My peg needs replacement – what do I do?
This comment was occasioned when this week I received two rather tart complaints that the pegs we supplied ‘didn’t fit’ the violin! This is despite the fact that we publicise that replacement pegs come as blanks and have to be properly fitted to the violin. Every violin peg hole, often due to wear, is different and there cannot be an off-the-peg solution (forgive the pun!). This comment also applies to the fine tune pegs by Wittner even though these come in different sizes – some fitting is always needed.
Your peg for some reason has snapped and a replacement is obviously needed. If the instrument is of any value the most sensible option is to get your luthier or your nearest good music shop to match and replace it – it is a craftsman’s job. This is simply down to the fact that not only are there many different designs of pegs, but also the exact fitting to your instrument is beyond the average skill of a do-it-yourselfer. The Luthier has professional tools, such as peg reamers to exactly match up the taper of the peg to the taper of the peg hole. This is the critical part because ill-fitting pegs either slip badly or simply refuse to turn smoothly, which leads once again to a broken peg.
Of equal importance is the hole drilled through the peg which takes the inserted winding end of the string. If the peg is inserted too far into the peghole, the drilled hole will be too close to the pegbox cheek, or even disappear entirely. This renders the correct winding of the string impossible and does also lead to strings snapping.
Still want to try, or perhaps, as I often hear ‘Grandpa knows about woodwork’? Here are some tips on drilling the hole:
- Once the taper is correct, insert the peg in as far as it would nromally go and mark the exact spot you wish to drill
- Using a clamp, (not your hand) stabilize the peg and drill the new hole through, using a 1/16” wood bit. Go slowly or you may crack the peg.
- Reinsert and check for fit
- Some cheaper G strings are quite fat so that the hole may need to be a bit bigger!
- Replace the string winding it on correctly in parallel loops without overlapping