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dpappas

Tonal effect of Wittner Geared Pegs

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I am curious from the Luthier's who have installed Wittner Pegs.  They are heavier (40 g for a fitted set, vs 14g for the "boxwood" ones that came with my instrument).  I am curious if anyone has noticed a tonal difference adding the weight from those pegs or Peghed/Perfection pegs.  

I'm not interested in a debate about whether or not they are good, I'm just curious if anyone has noticed a tonal change.  Thanks!

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I've installed a few sets in my violins and violas, but recently I used a set "temporarily" to test a new viola while I was waiting for some fancier boxwood pegs to arrive. I didn't notice any difference when I switched over to the boxwood.

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I've fitted a lot of these.
No one ever commented that the tone was impaired as a result, I never noticed this myself either. No one seemed to notice the weight difference, as this has never been mentioned.
Everyone did comment on how easy they were to use.

 

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I use them, like them a lot, the only tonal changes I've noticed are a lessened need to retune the strings, and my E-string seems to me to sound better than when using a more conventional fine tuner. 

In fitting them, I find that first fitting the tip to the tip hole, then gently tapping it out, doing a spiral bushing to the shank hole, and carefully reaming that separately for the shank to fit correctly is often necessary.

:)

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I love the Wittners as well, I haven't had to tune my main violin in two weeks (plus no fine tuner on the E throws people off all the time^_^).  I haven't noticed a tone or weight difference, although my instrument is very light so the added Wittner weight doesn't affect my playing.

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I didn't test them directly, but last year I did a test adding four separate weights on each peg to get the weight of the Wittners. The tonal difference I have heard is actually small, but there was an audible difference though. My feeling was a slight "compression" on the bass, as if the sound were more defined but less open, with less harmonic richness (even if small, it was necessary to concentrate carefully to define it). On the treble, E string especially, in the first instance it seemed to me that they improved, but more than anything else I think it was the slight loss on the bass that perhaps put them more in evidence, in the end I had concluded that essentially they had not changed. The overall sensation was of a slightly more muffled sound, the feeling was more evident every time I removed the weights because I had the impression that the sound opened up and gained a bit of liveliness, but much less noticeable the other way round, i.e. putting the weights on.

It must be said that adding or removing weight can have different effects, both positive and negative, from instrument to instrument, and I think the differences may be negligible for some but perhaps annoying for others.

Besides, my test was not a blind test, so psychology may have distorted the results, not to mention the poor statistical value of the test on a single violin. But I had fun doing it, also because I only listened (and changed the weights), who had to work harder was the violinist.:lol:

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Davide, thank you for recounting your experiment.   I’ve thought about replicating something similar out of curiosity.  
 

 

Interestingly this violin suffers from a lack of bass (for a violin).  The E and A our powerful, and the G is a little thin so to speak.   I’ve tamed it a bit by moving the tailpiece north to about 52-52.5 mm (still settling), but I wonder if the Wittners are affecting the tone.  
 

I have another violin on trial and while it has more bass, it’s weak in the treble.  I can’t have both it seems with the instrument near me.  

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3 hours ago, dpappas said:

I am curious from the Luthier's who have installed Wittner Pegs.  They are heavier (40 g for a fitted set, vs 14g for the "boxwood" ones that came with my instrument).  I am curious if anyone has noticed a tonal difference adding the weight from those pegs or Peghed/Perfection pegs.  

I'm not interested in a debate about whether or not they are good, I'm just curious if anyone has noticed a tonal change.  Thanks!

I use the smaller 1/2 violin size Wittner Pegs that have a 7.2mm shaft diameter to save a little weight.  But I don't recall how much lighter they were than their full size pegs.

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21 minutes ago, Michael Szyper said:

Is there another reason for installing wittners besides sloppy fitted pegs?

Quick precision vernier tuning for all strings.  Consider a situation where the music director gets cranky if the strings don't zero-beat the keyboard during tuneup.  :)

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Three violins that i own (made in 2009, 2011, 2015) have Wittner Finetunes peg (medium).
The first two were retrofitted with them during their life, after several years, so i had quite a bit of "listening" time under my ear for judging the differences "before" / "after".

Aside all of the usual benefits (stability of tuning, ease of it, ease of changing strings, etc) in the 2 violins which were objected by the intervent i noticed an increment of the "body of sound". In one of my instruments more than the other. And also a bit more of sustain.

The differences where not dramatic, but i noticed them.

I have to say, also, that in all of my violins i use sort of "trademark" tailpieces which permit to tune the non bowed part of the string between the bridge and tailpiece. I set all of the strings to resonate with a 1/6th of their length in that part. It seems to assure, when tweaked properly, a homogeneus comparison between before and after changing some elements (be it strings or pegs).

Greetings.

 

 

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I think with any change of pegs there could be a change of tone, how this is perceived will depend on the individual, and their requirements. As I said previously, I have never felt the tone was seriously impaired by the change.
While on M'net everyone is chasing the 'ultimate tone', I haven't always found this quite the same with musicians, who in many cases care as much about practicality and stability while performing.

It's clear from at least one poster that the idea of these pegs is totally abhorrent to them.
My clients range in age from young, to very old. Both ends of the spectrum seem to appreciate Wittner pegs, but for some of my older clients it is enabling them to keep on playing, when their arthritic hands can no longer turn and push the pegs enough to stop them slipping later.

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11 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

I use the smaller 1/2 violin size Wittner Pegs that have a 7.2mm shaft diameter to save a little weight.  But I don't recall how much lighter they were than their full size pegs.

This is an interesting option, the smaller Wittner pegs for 4/4 violin have a 7.8 mm shaft diameter and weigh 40 g for 4 pegs. Can I ask you how much smaller is the head of 1/2 pegs than that of 4/4? The head of the 4/4 ones is 22.2 mm wide and about 20 mm tall.

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1 hour ago, Dave Slight said:

I think with any change of pegs there could be a change of tone, how this is perceived will depend on the individual, and their requirements. As I said previously, I have never felt the tone was seriously impaired by the change.
While on M'net everyone is chasing the 'ultimate tone', I haven't always found this quite the same with musicians, who in many cases care as much about practicality and stability while performing.

It's clear from at least one poster that the idea of these pegs is totally abhorrent to them.
My clients range in age from young, to very old. Both ends of the spectrum seem to appreciate Wittner pegs, but for some of my older clients it is enabling them to keep on playing, when their arthritic hands can no longer turn and push the pegs enough to stop them slipping later.

Although I wouldn't call them abhorrent:), I think Wittner could make some extra effort to improve aesthetics and design.

In fact, I consider them rather ugly to look at, with a very plastic appearance and ergonomically the heads are too thick and tend to be too slippery, but from a functional point of view I suppose they can work very well.

Clearly they are more stable in case of sudden drops in ambient humidity, when traditional pegs would lose their grip if the pressure is not compensated pushing them in to restore the optimal one. However, one thing that worries me is when there are increases in ambient humidity, where while with traditional pegs the pressure would be kept optimal due to the costant movement for routine tuning, with the Wittner it would create an increase in pressure on the wood of the pegbox , creating possible favorable conditions for the development of cracks, especially if the pegbox walls are particularly weak or thin.

Another advantage of traditional pegs is that they can be adjusted to keep the heads in the most comfortable position for tuning (more or less vertical) while Wittner and geared pegs in general will always be in a more or less random position.

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Hi David,

I have a set of the small Wittner pegs on order.  When they come I'll weigh them.  Their head is 18.2mm wide and about 17.8mm tall.  I'm guessing their head is thinner too.

Recently Wittner has started making some of them with a rosewood color and grain pattern.  But I haven't tried them yet.

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30 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Although I wouldn't call them abhorrent:), I think Wittner could make some extra effort to improve aesthetics and design.

In fact, I consider them rather ugly to look at, with a very plastic appearance and ergonomically the heads are too thick and tend to be too slippery, but from a functional point of view I suppose they can work very well.

Clearly they are more stable in case of sudden drops in ambient humidity, when traditional pegs would lose their grip if the pressure is not compensated pushing them in to restore the optimal one. However, one thing that worries me is when there are increases in ambient humidity, where while with traditional pegs the pressure would be kept optimal due to the costant movement for routine tuning, with the Wittner it would create an increase in pressure on the wood of the pegbox , creating possible favorable conditions for the development of cracks, especially if the pegbox walls are particularly weak or thin.

Another advantage of traditional pegs is that they can be adjusted to keep the heads in the most comfortable position for tuning (more or less vertical) while Wittner and geared pegs in general will always be in a more or less random position.

Perhaps the design is limited by the gearing? It can only be reduced so much I suspect, in order to still work. They do look plastic because they are, no getting round this. From a few feet away I'm not so sure it's as obvious, compared to holding the scroll in one's hand.

I think pegboxes have a tough time anyway. How many were split in the past from poorly fitting pegs being jammed in? Add to this cracks, bushings, worm damage etc, there can be a lot going on (obviously none of these on new instruments). All I can say is that so far, there have been no problems I'm aware of, from increased humidity levels here. I appreciate in other countries, humidity fluctuations may be different to the UK.

What you say about the head angle is true, but the tension on the heads is so light, that unless they are at a really unfavourable angle, it's still easy enough with finger and thumb. I think the biggest downside to the wittners is the amount of turning required when changing strings. You really need to use the crank they supply, otherwise it takes so much longer.

18 minutes ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Recently Wittner has started making some of them with a rosewood color and grain pattern.  But I haven't tried them yet.

It looks like they have tried to use a blurry photo of rosewood, but the colour is very pale and does not look right to me personally. On the pegs, only the head is rosewood coloured, the shanks are just black.

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41 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

>

>

I think the biggest downside to the wittners is the amount of turning required when changing strings. You really need to use the crank they supply, otherwise it takes so much longer.

 

I found that to be annoying too.  So I cut off the the ends of the strings to reduce the amount of turning.  I put a drop of super glue on the cut end to prevent the silk overwrap from fraying.

The seriated surface on the Wittner pegs grip the string quite well so many wraps around the peg aren't needed.  

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I recently changed from Perfection geared Pegs to bushed ebony friction pegs on a fine violin. There was no change in tone that I could discern.

I originally had them installed because the peg holes were very big and there was a crack on the treble side A-peg hole. I did not want to spend the money on bushings at the time. I switched back to friction pegs for the traditional look and feel, not function. 

I like geared pegs a lot for function, but I prefer the traditional look. Well-fitted ebony pegs with synthetic-core strings are not hard to tune. 

By the way, my luthier was able to remove the geared pegs without any problems, and they can be re-used. The Perfection pegs are threaded, but the Wittner pegs are not. I have used both, and both seem to work well, but I slightly prefer feel of the Wittner.

 

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I agree with Davide that they are not the prettiest pegs out there.  Since the gears are in the end housing (instead of the shaft, like PegHeds), I guess there is only so much that can be done about the look.

 

I will say that while well-fitted pegs are great, the precision and stability is the appeal of the geared pegs. I use both Wittner and friction and I really prefer the Wittners.  So far I can't tell a difference in tone, but I was curious if anyone else had heard a sound difference.  Now I need to make 6g weights to attach to the pegs to try Davide's experiment for myself.

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2 hours ago, Marty Kasprzyk said:

Hi David,

I have a set of the small Wittner pegs on order.  When they come I'll weigh them.  Their head is 18.2mm wide and about 17.8mm tall.  I'm guessing their head is thinner too.

Thanks Marty.

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57 minutes ago, dpappas said:

  Now I need to make 6g weights to attach to the pegs to try Davide's experiment for myself.

Here is what I did (very quickly and with little care for aesthetics:P) just to get an idea. I used heat shrinkable plastic tube (the one for electric cables),  neodymium micro magnets, and small pieces of lead. Have fun!!

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849275342_Pesixpiroli2.JPG.e50cf569ea45eebc8be78518e009c7c8.JPG

1372811395_Pesixpiroli3.JPG.ef4b69dd899f3b994062aaf90cbd94df.JPG

88050761_Pesixpiroli4scritte.jpg.c6f1c864fee89f3af3d504454263c76a.jpg

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I have not noticed a tonal change on either violins or violas. From a physics perspective, I would consider it unlikely to have any detectable effect because the left hand imposes a node point well ahead of the scroll box when playing and everything behind the hand represents a stiff, heavy system, sort of like asking the tail to wag the dog.

There is a simple procedure one can use to adjust the angle of the peghead at full tune. It works for both geared pegs and friction pegs, but the procedure applied to geared pegs is fussier than for friction pegs: shorten the string by a small amount until you get a peghead position at full tune that is comfortable to grip for tuning.

The reason is the thickness of the shaft over which the string is wound. Friction pegs have the taper and are overall thicker than geared peg shafts. So small angle changes for friction pegs require trimming more string than for geared pegs. This gives one a lot more control over the final angle of the peghead at full tune for friction pegs.

For geared pegs, I am satisfied if I can get them more or less vertical at full tune. If I am feeling motivated, I will use tweezers to pull the string a little more through the peg hole, a mm or two at a time, between adjustments, to get the heads to slant slightly away from the player for ease of gripping, although I prefer a vertical E string peghead to get maximum clearance between the peg the the left hand.

I prefer the higher gear ratio of the Wittner tuners. With the Perfection tuners, I find the lower ratio does not always resist the pull of a high tension string and the string may detune with play, but certainly with no greater occurrence than with friction pegs.

Smooth, easy tuning with no fine tuners on the tailpiece? Sign me up!

I did wish they looked nicer. They should reengineer them to allow the installation of wooden pegheads.

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For an experiment I once put 2kg weighting clamp on a scroll to hear what difference it makes. Surprisingly little. Accordingly somewhat heavier pegs should not make a directly audible change. 

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4 minutes ago, Andreas Preuss said:

For an experiment I once put 2kg weighting clamp on a scroll to hear what difference it makes. Surprisingly little. Accordingly somewhat heavier pegs should not make a directly audible change. 

You are wrong!  A lighter instrument produces a better sound.

A lighter instrument allows the player to practice longer without fatigue.  More practice improves the sound.

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