Violin machine head

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Gabu, Oct 11, 2001.

  1. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA

    I know it's not double bass... But I am wondering what the norm is for a violin machine head. My wifey just bought a student violin from and the machine head is a wood peg pushed into a hole in the head of the violin... and that's it. No machinery or anything, it just holds the strings by friction of the wood peg to the wood head. Is this common among violins or should I expect an actual gear or two?

    The violin is going back in any case due to a scratch in the finish... But this machine head thing bugs me. Won't wood on wood kind of smooth out over time and stop working?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY


    Actually, the old "Wooden peg pushed through a hole in the scrollbox" routine has been the norm for violins, violas, and 'cellos for hundreds of years, right up to the present. The DB is the only member of the family to use tuning machines.

    I've always wondered why they haven't modernized the tuning aspect of the other instruments. Based on what I know of string players (I know a lot of them), I can only guess that it's some kind of Legit Musician Macho Purist thing...
  3. Tuning machines are available for cello, although they don't seem to be used that much.
    I was watching the NY Philharmonic when the principal cello's tuning peg popped out of the hole during a piece.
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    There are various peg dopes and other stuff made to help them stay in place -- but in the olden prehistoric days (50's) when I learned violin we'd just mark up the peg contact points with a little chalk. Works fine.
  5. Did a search on Maestronet for this topic; those opposed seemed to focus on aesthetics (violinists think machines are ugly and pegs are prettty) and durability (pegs have worked for hundreds of years, why change now....).
    Personally, I think machines look (and probably work) great on a violin. Makes it look like a little bitty bass :)
  6. Peg Dope !?

    sorry, it just sounded funny...