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Soap and chalk for tuning pegs?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
Regular advisor

November 2, 2014 - 5:42 pm
Member Since: February 16, 2014
Forum Posts: 175
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I have seen a couple of web pages where they talk about applying "curd soap" to tuning pegs to keep them from sticking and chalk to keep them from slipping.

I did see another post somewhere saying that chalk is an abrasive to be avoided, but I've never heard of chalk being used as an abrasive on wood.

I think curd soap is just cake soap, made from tallow or other highly saturated fats like coconut oil.

Has anyone tried using soap or chalk on tuning pegs?


November 2, 2014 - 6:21 pm
Member Since: February 11, 2014
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That's what I use.  Zest bar soap,,,jus cause it adds life to the music,,LOL,, and sidewalk chalk because I was told that it did not contain oil as did regular chalk.  When the peg is out, I rub the peg on the soap and work it in the hole.  I do that several times.  Then I string it up and work for three days trying to get the peg to hold which it never does, so then I pull the peg partway out and put some (technical measurement) chalk on it and work it in. After a couple of days, I am able to hold a note.  But at least I don't have to buy that expensive dope.


November 3, 2014 - 2:23 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
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I've never found any peg situation that just finding the right amount to press in the peg didn't work for.  Not quite enough and they slip, a little too much and they can be hard to get moving again.

But perhaps I have just been terribly fortunate and my 80$ electric and 160$ acoustic have pegs that are fitted amazingly perfect.  Oh, and the 60$ Mendini where I had to scrape the paint off them, too. 

If soap and chalk work for ya though, hey, it's your violin.

Here's a page on curd soap.  I've made some types of soaps in my life, but not that one.  Wouldn't be much like a modern cold milled soap such as Zest, though.

But hey, if it works for ya... dunno 

"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

Advanced member
November 3, 2014 - 1:35 pm
Member Since: October 31, 2014
Forum Posts: 63
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I've never used this before. My pegs don't slip. :)

Playing a piece is easy... Playing it right is not...

Regular advisor

November 3, 2014 - 3:28 pm
Member Since: February 16, 2014
Forum Posts: 175
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I just tried a little Lifeguard on my Cecilio and it definitely works, maybe a little too slippery, but they seem to be settling in.  I don't have any chalk on hand yet to see how that counterbalances the soap.  It does enhance the ability to squeeze that peg in just the right place.  Where otherwise they always skip past the right spot going one way or the other.

I simply cannot forget the impression it makes on me to see violinists tuning from the pegs.  It must be a part of the violin mystic to be able to do that.  It's such a struggle now, to see Perlman and other pros like our own Fiddlerman do it like they were machine tuners is very dramatic.

It's either strong, subtle hands or a good setup or both.  In either case, it's a goal for me to be able to do that.

Fort Lauderdale
November 3, 2014 - 8:42 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16063

It's all in the feel. I wish I could just explain the feeling of how to press and turn with the proper amount of pressure necessary to play and tune easily and precisely. Once you find it it's a piece of cake. :)

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

Michigan, USA

November 3, 2014 - 9:53 pm
Member Since: January 21, 2012
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PopFiddle said
I just tried a little Lifeguard on my Cecilio and it definitely works,

I use, "Irish Spring" soap around "St. Patrick's Day".




Russia, Tatarstan rep. Kazan city

November 10, 2014 - 4:14 am
Member Since: October 7, 2011
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Tried them both on my old violin. It had horrible pegs made of some cheap unknown wood. But nothing works better than peg compound.... or proper ebony pegs =)

Now i have Perfection Pegs and don't even think about that stuff anymore =)


November 12, 2014 - 11:01 am
Member Since: August 18, 2014
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I bought a stick of some of the "Hill Peg Compound" and it works like a charm.

Just a quick dab or two on the shiny surface of the peg where it spins in the peg holes is enough. DON'T add it generously if you get some, just a few dabs. If you put too much in there the pegs get a little too slick LOL.....

I think chalk or soap or any of that stuff would all work too. The only thing I've read to avoud are the drops. I guess the drops have some kind of oil in it that reacts badly to Spirit or Oil varnish and I guess can discolor it a little arounf the pegbox?

" I just keep telling myself...."It's all about becoming one with your bow"

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