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Sep 30, 2021 - 1:38:48 PM
292 posts since 4/15/2019

I took two of my favorite bows to have them rehaired today. After reading all the things about doing rehairs on the hangout recently, I took a good look at mine and decided maybe they could use it. My Luther I use at our local music store which by the way is owned by Jim Kincaid the son of Bradley Kincade. Yeah, that Bradley Kincade. He advised me to let him clean and spread out the hairs already there. Said it would save me money and get the same results. I also wanted him to install geared tuners on my fiddle. He said he would not recommend doing it on any decent fiddle. Said he would rather I let him clean the pegs and and treat them with this putty like stuff to make them easier to turn. I thanked him for saving me a lot of money and hopefully improve my fiddle playing and enjoyment!

Sep 30, 2021 - 1:59:32 PM

1904 posts since 12/11/2008

Yeah! If the fiddle is a good one, don't mess with it. And once you get jiggy with the standard tuning pegs, they work just fine.

Sep 30, 2021 - 2:44:37 PM

DougD

USA

10329 posts since 12/2/2007

A lot of the advice in the recent bow rehairing thread was really just opinion, presented as absolute fact.
You can buy the Hill peg compound at most violin supply shops for a few dollars. You should apply a little when you change strings, and if your pegs are well fitted they will work fine.

Sep 30, 2021 - 4:59:23 PM
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292 posts since 4/15/2019

The reason I wanted the geared tuners I have arthritis in my hands and it makes tuning difficult.

Sep 30, 2021 - 5:38:23 PM

5486 posts since 9/26/2008

By geared tuners do you mean those tuners where you can see the gears, kind of chunky? Or planetary ones that look just like regular tuners. Just curious as I have a fiddle with one and a fiddle with the other. Prefer the planetary ones.

Sep 30, 2021 - 6:15:56 PM

Old Scratch

Canada

839 posts since 6/22/2016

IIRC, my luthier told me a few years back that he would have to enlarge the holes if he were to replace my old kind of chunky geared pegs with the newer type - specifically, Perfections. I have an overblown horror of anything like that, so I decided to stick with the old steampunkers.

Sep 30, 2021 - 9:30:26 PM
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558 posts since 3/1/2020

There are some proponents of cleaning bow hair to extend its lifespan. I find the practice dubious, as it can often make a mess of the hair and doesn’t deal with any length, quantity, or tension issues. Hair can be spread out again if the spread wedge has failed and the hair is clumped at the middle of the ferrule, but a new one must be cut, and the ribbon will be too thin if a significant amount of hair has broken out. It's not always necessary to rehair, but the fresher the hair, the better. It's just not true that the results are the same if hair is washed. 

It’s true that standard pegs can be made to work very smoothly. A well-fitted set can be just as smooth as a mechanical set. The pegs and holes do need to be perfectly tapered and rounded, though. No amount of cleaning and lubricating will make a poorly fit set of pegs work properly. Also, standard pegs require careful maintenance. It isn’t hard to maintain them, but many players don’t do it and end up with prematurely worn or damaged peg holes. I like to use old pegs when they’re in good shape, especially when they’re the original ones, like what you’ll often find on well-kept 100-year-old French violins from Mirecourt.

I never charge anything to simply clean and lubricate an existing set of pegs, as I consider that a standard part of a string change, and I’ll often just do it if I’m going over a customer violin.

About the mechanical pegs, it’s absolutely false that they are never used on “good” instruments. I’ve put in sets for players in some of the country’s best orchestras, and Wittner frequently uses Elizabeth Pitcairn as their poster child; she has them in the Red Mendelssohn Strad. Some players don’t like the aesthetics of some of the mechanical pegs, so we don’t tend to use them as a standard for violins over the $10k range, but we regularly put them in violins below that price, and we happily install them in more expensive instruments upon request.

Players with hand problems like arthritis love them, and I’ve had the honor of helping some elderly players extend their playing careers by installing them, in many cases on much more expensive instruments.

Mechanical pegs are not all the same. Perfection and Pegheds require a wider diameter hole at the thumb side, whereas Wittners fit like standard pegs. The latter’s size small pegs are 7.8 mm in diameter at the outside of the thumb side hole,
which is a little bigger than what I’d make a standard set of pegs, but not dramatically bigger, and the holes can easily be made smaller again with spiral bushings if needed. The old Caspari pegs required a lot of wood to be taken out to install, but they were awful pegs in design and use, and they are responsible for much of the distaste for mechanical pegs among players who grew up during the time they were in production. Younger players tend to embrace the technology much more.

I’m really hoping the OP wasn’t scammed.

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 09/30/2021 21:32:42

Oct 1, 2021 - 6:25:57 AM
Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2687 posts since 2/3/2011

My hands are still very functional, so take this with an aspirin. I use conventional tapered pegs. I dab a (very very) small bit of peg dope on them every time I change strings just like I rub a #2 pencil in the string slots. I've reamed a few peg holes and shaved new pegs for them because the old pegs had shrunk into ovals. Forcing them deeper risks the peg box and no amount of peg dope will fix the problem. Getting a good fit simply takes the right tools and some patience. I recommend buying spare pegs to allow for the learning curve. They're cheap unless you get the super duper just-so ones, which I have not. Even then they don't exactly break the bank and you still have to fit them properly. I've made my pegs a good fit so at the very worst, while I'm pinching and turning the peg at its head with one hand I'll also grasp the peg box with the opposite hand and press the tip of the peg in with the opposite thumb. Instant freely turning peg without applying lateral force to the peg box. I like to make a point of doing this at about this time of year because of the season changes and I do it between times just because I happen to be tuning or re-tuning.

Oct 1, 2021 - 6:58:33 AM

DougD

USA

10329 posts since 12/2/2007

"I'm really hoping the OP wasn't scammed." That strikes me as arrogant and insulting. I don't think Bradley Kincaid raised any scammers.

Oct 1, 2021 - 7:28:47 AM
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gapbob

USA

787 posts since 4/20/2008
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The advice given seems reasonable and inexpensive, compared with the alternative. What would be the scam?

Oct 1, 2021 - 8:27:50 AM
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113 posts since 1/21/2017

And away we go...

Oct 1, 2021 - 11:58:13 AM
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292 posts since 4/15/2019

That was my thoughts too Bob. I am willing to let him try. He has done work for me before and seems to know what he is doing. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Oct 1, 2021 - 12:06:58 PM
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558 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by gapbob

The advice given seems reasonable and inexpensive, compared with the alternative. What would be the scam?


The scam is when a customer brings an instrument and/or bow in needing work and a store tells them that the proper work is too expensive and unnecessary, then charging for work that a shop would do for free or work that will cause damage. It’s trading on the customer’s innocence while simultaneously putting down proper work and workmen. 

Just to reiterate, I’m hoping that there was no ill intent. There were a couple good points, but I was concerned by a few things that were not true, and I don’t like to see players struggle—the instrument is hard enough without anything being done to make playing problematic.

Yes, it’s true that standard pegs can work just as well, and there’s no need to replace a good set if the customer can use the old ones without issues. However, peg compound isn’t a magic wand, and putting it on doesn’t solve issues with fit. If the pegs or holes are out of true, it will lead to damage. One of the leading causes of prematurely enlarged peg holes is over-application of compound, which makes the pegs too slippery, so they get forced in too far and they force the holes to be wider or cause splits in the pegbox. Also, it sounded as though the OP was paying to have compound applied, something that is typically done at no charge. I’ve already covered the misconceptions about mechanical pegs, but it’s worth remembering. 

Yes, if the hair is all clumped in the middle (but only if it’s because of an ill-fitting or missing spread wedge), re-spreading it and putting a new wedge in can solve the issue. But that’s assuming hair isn’t missing. Spreading it doesn’t help if hair has broken out and it can distort the tension. Hair tends to break on the playing side, so when enough breaks, the bow stops handling properly. Just making the ribbon wider leaves the underlying issues intact while giving the appearance of a fix. “Cleaning” hair is a questionable practice, and it has been the cause of too many broken bows, let alone what it does to the hair. There are plenty of inexpensive bows to be had that can simply be replaced when the hair wears out. The hair isn’t the best, as quality has to be lowered to bring the price down, but they can be usable if you’re on a tight budget.

As a luthier, I have a responsibility to do the best I can for my customers, and I have to stand behind everything I do. It makes my blood boil when I hear people that say things like “as long as the customer makes it home before it breaks, I’m happy.” Doing superficial repairs intentionally when there are underlying problems hurts the customer in the long run because they have to suffer through bad performance and often damage. There’s a certain trust that customers place in luthiers to do the best for their instruments at a reasonable cost, and trying to cut corners betrays that. As

an example, some amateur workmen will offer to repair cracks that should be addressed by removing the top and putting in cleats by just squirting super glue, Titebond, or Gorilla glue in from outside “so it won’t ever open up again.” This does a lot of harm, as the repairs cause more problems. Then the work has to be redone at greater cost, otherwise the instrument will be worthless when it’s brought in to be sold or traded.

There’s an old saying:

“If it’s not worth doing properly, it’s not worth doing. “

I keep this in mind all the time at the bench because it’s a good, honest  standard to work by. To follow it is to be kind to the customer because it saves much more trouble and money in the long run and treats them with respect.

Oct 1, 2021 - 12:33:51 PM
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LukeF

USA

102 posts since 10/15/2019

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful

There are some proponents of cleaning bow hair to extend its lifespan. I find the practice dubious, as it can often make a mess of the hair and doesn’t deal with any length, quantity, or tension issues. Hair can be spread out again if the spread wedge has failed and the hair is clumped at the middle of the ferrule, but a new one must be cut, and the ribbon will be too thin if a significant amount of hair has broken out. It's not always necessary to rehair, but the fresher the hair, the better. It's just not true that the results are the same if hair is washed. 



About the mechanical pegs, it’s absolutely false that they are never used on “good” instruments. I’ve put in sets for players in some of the country’s best orchestras, and Wittner frequently uses Elizabeth Pitcairn as their poster child; she has them in the Red Mendelssohn Strad. Some players don’t like the aesthetics of some of the mechanical pegs, so we don’t tend to use them as a standard for violins over the $10k range, but we regularly put them in violins below that price, and we happily install them in more expensive instruments upon request.

 


Rich:  I'm glad that you have dispelled these 2 falsehoods.  I also raised my eyebrows when I first read the OP's original post.  I have Perfection pegs on all my violins and absolutely love them. But none are above $10k.

Oct 1, 2021 - 1:35:08 PM

DougD

USA

10329 posts since 12/2/2007

I don't want to turn John's genial thread into an argument about bow rehairing, but it should be noted that there doesn't seem to be any hard and fast scientific evidence on this topic. If there were, you would expect everyone to recommend the same thing, which is not the case. If you go to other websites like maestronet you'll find the same differences of opinion as expressed here. Here's an interesting example, including a survey: violinist.com/blog/laurie/201611/20870/
Old cowboy - If you're really having severe physical problems using your pegs just explain that to your luthier and I'm sure they'll do their best to accommodate you, or recommend someone who can.

Oct 1, 2021 - 3:14:29 PM
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292 posts since 4/15/2019

So far the man has not charged me anything for applying the peg compound. He says he thinks he can make the pegs work fairly easy and is willing to save me a couple hundred bucks for pegs and rehair. Fail to see this as a scam! He says The total will be around $65 or less. That was for doing two bows and the peg work. That probably would not rehair one bow let alone two!

Oct 1, 2021 - 5:41:10 PM
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5620 posts since 7/1/2007

Some of my customers put an enormous amount of wear on their instruments and bows. Three of them in Branson perform 15 to 18, two-hour shows per week, plus side gigs, plus recordings. Another one in KC teaches and practices obsessively and has worn most of the varnish off his $15,000 violin in just a few years time. Another one practices and rehearses more than twenty hours weekly. These guys make a pretty good real life experience base, as does working for a major violin shop, importer and wholesaler for years.

I was one of the first people to adopt Perfection Pegs back in 2010, for the five-string fiddles that Anton Krutz and I developed, to make tuning easier, and while they are pretty good, I quickly became aware of the problems that people had with them. When Wittner Finetune came out, I thought they had a "notchy" feel to them that I didn't like, but I did like the fact that they stay where you put them and don't slip, so for me, it's Wittner, hands down. Especailly after they smoothed them out. I still see the first set of Wittners I ever put in, once a month or so, and they are still my favorite. I wouldn't hesitate to put them on a very expensive violin. I've got a pretty nice Millant Freres next to me as I type, one of the best violins I've ever owned, and I'll happily put a set of Wittners in it free for anyone who wants to spend $20,000.

Regarding bow hair, people who play a lot of "hot" music break hairs and have to rehair pretty often when the hair band gets too thin. If you don't play a lot the hair can get dirty and lose its grip.There's nothing wrong with washing it IME. They wash horse hair in big machines after it's harvested to get the filth off of it. It's much like people hair. If you're careful with it and don't get it tangled or contaminated. I'm experimenting with the only synthetic hair we've found that my pro customers seem to like. It holds up, and plays well for them. Waiting for a little more feedback. But if I do recommend it, it will be based on real-world experience, not hearsay, as is anything I post here.

Oct 1, 2021 - 8:20:48 PM

2004 posts since 8/27/2008

What would be the advantage of synthetic hair? I guess you're saying it might hold up better than natural hair? How will you determine it?

Edited by - Brian Wood on 10/01/2021 20:23:25

Oct 1, 2021 - 9:21:06 PM

558 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by DougD,
...it should be noted that there doesn't seem to be any hard and fast scientific evidence on this topic. If there were, you would expect everyone to recommend the same thing, which is not the case. If you go to other websites like maestronet you'll find the same differences of opinion as expressed here. Here's an interesting example, including a survey: violinist.com/blog/laurie/201611/20870/

 


There is scientific research on the subject:

https://academic.oup.com/bbb/article/74/2/408/5949538

https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.124.5065&rep=rep1&type=pdf

https://youtu.be/x1R9WzdTq9I
 

Yes, there are plenty of opinions on online forums, but the variety does not prove that there is no consensus, as some of those opinions are based on faulty information and myth. Among professionals, you'll find much more consistent opinion. It's also important to point out that Laurie herself recommends rehairing every six months.

The first result of a Google search for "how often to rehair a bow" is every six months.

Codabow recommends rehairing their  bows every 6-12 months. 
 

Plenty of respectable shops and archetiers recommend rehairing every six months. 
 

I see a preponderance of knowledgeable opinion in favor of regular rehair and a scientific basis including electron microscopy. 

Oct 2, 2021 - 3:31:04 AM
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292 posts since 4/15/2019

A funny thing happened to me on my way to the fiddle shop!

Oct 2, 2021 - 6:24:24 AM
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DougD

USA

10329 posts since 12/2/2007

Ha! Hope your bows turn out great, John. You and I might be the only ones here who remember who Bradley Kincaid was. He certainly had an interesting life, and said when he went into that music store in Springfield he met the greatest salesman in the world because he wanted to buy a new case for the "old hound dawg" guitar and ended up buying the whole store!

Oct 2, 2021 - 7:32:44 AM
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5486 posts since 9/26/2008

"as an example, some amateur workmen will offer to repair cracks that should be addressed by removing the top and putting in cleats by just squirting super glue, Titebond, or Gorilla glue in from outside “so it won’t ever open up again.” This does a lot of harm, as the repairs cause more problems. Then the work has to be redone at greater cost, otherwise the instrument will be worthless when it’s brought in to be sold or traded."

I was given my first fiddle, a beautiful and once very fine high end Lyons and Healy from the turn of the century, because it was improperly repaired and rendered unsellable due to the gross over application of something (glue maybe? I'm unsure what it is) that is visibly running much of the length of the back and in spots on the top. The fellow who gave it to me said If he were to try and reverse the repair it would cause more problems, and thus it had sat for years in his inventory without anyone giving it a second look or listen. It served me well for many years and in fact was more fiddle than than I could manage for much of that time. The repair affects its projection but I don't think I ever found the right strings for it either. Still have it and probable will keep it if only for sentimental reasons (the Luthier who gave it to me has since passed).

 

My opinion may not matter, but if the pegs are still a struggle when you get it back, get the modern geared ones. They are as easy to tune as a guitar with quality tuners, smooth and accurate. 

Oct 2, 2021 - 9:05:39 AM
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Players Union Member

boxbow

USA

2687 posts since 2/3/2011

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

My opinion may not matter, but if the pegs are still a struggle when you get it back, get the modern geared ones. They are as easy to tune as a guitar with quality tuners, smooth and accurate. 


There it is...short and sweet.

Oct 2, 2021 - 11:37:21 AM
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292 posts since 4/15/2019

I have taken my bows to him to let him work on them, but I have not taken the fiddle to him yet. Got a lot of thinking to do yet.

Oct 4, 2021 - 2:44:35 PM
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robinja

USA

1109 posts since 6/25/2007

Hi, John. I took a chance on a fiddle years ago that was missing pegs, but the price was right such that if it turned out to be a dud, I wouldn't be out much money. I took it to my usual luthier and asked him about putting in the geared pegs. He talked me out of it - I think some luthiers have just had bad experiences with them or are just not that familiar with them and prefer to stick with the traditional pegs. The pegs were fine, but I eventually decided that I wanted the geared pegs and my husband installed them (he is a banjo builder so he's pretty good at such things.) I use several different tunings when I play and go to festivals where the weather can vary a lot, and standard pegs can get to be aggravating in these conditions. I used the "Pegheds" brand and really love them. One bonus is that taking the fine tuners off seemed to improve the tone of this fiddle (and eliminated the annoying rattle that fine tuners sometimes make.) Nothing wrong with sticking with traditional well-fitted pegs, but I think geared tuners can be an asset to the player.

Oct 4, 2021 - 3:24:17 PM
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WyoBob

USA

301 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by old cowboy

So far the man has not charged me anything for applying the peg compound. He says he thinks he can make the pegs work fairly easy and is willing to save me a couple hundred bucks for pegs and rehair. Fail to see this as a scam! He says The total will be around $65 or less. That was for doing two bows and the peg work. That probably would not rehair one bow let alone two!


That sounds like a solid value to me.

Due to "out of warranty" fingers, I installed a set of Wittner tuners on my two good fiddles ($400.00 Chinese fiddles).   I'm really glad I did.  

Last night, I played with my old time jam group and we have a new player who is outstanding.  Fiddling and singing.   She's one of the best players I've played with which is saying something.   She went to change to AEae with the conventional pegs on her fiddle (which was one of the best sounding fiddle/bow combinations I've heard to date) and it took a long time.    I can change the tuning of either of my fiddles easily with the fiddle on my shoulder much more quickly.   I'm probably 35-40 years older than her and really appreciate the Wittner's on my fiddles. 

Side note:   my hands have benefited dramatically in dexterity and pain relief after I started putting a teaspoon of Turmeric (in with my Metamucil -- did I mention that I was old)?    The "Therabath" hot wax machine I bought years ago to help in recovering from my shattered left wrist and attendant nerve damage and a year of physical therapy, has set on the table, unplugged for over a year.  

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