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Replacing Parts or big No No
Replacing tailpiece, pegs, and chinrest
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May 29, 2018 - 3:17 pm
Member Since: May 29, 2018
Forum Posts: 1
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Been playing violin for about 9 months now and am starting to get a decent sound. There is not anything wrong with my current setup, but I really love the look of lighter wood with a darker body.

I've been thinking about replacing the current tailpiece, chinrest, and pegs with something a lighter color. It is currently dressed in ebony and was wondering what recommendations for different wood types would add different sounds.

I know a lot is "Well how do you like the sound" and I would like to get a little darker sound - it's kind of tinny now. I am also running Kaplan AMO strings. Thanks in advance!!


May 29, 2018 - 11:24 pm
Member Since: December 23, 2017
Forum Posts: 1650
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Hi zmcginn (and others).  Funny that you should ask.  I have been working on a white painted Cecilio electric violin to replace the ebony pegs, tailpiece and chin rest with boxwood, and replacing the maple bridge with ebony.  No idea how it will sound but it should look interesting.  

On your immediate project, I would leave the ebony pegs alone if they currently work.  To replace them, you would need a peg reamer (about $15) and perhaps a peg shaver (about $50 and up), plus a set of new pegs (about $10).  For that kind of money, you could buy a set of Knilling Perfection Pegs (about $60 for the pegs and another $15 for the peg reamer).  A major advantage afforded by the Perfection pegs is that they have 4:1 planetary gears that allow you to eliminate the fine tuners on the tail piece.  This increases the after length of the strings and greatly reduces the weight of the tail piece.  You may want to further experiment by using either a harp shaped tail piece or utilize a 3/4 sized tail piece on a 4/4 violin (to further reduce tail piece weight).

I have used rosewood, maple and boxwood violin accessories (and there are others).  The density of the wood decreases in order, and violin brightness tends to go up as density goes down.  I am experimenting with the use of roasted maple tail pieces (see separate thread on how to do this) and they are my current favorite.

Fortunately (except for pegs as noted above), making the sort of changes you are suggesting can be done very inexpensively if you are willing to waite several weeks for shipments from india and china.  And you can always easily go back to the original accessories (again, except for pegs).  The biggest change you will experience is likely to come from string and bow changes.

I hope that the above gave you a few ideas.

Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal. —Earl Nightingale.


May 30, 2018 - 2:26 am
Member Since: October 10, 2011
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when I started playing some 40 years ago, how a fiddle looked was more important to me than it should have been. it took me a couple of years to realize that sound, playabilty, intonation etc. were far more important, and several more years to be able to tell the difference between boxy, rich, grainey, focused, nasal, thin etc.

sure, getting a fiddle that looks good is a bonus, but i'd much rather have one that sounds and plays great, regardless of what it looks like.

if your fiddle sounds tinny, there may not be a whole lot you can do to improve it. tail piece and chin rest would likely change the sound to varying degrees. strings can also make a big difference, but there is only so much you can do. 

I'd suggest thinking about putting the money into a better violin, and the time into practicing.

"Striving to attain Mediocrity"


May 31, 2018 - 11:33 am
Member Since: March 15, 2014
Forum Posts: 244
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Everyone has given you sound advice. I have changed hardware on my Cecilio CVN-600, from Ebony to Tamarine. The hardest part was the pegs and end pin, which require a ream and shaver. I would suggest a luthier for this, as by the time you buy the tools for a onetime use it would be cheaper just to have them do it.

IMHO I found that my changes were more cosmetic then tonal, there was very little change in sound, but it made the violin look a lot better.

With violins there is no fretting over the music.

Fort Lauderdale
May 31, 2018 - 3:56 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 16058

Great question and I believe that lighter wood such as boxwood tends to give a slightly darker sound. However, don't expect a huge difference.
Wood density is a different subject.

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

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