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saintjohnbarleycorn

4 tuners or aluminum tailpiece

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I sit in with different groups and have to do some quick minor tuning changes. I was wondering if putting tuners on each string or going with the aluminum tailpiece with the tuners already in place. Does one have less negative effect on the sound? This is acoustic, just a mike.

thanks.

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I sit in with different groups and have to do some quick minor tuning changes. I was wondering if putting tuners on each string or going with the aluminum tailpiece with the tuners already in place. Does one have less negative effect on the sound? This is acoustic, just a mike.

thanks.

I didnt know they are aluminum but when you get the built in tuners that are farther back than the add on tuners its supposed to sound better. Because people say the length between ball end and bridge is important. Ive tried no tuners, one tuner, and 4 tuners ( add on ) and I couldnt hear a difference but there could be a small difference.

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I sit in with different groups and have to do some quick minor tuning changes. I was wondering if putting tuners on each string or going with the aluminum tailpiece with the tuners already in place. Does one have less negative effect on the sound? This is acoustic, just a mike.

thanks.

Like everything else to do with 'em, it depends on the fiddle. I'm assuming steel strings.

You hardly ever get the best tone with a wooden tailpiece and 4 fine tuners. Too much mass, too short of afterlength.

On the other hand, it can tame some really shrill fiddles.

Right now, I generally prefer the Wittner composite (not metal) with the built-in tuners.

Cheers,

Ken

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In general the extra weight of four tuners is going to have a negative impact on the sound.They can also touch and damage the surface of the instrument if care is not taken, so probably best avoided. An alloy(or composite) tailpiece with integral adjusters (eg wittner or schaller) gives the correct string afterlength and usually will sound better than wood plus four adjusters. I personally prefer the aesthetic and sonic benefits of a wooden tailpiece with a single adjuster on the E string, but some find tuning with the pegs an extra hassle. There are even sonic differences between the different woods for tailpieces due to the different weights of boxwood,ebony and rosewood.

As usual,all of this is qualified by the usual rule that there are no rules...only generalities which may not be true for every instrument/musician. If you don't like using pegs or if you prefer steel strings I would go for the alloy/integral tuners solution.

Donald.

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If you play with steel strings you might want the extra fine tuners because the steel strings are more difficult to tune with pegs alone. Cellists often use four fine tuners because their instrument is also difficult to tune with the pegs. If you want something elegant and properly made in the way of a tailpiece with fine tuners you might look for Bois d'Harmonie: http://www.harmonie.net/us/

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I am using dominat strings, its a decent fiddle, but on the low end of the scale. I happen to have an aloy, which I supposed was aluminum tailpiece, I will put that on now and look for the composite for later. thanks kevin

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I'm far from an experienced player, but I can say this: When I set up the violin I am learning on now, one made by one Nick Youngblood, and made in the 1930s, whichs an average instrument but nothing to wrte home about, I made the mistake of putting four fine tuners on a cheap tailpiece and using that with it.

Just a few days ago I removed the fine tuners and put only a Hill style tuner on the E string. The difference in tone simply by removing the fine tuners was tremendous.

I just replaced the cheap tailpiece with a nicer one, and that, too, made a tonal improvement.

Fine tuners rob tone. I'm now quite convinced of that. I would avoid using them if the violin is not too difficult to tune without them.

If you're playing with people who work in multiple tunings, consider getting additional violins that are to your liking and setting them

up for each tuning to be used. It's certainly an available option, unless you demand violins that are too expensive for you to buy

several of them.

Chris

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I guess I wasn't clear, its fine tuning, not tunings of different keys. Sometimes you have to pick a middle ground between instruments while you are actually playing if you want to use open strings. thanks for the replies.

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I've always used Wittner or similar tailpieces, pretty necessary for steel strings that don't have the tuning latitude of gut or synthetic. But if you look around you'll find postings about the newest integral peghead fine tuners, which seem to be quite usable and will replace the tailpiece hardware. This may be the way to go if you're willing to go to the expense and work. Comments from people using the fine-tuning pegs would be welcome.

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I've always used Wittner or similar tailpieces, pretty necessary for steel strings that don't have the tuning latitude of gut or synthetic. But if you look around you'll find postings about the newest integral peghead fine tuners, which seem to be quite usable and will replace the tailpiece hardware. This may be the way to go if you're willing to go to the expense and work. Comments from people using the fine-tuning pegs would be welcome.

+++++++++++

Before "perfection pegs" ( About $70 a set) I used Wittner's composite tailpiece ($8-$12).

" Perfection pegs" are better in term of keeping the violin in tune and less work

to re-tuning it but there is a price difference.

If you use Wittner tailpiece, the pegs condition has to be good too. How to make the pegs work properly.

is another story by itself. You don't need me to tell you. :)

If you use "perfection pegs" most likely the peg holes have to be bushed, additional cost, not just 70 bucks.

You may need to talk to your banker. :)B)

If you are playing an inexpensive violin, you can do it yourself to save a few bucks.

If you have an expensive violin, it is much better to have it done by professional. $200 is not something worthy to

save with the possibility of many chisels marks on your violin scroll.

If you install perfection pegs improperly(mix up left and right ), it will give you problems too. Find someone good to do it.

It seems a story has no end. :)

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I sit in with different groups and have to do some quick minor tuning changes. I was wondering if putting tuners on each string or going with the aluminum tailpiece with the tuners already in place. Does one have less negative effect on the sound? This is acoustic, just a mike.

thanks.

I work with fiddle and folk palyers very often - and very often they have an ebony tailpiece with four steel fine tuners added.

I completely understand the practical need.

Still, I almost always prefer a Whiitner lightweight alloy tailpiece for this, as, it is much less cumbersome and makes the afterlength more near what I like.

I'm surprised to hear that you use Dominants...

I use Dominants for all of the music I play also (fiddle, folk and Irishy) but it's not a common choice for such music.

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I guess there are a few of us fiddle types out there using Perlon instead of steel. I've been using them for a while now, just as an experiment. Also, being of a historical bent, I fool myself into thinking they might be closer to gut, and hence to the historic feel. It's an illusion, but a self-delusion, so I'm not hurting anyone else. :)

I installed a set of the Wittner geared pegs on a fiddle I made last year. Wasn't too happy with them for steel strings. These pegs had 'steps' to the turning, and although you could get fairly close, you couldn't really zero it in (to tune) -- and had to have the fine tuners on the tailpiece to finish the job.

One thing with fiddling is the use of open-string drones, so you need it in tune.

On the flip-side, if you're into cross-tuning, it was a dream. You just moved them around to where you wanted, touched it up with the fine tuners, and off you went. No effort.

I have also heard that Wittner has improved their pegs, so the ratcheting effect may be smaller.

After a while, I put on a set of D'Addario Pro-Arte -- synthetics that I happened to have around at the time. The Wittner pegs worked much better with these strings, probably due to a little lower tension. You could touch up the tuning by tugging on the string one side of the nut or the other. I left the Wittner integral tailpiece on, because it was there.

My most recent fiddle has Dominants, ebony pegs, and a Wittner tailpiece (composite). I'm still experimenting with strings on it. Of course, owning a shop gives me a little more freedom with swapping out tailpieces, pegs, strings, etc. I remember hearing that Vassar Clements liked Superflexibles. I have a set, but yet to try them out.

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thanks, I like the dominant on both the acoustic fiddle and the electrified one. I built the electrified one. I never liked the steel string sound, although I have been thinking about a fully electric violin, with pickups on the fingerboard, in that case it would be steel. I also use smooth wound for the mandolin.

here is a link to a video of the duo I play in if you are interested. In this case i was only using a foot pedal, I usually use a better front end before it goes to the output.

the knuckleheads

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thanks, I like the dominant on both the acoustic fiddle and the electrified one. I built the electrified one. I never liked the steel string sound, although I have been thinking about a fully electric violin, with pickups on the fingerboard, in that case it would be steel. I also use smooth wound for the mandolin.

here is a link to a video of the duo I play in if you are interested. In this case i was only using a foot pedal, I usually use a better front end before it goes to the output.

the knuckleheads

Oddly, that's the 2nd 'vimeo' I've been directed to today, and have never seen the format before. FWIW, it just won't run smoothly on my computer -- Mac Mini using Safari for the browser, with cable modem access. Sputters as if it's having trouble downloading fast enough, though the bar seems to indicate that it has plenty buffered. Can't follow the music or video, more like very slow stop-action. I seldom have trouble with youtube, etc.

Too bad -- it looks like you're having fun.

Cheers,

Ken

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Four metal tuners on your tailpiece may qualify as a mute; a lot of weight and generally you cannot maintain the backlength of the string unless you go to a 3/4 tailpiece. An alluminum tailiece often makes the instrument quite shrill. Some composite tailpieces with built in tuners are a better alternative. If the pegs are getting bad then a set of geared pegs altogether eliminates fine tuners. The new straight planetary pegs work fairly well and often are large enough in diameter to prevent bushing some oversized holes. The whole idea of geared pegs or fine tuners revolts some purists but troublesome pegs are very discouraging to new players.

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the pegs are in good shape, and if you were playing with someone and tuned up ahead of time with them it works fine. The problem is when you sit in with different people over the course of a nite, you end up tuning during the song as each group may be somewhat off. I will look into the composit tuners.

sorry the vid didn't work, the guy who does it for us uses a mac so I am surprised you are having a problem. I will talk to him about it. kevin

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If you have an old "metal" tailpiece with built-in tuners, forget it, unless you are searching for a unique fiddle sound.

If you can't invest in an a CF or metal tailpiece with built-in tuners, Hill style tuners are your best option. They are very small, much less mass than lever style, and less risk in terms of damaging the top (i.e. if the bridge should fall). Whatever you do, don't buy the cheap lever tuners made of glorified wire.

I prefer fine tuning on the A and E, and sometimes only the E. If the pegs are fitted well, you should be good to go.

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sorry the vid didn't work, the guy who does it for us uses a mac so I am surprised you are having a problem. I will talk to him about it. kevin

Played well on my computer - not a glitch.

- really nice original music - some sweet fiddle parts there, Kevin -

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thanks, I like the dominant on both the acoustic fiddle and the electrified one. I built the electrified one. I never liked the steel string sound, although I have been thinking about a fully electric violin, with pickups on the fingerboard, in that case it would be steel. I also use smooth wound for the mandolin.

here is a link to a video of the duo I play in if you are interested. In this case i was only using a foot pedal, I usually use a better front end before it goes to the output.

the knuckleheads

Interesting about the strings.I would say the vast majority of fiddlers here in scotland use synthetic now.I suppose the style of the music is a bit different.Certainly a lot less double stopping than my perception of american styles.

Donald

PS video seemed to play fine on my mac.

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I don't know why the vimeo didn't run on my system -- I never seem to know with computers, and often attribute it to not holding my mouth the right way. :) It wasn't just yours, Kevin, but it was consistent with the vimeo format, because it didn't work for the other one I tried to look at.

Since I haven't done it in a long time, I thought I'd weigh a few tailpieces.

Wittner metal w/built-in fine tuners: 25.6 gm

Wittner composite w/built-in fine tuners: 22.1 gm

Ebony Hill style tailpiece w/ 1 lever-arm fine tuner: 22.8 gm

Ebony Typical ('Tulip'?) w/ 1 Hill-style tuner: 20.9 gm

Ebony Typical ('Tulip'?) w/ 2 Hill-style tuner: 24.3 gm

Ebony, old tailpiece w/4 lever-arm fine tuners: 30.9 gm

Ebony, old tailpiece w//4 lever-arm fine tuners: 33.1 gm

All were with a Sacconi (or Sacconi-style) tail-loop, because some of them had them in place, and I didn't want to disturb them. The last two were a couple old ones I had in a 'recycle' box.

The ebony typical tailpiece w/sacconi weight 17.5 gms, and the sacconi (w/attachment nuts) weighed 1.2 gms.

This is just weight, and doesn't address the issue of torque or weight-distribution. I think it's easy to think of the ebony tailpiece with the 4 lever-arm fine-tuners: you have a lot of mass in the fine-tuners sitting out there mid-span, in the area between the saddle and the bridge, that can absorb a lot of energy.

I think the same can be said to a lesser extent to the single fine-tuner, whether lever-arm or Hill-style. What I like about the composite tailpiece is that it feels light, even though it's in the same range as the others. I attribute that light feeling to a more uniform distribution of mass.

But it's really just superstition on my part, with some evidence in my hearing. As they say, your mileage may vary.

Cheers,

Ken

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Interesting about the strings.I would say the vast majority of fiddlers here in scotland use synthetic now.I suppose the style of the music is a bit different.Certainly a lot less double stopping than my perception of american styles.

Donald

Hi Donald,

I think the prevalence of steel strings in American fiddling can be attributed to a few main factors -- they're (traditionally) less expensive, they're loud, and they have longer lives.

I hear fiddlers claim that steel strings respond faster than perlon, but I haven't noticed that myself. You can certainly hear plenty of classical pieces where the fiddler is blazingly fast.

On the other hand, it is interesting to note that in the April 2010 issue of 'The Strad', in the short feature on the Soviet virtuoso Leonid Kogan: "In order to aid his seamless tonal equality he used only steel strings, which gave his sound its unique power and penetration."

Cheers,

Ken

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Hi Ken. Of course there are examples of very good fiddlers (including I think Aly Bain)who use steel for scottish music. I dont find much of an issue as far as speed is concerned...I think you are correct there.

The Kogan one is interesting.I suspect in his day there were only steel and gut and I think some of the russian classical players used steel a as well as e( pirastro chromcor??) and gut d and g. Perhaps the difference in tone colour with this setup was the reason Kogan went with all steel hence the comment about "seamless tonal quality" .

cheers

Donald.

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Quick note on Perfection tuners (or Pegheads) -- which work wonderfully. They come in two diameters, the larger one allowing for re-reaming sloppy peg holes. They are not difficult to install so long as one follows the directions with care. You may also need to purchase a peg hole reamer, but that's not a major expense. I've no association with either firm -- just a happy user.

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I like a tailpiece with 4 fine tuners built in but it sweems to me that the plastic or metal tailpiece negatively affect sound. To my ear the best tone comes from a wooden tailpiece with 1 fine tuner.

Dove Schmidt carries a wooden tailpiece with 4 built in fine tuners. He sells it for something like 20 bucks. For me this is the best of both worlds without breaking the bank.

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