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Pegs out of control
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HatefulPain
Trondheim, Norway
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November 19, 2012 - 10:12 am
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Starting a new week of playing the violin after two days break. Picking up the violin and noticed it was out off tune. Fair enough, it had been in its case for two days straight, a little out of tune is the least one can expect.

Then the fight start. Pegs spinning like the devil itself occurred. Peg-drops? No chance. Rosin? Nope. Pushing in the pegs? Works for hundredth of a second. This always happen, it's nearly a daily ritual, except when the strings stay in place.

Two hours in, the D string broke. I just had the strings for just a couple weeks, so its frustrating. I know its my own fault, I gave the string too much tension too fast. Never tune the violin when you're frustrated, that’s the lesson for the day. I should probably get a luthier to look at the peg-holes, see if its a problem that can be fixed that way.

So now I got my old steelcore string back on, and it don't really fit with my zyex strings. I've no idea what string I should get, I just know that I can't work with two steelcore strings at once, that's just too much. I don't think the local store has zyex D string, just the E string for some reason, and I don't want to buy online when its just one string.

Em I the only one who has to fight every time I gonna tune my violin? For those who wonders, my violin is still badly out of tune. I just had to give up today before I throw the violin out the window.  

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

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Kevin M.
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I would say, clean all that junk off the pegs and a light sanding with 600 grit.

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HatefulPain
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Kevin M. said
I would say, clean all that junk off the pegs and a light sanding with 600 grit.

I don't think that would help. The pegs and the peg-holes are already pretty rough.

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

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RosinedUp
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I would probably take it into the shop and have them put on a new set of cheaper strings or any strings and have them see what is wrong.  You can save the better strings for later.  It looks like you need to get down to the basics, for instance a stable tuning.  I would be inclined to have an expert look at it.

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Fiddlestix
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I don't know what condition's you have in your home, temp., humidity, but just last week I took one of my violin's off the wall. I hadn't played it for about 3 week's, of course it needed a tune up, started tuning with the peg's, as I only have a fine tuner on the E string. The D and A string's spun out of control like you said. After it was off the wall and kinda neutralized itself with temp and humidity, it stayed in tune. It also didn't matter how hard I pushed in on the peg's.

I never keep mine in case's.        Some violin's have plastic peg's, mine are all Ebony, plastic wasn't around when this particular fiddle was made.

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HatefulPain
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Fiddlestix said
I don't know what condition's you have in your home, temp., humidity, but just last week I took one of my violin's off the wall. I hadn't played it for about 3 week's, of course it needed a tune up, started tuning with the peg's, as I only have a fine tuner on the E string. The D and A string's spun out of control like you said. After it was off the wall and kinda neutralized itself with temp and humidity, it stayed in tune. It also didn't matter how hard I pushed in on the peg's.

I never keep mine in case's.        Some violin's have plastic peg's, mine are all Ebony, plastic wasn't around when this particular fiddle was made.

For a lot of different reasons I have to keep my violin in its case, I know it isn't ideal, but thats what I can offer at this moment. It have wooden pegs. At night it gets cold, around 5-10 celsius and in the middle of the day its about 15-20. I'm just as clueless as you when it comes to the humidity. Its a old house, so I guess the condition in the house arent that great. 

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

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Picklefish
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My pegs are not fitted properly to my holes but are working for the moment. New pegs will cost @$100.00 for ebony and to have them properly fitted. I am getting by by making sure they are firmly pushed in when I get it in tune. Some days when I go pick up my violin the D has spun loose and I need to rewind it. So far, Im 4 weeks with no troubles with it though and am able to tune quite easily. When I had the new set up and the pegs trimmed, they did put drops on the pegs. I havent done anything else to them since. My violin sits in its open case all day and night when not in use. I dont have anything here that could damage it. We are also keeping the windows open so its succeptable to the ambient temperature 60-80's night and day, as well as the variable humidity that is Floridas trait. Im not sure I even need new pegs now that I am having no troubles, not sure if its the violin shops way of revenue generation. Just thought Id share, I dont have a solution but you arent alone. lol.

"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.

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HatefulPain
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November 19, 2012 - 3:13 pm
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I'm glad I'm not the only one. Some days they behave good, so its probably something that's bugging them. One day I put away the violin badly tuned and the next day the violin were in perfect tune. So it's not always that bad. Maybe they felt guilty lol. 

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

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fiddlrgrrl
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Here in the Midwest (actually, the Great Plains) I notice a definite difference as the seasons change.  With the warmer weather and humidity my violin stays tuned even with transport between home and lessons, rarely needs any more than a little tuner tweak.  Now with fall and winter, when I crave hand lotion and lip gloss and my hair flies up with static electricity, I see my violin also feels the dehydration.  I try to keep it out so it's practice-ready most of the time, in a house with a steady temperature but definitely less humidity.  I notice I have to tune every string a bit now.  I have the Zyex strings, and got new pegs awhile back, the kind with a little screw that helps keep the tuning stable, and I think those pegs are helping a lot.

Fiddlrgrrl

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Mad_Wed
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fiddlrgrrl said
...  Now with fall and winter, when I crave hand lotion and lip gloss and my hair flies up with static electricity....

Yep! Same here. And it's just a beginning of winter.

Though i don't have any troubles. My violin is in case mostly - it's too dry outside. I usually tune it several times during the practice.

I had similar problems with pegs on my cheap Chinese violin - they were badly fitted. Peg compound helped very muchdunno

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KindaScratchy
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November 19, 2012 - 8:53 pm
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HP: It's so funny you should post this right now. In the past month or so, my strings have held their tune very well. I always use my electronic tuner to check my strings at the start of every practice session. For weeks, I never needed to do anything more than a tiny tweak to a fine tuner every now and then.

Then, just last night, I was practicing the Christmas project -- rather enthusiastically -- and all of a sudden it sounded really bad.

I thought at first that I was messing up, but then I realized that my A string was way, way out of tune. Apparently the peg had suddenly slipped.

I chalked it up to the dry late-fall weather. The wood in the peg and/or the hole may have contracted. Much like how, at this time of year, I notice that the panels in our raised panel doors in the house contract and show slivers of bare wood where the paint separates.

dunno

When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low,

I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow.

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HatefulPain
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I store the violin next to a window , may that have a unpack ?

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

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Fiddlestix
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HatefulPain said
I store the violin next to a window , may that have a unpack ?

It could very well be that. Next to the window would mean it's an outside wall, temp and humidity would certainly affect it.

What's happening is, when thing's get cold / or cooler than normal, they shrink in size. This is more than likely what's happening to your peg's, they become smaller as the temp drops. You can't see them as being smaller, but that's probably what's happening. After you take the violin out of the case and begin playing, the peg's warm up, as does the whole instrument. They return to their normal size, if they get too warm, they swell / expand / get bigger and become hard to turn.

Any slight change in temperature and humidity will have a negative effect on the wood. Try to keep the violin located more to the center of your home / room when not in use. Notice the difference. 

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RosinedUp
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I haven't had any trouble with the pegs slipping, but I started getting poor tone when the cool dry weather started say a month ago.  When my nose starts to dry out, I know it is time to start up the humidifier.

In winter, you can't simply go by the relative humidity that is reported by the weather service, because that depends a lot on the outside temperature:  If you are not using a humidifier, the indoor humidity can vary a lot while the outdoor temperature changes and the outdoor humidity stays the same.  If you want to know what the humidity is in your apartment, you need to keep a hygrometer indoors.

It seems I was getting poor tone because the dry air was affecting the rosin.  I was afraid my bow hair or strings were worn out, but the problem went away when I started humidifying.

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DanielB
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The friend I gave my Mendini to came over in a panic today, because he D string wouldn't go into tune, it kept falling out of tune every time he tried.  Checking the pegbox and not seeing any damage, and the string looking ok, I tried putting a very tiny droplet of water (less than a mm across) on the edge of each of the peg holes for the D string peg.  Waited a minute and tried it, and it tuned fine, so yup.. Just dry.

So I cobbled him together a quick case humidifier from an old 35 mm film container with a couple holes drilled in the cap and a few of those silica gel "marbles" they sell for flower arranging.  Then stitched a little loop of elastic cord into a wall of the inside of his case in the space near the neck.  Told him to check the "marbles" every few days to make sure they stay soft and damp, but not like dripping wet.

It is just the change of seasons and the air getting dry.  Time to humidify. 

But it was mildly amusing seeing him in a panic thinking something was wrong with the instrument and so relieved when he found out it was just something minor and simple to take care of. 

"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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@ Daniel ..... On a couple other occasion's you have spoken of this friend to whom you gave your old Mendini to. I'm getting the impression from different comment's you've made that this friend is very, very young, not yet even close to being adult. Am I correct ?

Just wondering.  facepalm

You mentioned the drop of water on or in the peg hole's and it brought back from the past, my grandfather using spit on the peg / hole's to keep them from slipping. 

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DanielB
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Actually, he must be about 30. 

But we've known him since he was 15, he used to date my oldest daughter.  We've known him and his family for years now, many good folks, and they're almost like "extended family" to us. 

But because I've known him since he was a kid, he's always a youngster to me, in a sense.  That probably comes across when I mention him, and gives that impression. LOL

Credit where it is due, though, he is an adult and has a couple kids of his own, supports his gf and her kids and helps out his mom.  He's a good sort.  More responsible/reliable than most.

Music wasn't something his family was in much of a position to encourage and support when he was very young.  But he has a good ear for it and some talent and the love for music, so I encourage him in it.

 

Just dampening the peghole a little will fix it, but only for a little while, until it dries out again.  I usually figure if an instrument is dry enough to have any sort of problem it also isn't giving it's best tone.

"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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Almandin
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DanielB said
So I cobbled him together a quick case humidifier from an old 35 mm film container with a couple holes drilled in the cap and a few of those silica gel "marbles" they sell for flower arranging.  Then stitched a little loop of elastic cord into a wall of the inside of his case in the space near the neck.  Told him to check the "marbles" every few days to make sure they stay soft and damp, but not like dripping wet.

I've made a similar contraption, but now I worry: if the inside of the case is nicely humid and the air in my flat is far too dry, won't having the violin out for hours and then back in, back out, back in and so on make it unhappy because of all the rapid changes in humidity? confused

Also, I notice that my bow slips more now when the hair is more humidified, so I need to rosin it more which leads to more rosin build-up on the strings and resulting squeaks. Maybe my humidifier is a bit too effective? Or should I store the bow out of the case?

~ Once you've ruled out the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true. ~

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DanielB
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Well, it is possible that the humidity in the case may be high enough that the rosin doesn't work exactly as you are used to.

Various people have told me that storing bows in the case isn't best, and that it may be better to keep them out of the case and hang them on a hook or something. 

I usually keep the one I use with the acoustic most often in the case, though.  I haven't figured out a good place to hang things like that yet.  Well, and there's like a place for it to be in the case and all. LOL

What I would try first though, is just keep the rosin out of the case somewhere handy and see if that helps it.

I don't have a lot of experience with violins, since I am still in my first year of playing.  But other wooden acoustic instruments I have most often seen damaged from getting too dry so the wood and finish crack and/or split.  It also theoretically can happen from humidity being too high, but where I live we have some weeks every year that get to 80% humidity or more and I've never personally seen that.  All the worst stuff I have seen happened from instruments that gt too dry or way way too cold (like left in a car trunk overnight in freezing cold weather).

Any change is stress, though, whether we're talking about musical instruments or people.  It makes sense that it might be a concern.  But wood does hold moisture for a while, so it takes a while for it to get dry when it goes from a case with good humidity into a dry room.  Maybe some of the more experienced folks here know about the in and out of a humidified case effects?   

"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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RosinedUp
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DanielB said 
Various people have told me that storing bows in the case isn't best, and that it may be better to keep them out of the case and hang them on a hook or something. 

I usually keep the one I use with the acoustic most often in the case, though.  I haven't figured out a good place to hang things like that yet. 

I hang my bows on something like these over-the-door hangers:

http://www.lnt.com/product/met.....irect.html

http://overthedoorhanger.com/

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