Don't let it slip...

By Nicole Wilson  -  28 January 2015

Ever had your G string slip a bit in the middle of a performance and try as you might you can't tweak it back into place without putting everything down and pushing it in hard?... well, don't worry. All your problems have been solved by the lovely Mr Wittner of Germany who's designed geared pegs for the violin that won't slip, grind or stick and can be tuned to the finest degree with the flick of a wrist. I came across these pegs at about 3 years ago and was amazed then at the accuracy of the tuning you could get with them but I couldn't face the upheaval of getting them fitted to my violin and thought I'd wait a bit and see how they fared on the open market before I tried them. 

The Wittner geared peg

So here I am at Guivier in London 3 years down the line desperate to get them fitted as my peg holes are so worn now the pegs won't stay put for more than a page before I need to retune. So to rebush or take the plunge into the 21st century? I chose the latter and am very excited at the prospect of using these Wittner Fine Tune Pegs. They work on the same principal as a guitar peg, with a mechanism inside, the part of the peg that touches the peg box doesn't move and so there is no need for rebushing the holes ever again. I had heard horror stories of peg boxes splitting especially when flying with the instrument. Thankfully Herr Wittner has taken this on board (excuse the pun...) and redesigned them with little wedges inside to 'give' as the wood expands and contracts without the peg becoming loose. It is slightly fiddlier to restring them but you soon get the hang of them. This style which I purchased from Cardiff Violins for £57.50 for a set comes in 2 sizes. Measure the holes in your peg box before you order so that you get the size that requires minimum adjustment (reaming out the holes is a lot cheaper than bushing them, so if in doubt buy the larger ones). You then need to have them fitted. You could have a go yourself but if you've got a half way decent fiddle, I suggest paying an expert to do it for you. The lovely gentlemen at Guiviers were a little nervous of fitting them as they are relatively new and they'd only fitted one other set but they did a fantastic job and they are now stocking the pegs themselves too. There is a another brand on the market called but these are slightly different. They are made to measure so there is no reaming/ bushing involved, however you do have to superglue(!) them into the peg box. This makes them terrifying to fit as superglue dries so fast and also a nightmare to remove. Verdict on Wittner pegs: Top banana! I love them and am so pleased I had them fitted. Surely it can only make me look more professional if people think I can tune my violin all on my own...? Hooray. Go buy them direct from , or go to Cardiff Violins or Guiviers on 99 Mortimer Street, London to have a peek.

PS If you're really brave and want to fit them yourself, check out this video that shows you how to do it Blue Peter style :



About Nicole Wilson

Principal freelance violinist in London, ex London Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera, Nicole is also a CD producer, TV/Radio presenter and founder of Musical Orbit.

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