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I'm loving my new Fiddlerman Master Viola, but it came with only one fine tuner. I still have not mastered the art of tuning with the pegs very well and tend to go down and up an awful lot. I've considered adding three more fine tuners but have been told it could change the sound quality of the instrument. Now my quandary. Deal with the learning curve and save the deep resonate sound I love, or wimp out, add the four tuners and lose some of that quality sound.
What do you think?
To add to what FM said, you can change out the tail pice with a tail piece that has fine tuners already incorporated into it so it doesn't change the after length. hopefully that won't change the sound much at all since everything is essentially staying the same.
Edit: i just realized that you said viola....these particular ones might not work because i think they are violin size, but FM might have viola size as well!
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~General George S. Patton
Not everyone uses fine tuners, Ripton. Tuning from the pegs is not really that hard once you have done it enough to get used to it. But there definitely is a learning curve since it takes a bit of time to figure out how much to press in on the pegs so they will be tight enough to hold, but not so tight that they stick or "jump", and how small a turn of the peg it takes to get a certain amount of pitch change and so on.
Like many things with violin, it gets easier with practice.
An advantage of just getting three more fine tuners and putting them on is that way if you don't like any difference you notice that they make in the sound, you can just take them back off and you didn't spend much for that experiment.
A thing to think about before putting in something like fine-tune pegs is that I *think* those all take the pegbox being reamed to fit them and then a part of the peg being glued in? Maybe some are a drop in replacement, though, I don't know. But reaming the pegbox and gluing something in might be beyond the tools or experience of the average player, and putting it back the way it was if you decided you don't like them later would even more so.
Replacing the tailpiece, well it may or may not make a difference you'd personally notice in the sound. Some say there is no difference in sound between a simple wood tailpiece and a carbon fibre one with built in fine tuners. In my opinion there is, but your personal mileage may vary on that.
When I first got my current acoustic violin, it came with a nice carbon fibre tailpiece with 4 built-ins. A musician friend who played and who had been my piano teacher some years before came by to "see the new baby" and liked it.. except for the tailpiece. She suggested that I replace it with a more traditional ebony one. I said something about figuring I'd stick with the "stock" one it came with for now (since there isn't really a good place to buy violin parts in my town), but she felt strongly enough about it that on a trip to a bigger city she bought me an ebony one as a present. So I tried it. I agreed with her that I felt the sound was stronger and more to my liking with the wood tailpiece.
I didn't have any really quality fine tuners handy, so I didn't put any on it, not even for the E string. But I was already used to peg tuning anyway, so it was no problem and I've kept it that way.
The carbon tailpiece ended up going on my electric, but I don't use the fine tuners that are in it much, I'm used to just adjusting at the pegs.
But different things work better for different people, and only you can say what sounds best to you on your instrument.
I think that any change on a violin makes some difference. But how noticeable the difference is, and whether it is for the better or worse, you won't know until you try. Putting on three more fine tuners wouldn't cost you a lot, and you can probably install them yourself, and take them back off by yourself if you feel it does something you don't like to the sound. Who knows, you even might like it better with them? "Different" doesn't automatically mean "bad".
"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
Good advice here.... I stopped using fine tuners about 16 months ago except on the e string. I have a FM soloist.. that being said, the pegs are marvelous and all is great...piece of CAKE to tune all the time.
I am assuming you have the same with your FM Master instrument.
So my input is that you will get used to tuning with the pegs before too long.
However... life is short.. getting time to play is sometimes hard, so you know if fine turners, or the geared pegs makes it easier and saves time.. go for that too.
Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato