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What is the Best Fine Tuner?


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Greetings All,

I need to replace my E string fine tuner as it is hard to turn and seems to have very limited range.  I was shopping on Amazon for a Goetz fine tuner.  But I’m not sure if this is the best available.  Any advice is appreciated.  TIA.

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2 minutes ago, dpappas said:

What is the best is subjective.   That being said, I am very happy with my mberg titanium fine tuner.  It was expensive (about $30 USD) but works well.   Your mileage may vary.  

What is mberg? I agree that none if the tuners I have used were really great although adding a tiny ball bearing under the screw and a wax lubricant helps a lot.

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What style tuner do you have now?  If it’s the Hill style, taking a very fine file to the end of the screw and beveling or rounding it, in addition to the lubricant, will help.  The range of motion can be short if the screw is worn too much or the slot in the TP isn’t long enough.

I’ve been using a tiny bit of Teflon grease on tuners for decades with no mishaps.

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The end of the screw appears worn.  I don’t have a file and I imagine buying one would cost more than a new fine tuner.  I currently have the Hill style.  It looks as though the Goetz is similar in design.  Has anyone used the Goetz versus the Hill?  

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Several of the newer types of carbon and titanium adjusters, are a two part affair, where the claw is only held in place by the tension of the string.
They work well, and look neat, but clients aren’t expecting the claw to fall out of the tailpiece when they change an E string. Things quickly go downhill from there.

My favourites are ULSA brand tuners, but Wittner works well too.

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On 5/5/2021 at 7:48 AM, nathan slobodkin said:

What is mberg? I agree that none if the tuners I have used were really great although adding a tiny ball bearing under the screw and a wax lubricant helps a lot.

Nathan,

 

https://mberg-music.com/ENG/feinstimmer.html

 

I got mine from Connolly Music but they are sold out.  A quick google search revealed a few other sources, like Fisher Violins.

 

I wanted to add that there is a lot of internet puffery about how the mberg tuner is more resonant or somehow amplifies the tone.  I don't buy it at all.  It does, however, have an outstanding design and smooth operation, so I recommend it on mechanics alone without magical claims that it improves sound.

 

Dimitri 

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Geared pegs are nice but, in my experience, not as accurate as (good) fine tuners. I like what @Dave Slight recommends, it sounds like the type in the Bois d'Harmonie tuners which I quite like.

If you don't have any special lubricants, rub a pencil lead on the threads and it should work.

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12 hours ago, Spelman said:

Geared pegs are nice but, in my experience, not as accurate as (good) fine tuners. I like what @Dave Slight recommends, it sounds like the type in the Bois d'Harmonie tuners which I quite like.

If you don't have any special lubricants, rub a pencil lead on the threads and it should work.

That's my findings too. The gear reduction isn't a high enough ratio for steel strings, which makes fine tuning  similar to trying to balance on the head of a pin.

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On 5/7/2021 at 1:40 AM, Bill Yacey said:

That's my findings too. The gear reduction isn't a high enough ratio for steel strings, which makes fine tuning  similar to trying to balance on the head of a pin.

Yeah, I recommend my students who are intimidated by pegs to get geared pegs and fine tuners. Get it close with the pegs and nail it with the tuners.

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Question for those with experience: do geared pegs affect the sound of the violin?

I have noticed a big difference in sound when my (electronic) tuner is clipped on a peg. Is there a similar difference, albeit smaller, when the increase weight is much smaller? I am assuming the geared pegs weigh more than wooden pegs?

I also got pernambuco pegs installed and was pleased with the change in sound (from ebony pegs). Would the geared pegs affect the tone due to their very different construction and materials?

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Speaking from cello playing experience (built-in fine tuners on wittner & akcusticus tailpieces, heavy generic fine tuners, and stradpet titanium), I really like the feel of the Stradpet Titanium-on-brass. Incredibly smooth and easy to turn. In comparison I had the threads strip & bind on the wittner tailpiece once, and they seem to need regular maintenance (yearly clean+relube?) to stay easy to turn. The stradpet hill-style violin fine tuners aren't expensive direct (aliexpress), either.

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On 5/10/2021 at 1:19 PM, Spelman said:

Question for those with experience: do geared pegs affect the sound of the violin?

Yes. But many people won't notice the change, which could be either for better or worse, depending on the particular fiddle, and the sound which a particular player considers to be ideal.

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2 hours ago, Spelman said:

Thanks for the reply, I wasn't necessarily asking whether the change is positive or negative. If possible to generalize, what changes (albeit subtle) do/did you notice?

What I have noticed is that it all depends on the particular fiddle, and the players preference regarding how it sounds and plays.

A simple set of inviolable rules is a fantasy of mine, too. :)

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On 5/5/2021 at 9:24 AM, John Alexander said:

The end of the screw appears worn.

One issue with the Wittner Hill style tuners is that the little arm that the screw pushes against is stamped steel and they have a rough burr on them that wears away the brass screw. If you push out the pin and file the burr off, it will work much better. Or you can just buy a ball end tuner.

 

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