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Guy_Gallo

Hill Fine Tuner

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I've noticed different qualities in "Hill-style" tuners from Shar, Quinn, and my local dealer.

Some are sharper on the edges and just seem flimsy.

Does anyone 1) have a preference for suppliers of Hill style tuners or, better, 2) any source for real Hill tuners rather than "hill-style" from Germany?

thanks

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Hi,

The kind of hill tuner I prefer I get from Gotz in Germany,but likely is available from other sources.It is recognizable by it's straight shaft(that holds the string),

where most have a curve in them.They seem to consistently work well and hold up well.All the hill tuners seem to have one sharp side where the string loops on,which needs to be softened with a file.Or you can add one of those sheaths to really insure against string breakage

Andrew

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Hi falstaff,

I am not sure but think that the original Hill should be made in England by Hill or just ordered by them.Those made in Germany are mainly made by Witner.Maybe the majority of string adjusters are made in China,even witners.Correct me if I am wrong.

A friend of mine makes string adjusters and bow frogs here in Plovdiv ,who supply shar products with Hill-style too.

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I use whatever is cheap, but I do a lot of re-working of it to make it function the way I like. However, on his last trip through town, Mr. Gotz gave me a sample of a tuner they're now making which seems to be very well made.

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File the snag off the groove in the hook, remove the screw and buff the end to a shine, then heat up the body (I do this by putting the tuner on the tailpiece and then I grind and buff the bottom to take the sharp point off the lower corner--that heats up the whole thing) until you can melt some candle wax into the hole for the screw, and fill it with wax. Then wax the screw up, too. When you put it all together it's as smooth as silk, and stays that way for quite a while.

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I'm taking the liberty to revive this old thread because it has some good info, and because I haven't been able to find any other discussion of this issue.  I have four violins ranging in quality from pretty nice to real cheap and I've equipped each of them with the Hill-style tuners and all but one of them are causing my e strings to break.  I've tried filing the edges, using those plastic protectors, and I just ordered a "genuine" Gotz fine tuner on line.  Filing the edges hasn't prevented string breakage; the metal is really tough.  The plastic protectors work but they're really hard to handle, especially if you break a string in a rehearsal or just before a concert.  Gluing them on hasn't worked for me either, so I revived the thread in hope of finding good insights.    

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1 hour ago, phutatorius said:

I'm taking the liberty to revive this old thread because it has some good info, and because I haven't been able to find any other discussion of this issue.  I have four violins ranging in quality from pretty nice to real cheap and I've equipped each of them with the Hill-style tuners and all but one of them are causing my e strings to break.  I've tried filing the edges, using those plastic protectors, and I just ordered a "genuine" Gotz fine tuner on line.  Filing the edges hasn't prevented string breakage; the metal is really tough.  The plastic protectors work but they're really hard to handle, especially if you break a string in a rehearsal or just before a concert.  Gluing them on hasn't worked for me either, so I revived the thread in hope of finding good insights.    

I fit loop E strings for clients all the time, and rarely have any of these issues. Over time, they will eventually give up at the loop, but most people change E strings fairly regularly, so this isn't really an issue.

I would look again at the edges of the claw on your tuners, or consider what you are using as a file, it needs to be smooth. The plastic loop protectors work very well, and one should last several strings before needing replaced. They usually get pressed on so tight by the string, that they will stay on with a string removed.

I wonder if the strings are cutting into the bridge, or not sliding easily over the bridge parchment (if fitted). Worst case is a deep E groove on the bridge, with one of the useless plastic string tubes, often this just grips the string like a vice.
If the violins aren't in regular use, this could also be a factor in why strings keep snapping. Brand of string may make a difference too.

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I used to use Hill style fine tuners, but I've gone to using Wittner Finetune geared pegs on my personal fiddles, and consider them a fix for all fine-tuner problems.  This review by Andy Fein is a good summary on them, http://blog.feinviolins.com/2011/12/wittner-finetune-pegs.html, but I disagree with him on one point only.  I have no difficulty in fine tuning my E string (I now use Warchal spirals) with the peg alone, and feel that one can use the pegs to dispense with all the fine tuners.  It feels like an elegant solution to me.  :)

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I don't understand why mechanical pegs haven't become de facto standard. 

But I think that one side of the tuner is always sharp because the retainer hook is stamped, making a sharp edge on the exit side. I had an e string break on one or two. I just took my mousetail jeweler file to it. No more breakage. 

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Maybe it's dumb luck, but I can't remember having an E string break at the tuner, and I do use Hill style from various makers. One trick regarding those plastic protectors is to put them in the string loop first, instead of trying to put them on the tuner, and then put the string on. But I have to admit that I stopped using the protectors, and still no breaks. It might be more professional to use them anyway, so to insure against potentially subjecting an audience to the irritation of a broken string. Finally, I lubricate the tuner screws with powdered graphite such as a locksmith uses, and it works great for me.

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5 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

What is the brand that will work with both a loop and a ball?  The hole in the ball will fit over the prong, I've read.

I tried a Pirastro Gold e string today and the ball does fit over the prong.  Good to know in an emergency.  There are probably other brands where this will work.  Thank you to those who have responded today. 

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7 hours ago, Violadamore said:

I used to use Hill style fine tuners, but I've gone to using Wittner Finetune geared pegs on my personal fiddles, and consider them a fix for all fine-tuner problems.  This review by Andy Fein is a good summary on them, http://blog.feinviolins.com/2011/12/wittner-finetune-pegs.html, but I disagree with him on one point only.  I have no difficulty in fine tuning my E string (I now use Warchal spirals) with the peg alone, and feel that one can use the pegs to dispense with all the fine tuners.  It feels like an elegant solution to me.  :)

Agreed, I have the FineTune pegs and I use the peg box only and no fine tuners in the tailpiece.  It freaks people out at first.  

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The Götz fine tuners work very well and don't seem to break E strings at the loop - I know of one violin dealer who claimed they improved the sound, and would sell them to customers at $25 apiece (I think they normally retail for something like $6).

I really like the titanium fine tuners from Stradpet, which cost a little more, but seem to improve the sound and response on many (though not all) violins. I particularly like this one, but it has a nasty habit of falling out of the tailpiece when changing E strings - I wouldn't use it or recommend it if it didn't improve the sound so much. Stradpet also makes Hill-style fine tuners in titanium, but I didn't think those made a big difference when compared to the Götz tuner.

I also have a couple original Hill fine tuners (including one in its original packaging) but I don't use them, they look a little different from the modern reproductions made by Wittner.

I really like the Wittner finetune pegs. I don't use them myself, but several of my colleagues have them, and I've found them to work very well.

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