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Dec 11, 2023 - 7:10:56 PM
1225 posts since 7/30/2021

I changed my D-string this weekend, and so I have to tune it more than usual lately…

About 60% of the time, when I get the D back up to the right pitch, I let go of the peg and it slips! Argh!

So I try to jam the peg in hard ( while carefully bracing neck) but it’s hit or miss to get the D peg to “stick” there!

Is there something I can do to make the peg slip less?
Thanks!

(Trying to avoid hauling myself to luthier…he is nice, but my work is busy right now!)

Dec 11, 2023 - 7:57:43 PM
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DougD

USA

12004 posts since 12/2/2007
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You should treat your pegs with this compound every time you change strings: sharmusic.com/products/hill-peg-compound
Also, strings tend to get "slippy" at this time of year because the heat comes on in your house, and the air is drier anyway. What is the relative humidity where you keep your violin?

Dec 12, 2023 - 4:41:05 AM
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carlb

USA

2660 posts since 2/2/2008

I keep a piece of chalk in my case for just such an occasion. Just a little bit.

When fitting new pegs, I use chalk to check the fit; it should all disappear when you turn the peg; it will show you where to remove more wood to make the peg fit.

Dec 12, 2023 - 5:17:17 AM
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Earworm

USA

546 posts since 1/30/2018

I'm not recommending these - just asking a question from those who know... Is peg compound better than peg drops like these? I've considered keeping such a thing in my case - I somehow have gotten by without it all this time.

Dec 12, 2023 - 6:06:47 AM
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3420 posts since 10/22/2007

The taper on a tuning peg has been solved hundreds of years ago. It's amazing how much a peg can hold, if the taper of the hole precisely matches the peg. Don't push too hard with the peg. The pegbox woods is softer than the peg.

I take fine garnet paper and gently skuff the peg, when I change strings. Just enough, that the peg is not shiny. I don't use pegdope of any kind. Yes, there are many ways to check roundness, and taper engagement. I do have a pegbox reamer, but mostly for checking engagement, removing as little material as possible. Also replacement pegs are cheap. But you do have to drill a hole for the string in the right place.

Edited by - farmerjones on 12/12/2023 06:12:02

Dec 12, 2023 - 6:30:20 AM
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1225 posts since 7/30/2021

Thanks all!

I am not sure of the humidity in our house… It has been cooler lately and the heat does come on more…and yes, my D peg was fine (nice and “sticky”) all summer and fall. So I agree that drier cooler weather is not helping…

So many solutions, thank you!

Does chalk make peg more slippery or less slippery? I think I have heard other people mention chalk…it seems like a simple thing to try.

I will also check out that peg compound ( who knew such a thing existed, thanks!)

And I will take a look at the end of my peg…it was very smooth, if I remember rightly…

Dec 12, 2023 - 6:47:20 AM
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Erockin

USA

970 posts since 9/3/2022

I've always been more privy to it called "Peg Dope!" :)

Dec 12, 2023 - 7:19:31 AM
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1225 posts since 7/30/2021

Hmm actually I will share this nice video from Kennedy Violins...

Video about slipping pegs by Kennedy Violins 

I am going to try his tip first ( winding string closer to side ) and see if that does it? When I change strings, it is true that I don’t usually pay much attention to the position of the winding on the peg.

Leaving you with his PSA, which echoes what Steve ( farmerjones) said-
Don’t solve the issue by ramming the peg deeper in! Makes issue worse, and damages your instrument…
Oops!! blush
 

Edited by - NCnotes on 12/12/2023 07:22:25

Dec 12, 2023 - 7:19:59 AM
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DougD

USA

12004 posts since 12/2/2007
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Yes, lots of "solutions" - Here's a search page with more: google.com/search?q=hill%20vio...fox-b-1-m
I looked at the discussions at Maestronet and violinist.com and the article in Strings magazine, with several opinions from "experts," including one of our own.
Chalk should make a peg less slippery. It may be a simple thing to try, but may not necessarily be good for your instfument either. Today most "chalk" is not really calcium carbonate, and may be too abrasive for this purpose.
If you look at the ingredients in the Hill compund you can see how it can make pegs both hold better and turn more smoothly.
First, the lubricants:
1. Powdered graphite is a very good non-petroleum dry lubricant. Its sold in a little spray tube as lock deicer at Walmart.
2. Petroleum jelly (aka "Vaseline") is another lubricant, and also the vehicle for the very mild abrasives:
3. China clay (aka "kaolin") used for making porcelain, and many other purposes. You can eat it if you want.
4. Talc - Not sure if Johnson and Johnson has given up on this stuff or not.
5. Red iron oxide (aka "powdered rust"). This may also be a fine abrasive, but I suspect its mostly there for colour, since as you may know its used as a pigment in paints.
The Hill compund is fairly cheap, and a tube will last you several lifetimes if you're a Buddhist. In a pinch you can make your own version using soap and chalk. I used to use Ivory soap and scrape a litlle chalk dust onto it with my penknife and smoosh it around. Then just rotate the peg on it, or rub a little on the contact points. For more grip, use more chalk. I did this for years, but the Hill compound ivs more convenient. Also, the quality of chalk today (and maybe even Ivory soap) is questionable. At least don't use sidewalk chalk.
Earworm, I think that liquid "peg dope" is similar to the stuff that's used as a temporary fix for loose chair legs and rungs. It contains a liquid, I think usually a glycol, that penetrates the wood and causes it to swell, because one common cause of slipping pegs in the winter is simply low humidity. I've never known anyone who recommended it for violins, although its obviously sold for that purpose.
NCnotes - there can be more serious problems, but pegs slip at this time of year mostly just because they shrink more than the pegbox. Proper humidity in your house is good for you as well as your instruments.

Dec 12, 2023 - 7:24:24 AM

1225 posts since 7/30/2021

Thanks for the info, Doug!!

I will report back…

Dec 12, 2023 - 7:29:48 AM
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DougD

USA

12004 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

BTW - Before you try that "advice" from Kennedy violins, please at least read the first article on the Google search page I linked at violinist.com. Read the responses from Rich Maxham and David Burgess when someone suggested that same video. It is possible to guide the string winding so that it encourages the peg to tighten rather than loosen without jamming it against the pegbox.
One correction to my previous post - I guess both the peg and pegbox wood shrink in dry weather, not just the peg, resulting in a loose fit.

Edited by - DougD on 12/12/2023 07:41:25

Dec 12, 2023 - 8:27:15 AM
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Erockin

USA

970 posts since 9/3/2022

I'm taking my Fiddle to Rich at the end of this month hopefully! Carry on... :)

Dec 12, 2023 - 10:25:53 AM
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3420 posts since 10/22/2007

As a scientific point, ebony pegs are super hard. Susceptible to temperature somewhat, but not as likely to humidity. The maple pegbox however is susceptible to both temp and humidity. If you want to see a violin literally spit it's pegs out, take it out of it's case, and lay the scroll against a cold concrete floor.

Oh, also I've broken strings by winding them close to the side of the pegbox. I guess there's a need for a bit of pressure to hold the peg, but if the taper is right and the holes and pegs are round, that pressure is quite small. One could use fine chalk to check engagement. Easier to see than graphite.

Dec 12, 2023 - 10:36:49 AM

1225 posts since 7/30/2021

Cool Erockin, he will be nice to your fiddle and make it happy!

Ok, over here, reporting that “slippy D peg” got temporarily solved!

I went to play a bit …
D was flat of course… :-/
tried to tune it…
peg slip!! ugh…

Since the string was already so loose, I just unwound it almost all the way and rewound it, but with more care this time…neater loops, and closer to side of pegbox ( not as tight to side as Kennedy video, because I just kind of guided the loops with my finger).

The peg isn’t slippy anymore!

I think maybe I did a sloppy string install the first time? (I was watching tv and talking to husband while I did it, so perhaps I did :-). But I never thought the winding position could matter?!

And I am going to order the Hills peg compound, too…looks good!

Doug, I was looking for that link you mentioned …do they “critique” the Kennedy violins method? Curious…

Anyway what I learned…
- don’t jam a slippy peg deeper in, it’s not good for your instrument
-it does matter how you wind your string on! For me, doing neater side-by-side loops closer to the side, seems to have solved my slippy peg for now…

Dec 12, 2023 - 10:41:39 AM
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DougD

USA

12004 posts since 12/2/2007
Online Now

"critique" is not quite the word, but here's the link: violinist.com/discussion/threa...page=6149

Dec 12, 2023 - 1:15:10 PM
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RobBob

USA

2991 posts since 6/26/2007

I've also been told to make a slurry of Lava soap which I've never done but I do take some very fine sandpaper to a peg on rare occasion to enhance the grab.

Dec 12, 2023 - 4:51:04 PM
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1225 posts since 7/30/2021

Thanks for that interesting link Doug! I am glad I got your note of “caution” before I redid the string!

So what worked over here, was that I redid my winding more carefully…it starts beside the hole and the loops go neatly and tightly side by side towards the pegbox wall. The very last loop gets close to wall, but is not pressing on it as far as I can see.

I think my peg and my hole are basically okay, but I just needed to wind the string on with more care ( in this colder weather, less natural humidity and warmth to help peg stick? )

I just hope I didn’t damage things, I was pushing my peg in pretty hard on Sun/mon in my efforts to make it stay put! So far, everything seems ok…

Dec 12, 2023 - 7:34:30 PM
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6529 posts since 9/26/2008

I have used Lava soap and chalk. It works. Best to improve humidity. I've recently moved and my new place was super dry with heat running (29%) plus my allergies have be flaring. I purchased a quality air washer - a humidifier/purifier. Since then, my place (730 sq ft) has been running at 45-52%. I call that a win considering the unit is rated for 415 sq ft. My fiddles and other wood instruments have all been better for it. Can't speak to the pegs exactly, but a humidifier is good for you AND your instruments.

Edited by - ChickenMan on 12/12/2023 19:36:13

Dec 13, 2023 - 8:48 AM
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2632 posts since 8/27/2008

I couldn't say in your case, but it's worth ensuring that the taper of the hole and peg match. If a replacement peg has come from elsewhere or if the hole has worn over time, the mismatch can cause a slipping problem.

Dec 13, 2023 - 6:20:30 PM

1225 posts since 7/30/2021

Yes, next time I wind up at luthier, I will ask him to take a look at D peg and hole…(He already fixed my G Peg, which used to be impossible to turn!)

Dec 14, 2023 - 7:51:11 PM

3649 posts since 9/13/2009

The matching tapered friction peg and hole is genius of engineering... the smooth slide and stick balance works amazingly well (little inward force) if made well fit, and maintained.

But as relying on friction, eventually wear... often uneven, to both holes and/or out of round; so less of the overall peg/hole making contact;  a bit more inward force will help it catch/stick... but less smooth turn, increases friction as turn; eventually lead to more uneven wear if not corrected. (abrasives just cause more friction/wear).

Not sure what's normal in maintenance schedule with most pro luthier/repair folks, how often they address it (check every time?); but would think not a big job if addressed early, just quick slight touch up to pegs or hole ream?

A lot of old fiddles I've come across, for sale have signs, quite a bit of peg extending out of pegbox... and degree of unevenness. Not sure at what point is big issue to fix, how far can go, pegs shaved, hole reamed?

Feb 10, 2024 - 5:41:24 PM

102 posts since 4/11/2022

quote:
Originally posted by NCnotes

I changed my D-string this weekend, and so I have to tune it more than usual lately…

About 60% of the time, when I get the D back up to the right pitch, I let go of the peg and it slips! Argh!

So I try to jam the peg in hard ( while carefully bracing neck) but it’s hit or miss to get the D peg to “stick” there!

Is there something I can do to make the peg slip less?
Thanks!

(Trying to avoid hauling myself to luthier…he is nice, but my work is busy right now!)


I'm a little late to respond but I just want to put in my two cents. If there is a good fit between the peg and the hole, and there's not excessive lubrication, you don't have this problem.   
       Initially the pegs are shaved to fit each hole using a peg shaver that is made using the same reamer that was used to make each hole in the pegbox. And before they are shaved, the pegs aren't round. So if one of the pegs (the D peg) was replaced but not shaved, that is the problem. So the best fix is to clean the hole with a reamer and shave the peg with a peg shaver made using the same reamer. Between now and then, you can put chalk on the peg to help it stick, and if that doesn't help enough, wind the string against the inside of the pegbox so that it tightens the peg when you wind it.  (Hopefully my summary helps.)

Feb 11, 2024 - 1:48:41 PM
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1543 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by fiddler135
quote:
Between now and then, you can put chalk on the peg to help it stick, and if that doesn't help enough, wind the string against the inside of the pegbox so that it tightens the peg when you wind it.  (Hopefully my summary helps.)

NEVER wind a string against the pegbox wall! This can ruin strings, but more importantly, it can cause pegbox cracks. Pegs put plenty of pressure on the walls of the pegbox as it is, but jamming something against them to force an ill-fitting peg to stay in place is a recipe for disaster.  I do a lot of repairs to cracked pegboxes. With a good repair, it can be strong and functional, but the damage is forever. 

Feb 12, 2024 - 8:31:47 AM

1225 posts since 7/30/2021

Thank you for the tip, Rich...

I did fix my slippy D peg but mine seems to have been due to careless string winding. I was watching TV while I changed my string, and I think I just looped it a bit carelessly, maybe one loop was over another one or something? I carefully and neatly redid the winding so that all the loops go tightly side by side towards the pegbox wall (but not touching) and now my peg is back to normal function.
And I bought some of the peg compound.

note to self...
don't watch TV while changing strings!
I used to change all my classical guitar strings at once (6! ) and that's how I got in this habit of watching something while I did it, because I never bought a string-winder tool and it was just a slow repetitive process...and the nylon guitar strings seem to wear out a lot faster than violin strings, so I did it more often...
but this is apparently not a good habit when changing a single violin string!

Feb 14, 2024 - 5:54:41 AM

6 posts since 1/20/2024

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful
quote:
Originally posted by fiddler135
quote:
Between now and then, you can put chalk on the peg to help it stick, and if that doesn't help enough, wind the string against the inside of the pegbox so that it tightens the peg when you wind it.  (Hopefully my summary helps.)

NEVER wind a string against the pegbox wall! This can ruin strings, but more importantly, it can cause pegbox cracks. Pegs put plenty of pressure on the walls of the pegbox as it is, but jamming something against them to force an ill-fitting peg to stay in place is a recipe for disaster.  I do a lot of repairs to cracked pegboxes. With a good repair, it can be strong and functional, but the damage is forever. 


I have never heard this. I don't doubt you, but I thought pushing in too hard on the peg to try to get it to stay caused pegbox cracks.  How sure are you?  I have heard for decades that the strings should be wound to put pressure against the pegbox.  I have never had a string break where it touches the pegbox. Can anyone corroborate?

Feb 14, 2024 - 6:52:49 AM
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1543 posts since 3/1/2020

I watched a colleague crack a pegbox on a nice old cello doing exactly that.

It may have been on Maestronet, but someone posted a video from YouTube where a “luthier” suggested winding strings against the pegbox. That video was uniformly declared to be dangerous nonsense.

Pegs put a decent amount of strain on the pegbox with normal use because their conical design requires one to push them in while tuning and increase the force. This force is evenly distributed along the circumference of the hole if the peg and hole are fitted well to each other. However, if there’s a subpar fit, one of the holes may end up with the brunt of the pressure while the other is too loose, and that can quickly lead to a crack. When the string is binding against the pegbox, it increases the force on one hole in the same way, even if the holes are round and cut well. 

If everything fits, there’s no reason to add tension by forcing a string against the pegbox. If the pegs don’t fit, doing that only makes their fit worse. Getting a peg to stay put doesn’t mean it fits well, just that something has immobilized it.

In the past, pegs were commonly cut with a more aggressive taper (this is one way you can tell a set of pegs is old), and eventually luthiers realized that it was a problem because the size ratio of the holes was building up too much pressure on one side. As a result, a new taper became the standard and now almost all reamers and peg shavers are made for this taper. This helps to somewhat limit the damage, and it’s a reason why pegs of a certain age tend to be either recut to a proper taper or replaced. Even this is no guarantee against pegbox cracks down the road, but it’s just one example of an effort to reduce pressure on one side.

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 02/14/2024 07:04:04

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