to not just what you like, but what is required. By that I mean, if you have a hard time with your pegs, maybe fine tuners is the way to go. Changing things will alter the after length, but really, unless you have low end or high end strings or a violin that reacts to specific harmonics, I am not sure the difference is even going to be noticed or very insignificantly if at all. Kind of like the latest sport shoes. They will drop .021 seconds off your 40M time. well most of us will run the 40M in about 40 minutes (hehehe) give or take. the .021 seconds save is hardly noticeable to the basic or intermediate player.

 

I personally use only E tuners. My daughter uses all 4. She likes the symmetry on the tail piece. I think Ferret has a really nice inlaid finger board setup on one of his instruments. Not for everyone, but it is his and he likes it (as do I). So, as I used to tell my students, if you like something that works, set you hair on fire and run with it :)

"I find your lack of Fiddle, disturbing" - Darth Vader

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johnnyblaze
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September 22, 2013 - 8:29 am
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My violin has fine tuners on it now but it had awful pegs..

  Now that i had my pegs done i am considering putting a carved Tailpiece on.

 

Although i like the fine tuners,the carved tailpiece would be much more traditional on a fine violin...

And i could use the practice tuning with the pegs..

 

John

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 22, 2013 - 9:19 am
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You can put fine tuners on any tailpiece johnny. The only downsides are that the string length will be slightly shorter (afterlength) and it is possible to get vibrating sounds from loose string adjusters and they (usually cheap ones) can break.
These tailpieces are great too. I have had mine for 20 years with two fine tuners. We only have the ones with all four tuners built in though.
http://fiddlershop.com/Pusch-Tailpiece

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

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