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 Post subject: Planetary pegs?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 4:50 pm 
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I've been reading about these Knilling planetary tuners on Fiddlefork.com.
Anyone familiar with them...think they're great...think they're a travesty...or anything?
Staying in tune is the bane of my existence.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 3:33 pm 
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I've been reading about them on the Fiddle Forum:

http://www.fiddleforum.com/fiddleforum/index.php

You have to register and join to read, but well worth the FREE membership!

They seem to be a good thing from what I've read, especially if you need pegwork anyway. You may only need a quick fix, like minor fitting of the pegs, but if it will be more involved, or you are tired of fooling around with it, then I would say go ahead.

From what I've read, they don't enlarge the holes in the pegbox (which is good), but may bush it (close the hole) slightly for proper fit when fitting the geared pegs.

Someone also pointed out that since he got rid of the fine tuners on the tailpiece after installing the geared pegs, his tone was improved, since the strings connected directly to the ebony tailpiece again for more sound transfer.

It could cost a little bit ( pegs suggested retail at $120 + labor). One of the posters sent his to the original inventor who will fit them, and says he gurantees that you like them, or he will fit a new set of ebony pegs for you if you don't. At least, that is what I read, and he seems to be reasonable too for the cost + installation.

Personally I don't have the problem on my fiddle, but if I did, and had some money to put into it, it would be a good alternative to having major pegwork done. But if it's just a minor fitting, it may be worth the lower cost. Then it's your call!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:50 pm 
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Traditionalists hate them.

I plan to have them installed on my next fiddle.

I'm not a traditionalist. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:15 am 
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LimuHead wrote:
Traditionalists hate them.

I plan to have them installed on my next fiddle.

I'm not a traditionalist. :D


Real traditionalists also hate fine tuners!

I've not tried them, I'm happy with my integral fien tuners, but people who have tried them seem very happy with them.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:58 am 
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I don't know about tuners on fiddles - but I do on mountain dulcimers......

While the wood tuners (on dulcimers, they are often rosewood) "look" traditional, they are a PAIN to work with - especially if you live in a dry / humid area like I do. In quite a number of cases, unless the instrument has some type of historic value, we recommend converting to geared tuners if the instrument is to be played a lot. I've also recommended the "try a drop of water" method, etc. to help get them to stick.
One of the builders that uses wood tuners has gone to putting fine tuners on his instruments - and that has helped a lot. Another "fix" I've seen is adding a small bead to the string to work as a fine tuner.

Of course, this is keeping in mind that the tuners on dulcimers often are "cruder" than those on fiddles.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:41 pm 
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I doubt it's the fault of friction pegs that is the cause of your tuning problems, more likely to be the actual fit of the pegs. Well fitted and there just isn't a problem - which is why violin makers have been using them for the last 400 years. Just have a thought for the Baroque lute player, he/she can have 25 pegs to turn, using gut strings which are notoriously affected by changes in humidity.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 5:34 pm 
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I seem to be in better shape for the moment now. Went to see an excellent man by the name of Thomas Melton, 45 minutes south of me.
He pretty much cleared 150+ years worth of crud from the pegholes, fitted me a new A peg, straightened me out on what kind of chin rest I ought to be using, and was entertaining while he tweaked, all for about 25 bucks. Now I can get back to making the dog howl.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:52 am 
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Congrats on getting the problem sorted out and with your fiddle, and at minor cost to you. You better hold onto that guy!

So, what kind of chin rest did he suggest?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 5:25 pm 
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Well, mainly it was just that the one I had--the one my sister had many years ago--was higher than average, and seated in such a way that it didn't fit me.
The one I have now is of the standard black wood variety (don't have a brand name, sorry,) sits lower, and has the little tail extension that crosses over the tailpiece of the violin.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 12:54 am 
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I've never understood the purist theory that fine tuners knacker the tone of the instrument. It's the length of string between the nut and the bridge that does all the vibrating, and the vibration is transferred from the bridge to the body to produce the 'tone'. That length doesn't change (but the tension of the strings does when tuning up to pitch).

Saying that fine tuners adversely affect the tone is like saying the material that the pegs are made of will adversely affect the tone (and I've never heard that said by the anti fine-tuner brigade).

The tailpiece is effectively isolated from the body of the violin by its 'floating' nature (the strap doofus attachment affixed to the button doofus in the bottom of the instrument).

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 5:36 am 
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Gary, add-on fine tuners affect things due to the following:

1) fine tuners create more tailpiece mass/weight. More mass= less vibration. Tone is produced by the vibration of the soundbox, strings, bridge, tailpiece and bass bar. A good violin and setup are are dependent on the relationships of mass. A binch of metal on the tailpiece effectively acts as a mute. The weight of all the fittings must fit with the specific characteristics of the sound box. A good luthier will even trim wood from a tailpiece or chinrest to attain the best balance. Or put heavier ones on in the event they are too light (less common). This is a factor in fitting a bridge as well. Some can be thicker than others, some will need more wood removed from the "heart" and/or "kidneys" than others.

2) Yes, the *bulk* of the tone and sound come from the sounding length. But, afterlength, which is the bridge to tailpiece fret length affects resonance and the ability of the instrument to be in perfect fifths acoustically . All of the relationships are very important. If, on a properly setup violin, you were to pluck a string behind the bridge, you'll notice that it will be one octave higher than the next string over. For example, if you pluck the G string behind the bridge, it sounds one octave above the open D string.

3) with fine tuners, the string does not contact the fret of the tailpiece, basically disconnecting the string from the tailpiece, it's supposed to be a fully integrated system. This is why many concert violinists prefer a Hill type fine tuner for the E string. With a Hill tuner, you get the needed fine tuning ability for the E string. (You kind of have to have one for the E), but the string still has the proper afterlength and makes contact with the fret.

The doofuses are the tailgut and endbutton.

There's really nothing wrong per se w/add-on fine tuners, you just have to be prepared for the fact that they will affect tone. They've been avoided by classical musicians for that very reason. It's not a purist theory, it's hundreds of years of proven acoustic principles.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:25 am 
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meemtp wrote:
There's really nothing wrong per se w/add-on fine tuners, you just have to be prepared for the fact that they will affect tone. They've been avoided by classical musicians for that very reason. It's not a purist theory, it's hundreds of years of proven acoustic principles.


Thanks :)

But I'll still maintain that the effect is miniscule, especially from a fiddler's point of view. I can understand a classical violinist obsessing over it, but the difference in tone of adding a few grammes of mass to the tailpiece is completely irrelevant (I suggest) to a fiddler. Unless that fiddler is, of course, obsessed with tone! :)

The amount of energy transferred from the vibrating string (bridge to nut) to the short length from bridge to tailpiece (and indeed from tailpiece to the body of the fiddle via the endbutton - ta for the correct nomenclature!) is likewise miniscule. And the tailpiece is 'floating', so that the strap-doofus attaching the tailpiece to the endbutton acts as a damper as far as energy transfer through that path is concerned. It'll mostly go through the bridge, as high-order harmonics. Very tiny ones at that.

As I said, I understand a classical virtuoso bemoaning the use of four fine tuners, they turn white and poop at the thought of using a shoulder-rest for the same reasons. They use gut strings in the main too, which are more easily and reliably tunable at the pegs than the steel preferred by fiddlers (or so I'm told).

They'd probably also baulk at using anything other than the pegs supplied with the instrument, because clearly if the afterlength and mass at the tail end of the instrument seriously affect tone, so too will the forelength and mass at the top of the instrument, no?

Of course, I'm a beginner with a cheap (relative to something more expensive) instrument, which means I'm fair game for the "Well when you're making a living in a recording studio and have an ear for these things, you'll know" kinds of comments often seen on other, string-related, fora. I doubt I could hear any noticeable difference in tone by removing the fine-tuners on my Gliga. Even less would it be noticeable on a Stentor.

I still reckon that if they'd had fine tuners when the instrument was 'invented', or geared machine-head pegs, or indeed synthetic-cored steel-wound strings, someone somewhere would find something "traditional" to be 'traditionalist' about :)

Like plastic bags on the UPs, or Delrin for flutes, if they'd had the stuff way back when, then no-one would be 'arrised about it today.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:37 am 
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Gary - I know exactly where you are coming from. The mountain dulcimer "traditionalist" get very anal about things, too. And since no one has found the "missing link" or the "first" mountain dulcimer yet, it's all conjecture anyway.

I use a brass quick release capo that some say is too heavy and dampens some of the sound of the instrument. My ear isn't that good. I also play on a fairly short VSL instrument, which some say hurts the sustain. Sounds just fine to me.

Of course, we don't play anything "traditionally" - we are known to change tunes around to suit us, so it really makes no difference to me. I know what I like, and that's what I play (both as an instrument and the tune I play on it).

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2005 9:28 am 
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Yeah Gary, it is true that most fiddlers won't notice or really care about the difference, also there are some fiddles are so damn good that they're still fantastic sounding even after adding all that metal! Some are, some aren't! We had an old English one in the shop here a ways back with all the fine tuners on it plus Dominant strings that were way past their prime and it was still a tone cannon! I'd have loved to set it up with better strings, take off the tuners and tear out some tunes on it! I am and some of my friends are, but then again we also work on the beasties so we're a little more finicky :).

Actually some classical violinists are using tailpieces with built in fine tuners. Those who play with heavy guage strings like them. These tailpieces are great because they are actually the same amount of weight as a standard tailpiece (Actually some are lighter). The afterlength is not affected and there are models available in wood. My personal fav is the Bois De Harmonie model. I have this one on one of my fiddles, the one with steel strings. There's less hardware than add-ons, what there is is made from carbon fiber and the wood is top quality.

Many classical violinists have actually accepted shoulder rests. The injury prevention factor alone makes them great. I'm test driving a KUN Voce right now...pretty fancy.

Yecch, plastic UP bags....my piper buddy says they work, but he hates to use them..he says it works, but you have to put a lot more effort into playing. I've found the same with delrin flutes actually. I do like having my plastic flute though for travelling! I'd rather play the wood one though, less tiring.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:52 pm 
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i don't know shyte about fiddles, but i just put planetary tuners on an old style 5 string mountain banjo. i had been hesitating because, well, i felt some connection to players centuries ago by struggling with friction tuners (these were "modern style" friction tuners rather than wooden pegs- the maker offered me wooden pegs and i politely declined). all i can say is...wow. it is so amazing not be afraid to tune or retune, not to be afraid that the tuners will not stay EXACTLY where i want. consider it.

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