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Three13

Unusual plug on some Cremonese pegboxes

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I recently saw a violin that had a small rosewood  plug or bushing on either side of the pegbox. It was located about halfway up the side, about 3/16ths from the front edge of the cheek. 

I spent some time looking online for pegheads with the same feature, and managed to find a few - a Pietro Guarneri of Mantua from 1690, the brothers Amati King Henry IV violin, and all of the instruments that I’ve been able to find from the Charles IX suite by Andrea Amati. 

Does anyone know what this plug is from? They appear to be later additions, and there appears to be a French connection of some sort in the admittedly small sample that I located.

Does anyone have wisdom to share?

 

 

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They're  bushed pegholes.  Found on thousands of violins in every country.  When a peghole gets too big from reaming or wear, the hole is filled and another drilled.

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I think he's referring to the small plug between the D and A pegs.
 

Edit- I meant D and E

Edited by DoorMouse

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1 minute ago, DoorMouse said:

I think he's referring to the small plug between the D and A pegs.

That’s what I was referring to - they seem too small to be for an ordinary peg.

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3 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

It is a pin which runs across the pegbox. The purpose is to carry the A string over the E & D peg, so they don’t foul each other.

That sounds like a good idea.  Maybe something to do with hanging the instrument on a peg?

I like WB's idea.

DLB

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The one that I examined had the grain oriented the same way on both plugs, which led me to believe that at some point it was a single dowel that traveled all the way through the front of the pegbox, which would be consistent with WB's suggestion.

Does anyone here recall seeing many others? It struck me as pretty unusual when I first saw it.

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These pins must have been very common in the past, they crop up on old German, Prague and at other places.

The surviving ones I have seen were almost all ivory, and a few from ebony.

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2 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Sometimes there are multiple similar holes leftover from geared tuners.

Yeah, but that is a completely different issue than what the OP is focused on here.

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A very curious mystery. One thing all these examples have is re-bushed peg holes. I wonder if it has something to do with that?

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An ivory pin across the peg box, between the E and D pegs, to stop the A string fowling on the E peg is quite a normal feature of particularly Austrian and South German 18th C violins. After all, if you are using gut strings, you will alter the tuning of the A string when tuning the E peg otherwise, which could drive you nuts when tuning up. They have mostly found their demise when someone grafted a new neck, since they are in the way then. I mentioned this once before whilst discussing an Andreas Ferdinand Mayr of Salzburg violin from 1726 here:

 

or to save looking

DSC_0325.jpg

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4 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

An ivory pin across the peg box, between the E and D pegs, to stop the A string fowling on the E peg is quite a normal feature of particularly Austrian and South German 18th C violins. After all, if you are using gut strings, you will alter the tuning of the A string when tuning the E peg otherwise, which could drive you nuts when tuning up. They have mostly found their demise when someone grafted a new neck, since they are in the way then. I mentioned this once before whilst discussing an Andreas Ferdinand Mayr of Salzburg violin from 1726 here:

 

or to save looking

DSC_0325.jpg

Thanks, Jacob - the article was an interesting read. The Mayr violin is gorgeous, which makes me wonder about Schon's work as well. It seems like good information about better makers from Central Europe is sparse (at least where I've been looking).

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If the pegs are intelligently placed from the get-go, the dowel dealybob shouldn't be needed.

Except when the pegbox shape, or some other parameter has gone far astray.

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

If the pegs are intelligently placed from the get-go, the dowel dealybob shouldn't be needed.

Except when the pegbox shape, or some other parameter has gone far astray.

I don't suppose it was seen as a disadvantage by these makers. I think it derives from gamba pegboxes where there are so many strings and the pegbox is so long that there's no other way of avoiding the problem of strings sitting on the pegs in front.

 

 

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