Slipping violin pegs is a common issue.
And an annoying one.
If the pegs don’t hold, the strings will constantly go out of tune.
And few things are more frustrating than having to stop your practice session to adjust your tuning.
Not to mention if the pegs slip while you’re in concert.
If you’re having issues with your violin pegs slipping, you want to get that fixed as soon as possible.
Taking your instrument to a professional is always your best bet.
But fixing a slipping peg on your own is not overly difficult either.
Keep reading to learn how to fix a slipping violin peg, both using an inexpensive product, and using items we all already have in our home.
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How To Fix Slipping Pegs On Violin
Follow the steps below to fix the slipping pegs on your violin. After the steps, we’ll cover a few products that may help you out, but try without them first. In many cases, you won’t need to apply any type of product.
Turn the peg counterclockwise to loosen the strings. Pull the peg out of the hole slightly, about 1/4 inch (6 millimeters), so it moves freely.
Push the peg back into the headstock until it fits snugly then turn it clockwise to tighten the string again. As you tighten the string, gently push on the peg to secure it in place in the hole.
Apply a peg compound (see below) if turning the pegs inside the headstock doesn’t fix the problem. Turn it counterclockwise until the string unwinds.
Pull it completely off the plug. Pull out the peg and apply two drops of the compound to the area where it rests inside the sides of the peg frame.
Put the peg back into the peg frame and turn it exactly when the area where you applied the drops comes into contact with the peg to spread the compound. This compound should correct the looseness, allowing the peg to rotate slowly within the headstock.
Replace the string and tighten it by turning the peg clockwise. Tune the string normally, using a good violin tuner.
Problems That May Cause Faulty Peg Operation
The violin is a sensitive instrument. It is sensitive both to the touch and to the items you hold it in, meaning both can cause damage.
When kept in a humid environment or exposed to changes in temperature, the wood of the violin can be affected in numerous areas, including the headstock that holds the tuning pegs securely.
Loosening pegs can no longer keep the string in tune, forcing you to make frequent tuning adjustments. But there is no need to replace the entire peg.
With a little adjustment inside the peg hole, or the addition of a few drops of peg compound, you can return your peg to a tight fit that keeps the string in tune.
There are two specific problems from which the pegs can suffer.
- One of these problems is that the peg can be very hard, making a clear friction noise when you turn it when trying to tune the instrument.
- The other is that it can be too soft and it is difficult to maintain tuning, since it tends to slip and spin on its own.
To solve this problem, there are certain products that can help you perform the proper maintenance.
We are going to list those products below. Some you can buy at a music store. Others you likely already have in the home, so you won’t haver to go out and buy them.
Products Needed To Fix Pegs
The following products will help you keep your pegs working properly.
The first product we need is a lubricant paste based on a processed mixture that contains graphite and soap.
It looks and functions like a lipstick, except you apply it to the peg and not your lips. The application is very simple.
You just need to remove the dowel from the headstock and rub the edge of the lubricant paste on the part of the peg that should go inside the hole or dimple. Put enough product on the peg so that is is visible.
Then, put the peg back in the headstock and test the tuning. If you see that the pin still lacks lubrication, be it because it is still hard or because it is still slipping, repeat the procedure until you find the right point.
There is a homemade product that you can use for the same purpose as the previous product to fix violin pegs.
As you will know, the “lead” in a pencil is made of graphite. This means you can use it instead of a lubricating paste.
Simply repeat the procedure we just explained above. Remove the pin from the headstock and go over the edge that should go inside the hole in the headstock with the tip of the pencil.
Another very practical homemade product is chalk. We’re talking about ordinary chalk like the ones used on blackboards in schools.
The procedure is the same. Just keep in mind that the chalk, whatever color it is, will paint the wood. Be careful to thoroughly clean the edges of the peg once you insert it into the peg frame.
Never Use Soap!
People sometimes recommend the usage of soap to fix certain problems with tuning pegs. Please DO NOT use a block of soap to fix you violin pegs!
Soap contains chemicals and will most likely damage the integrity of the peg wood. The other products mentioned above can fulfill this purpose without endangering your instrument.
Don’t Use Too Much Product
It is possible to overdo it with the products you apply to the pegs. That harm your violin physical, or simply look bad. The easy fix is to simply wipe the area with a clean, dry cloth until the excess product is removed.
One way to test if it’s cleaned enough is to put the peg back in the hole and turn it to see if the excess has been removed.
Do not use any products or chemicals to clean the excess, because they can again damage the wood of the peg. Do not even use water.
If you don’t feel comfortable changing strings, take your instrument to a violin shop and have them help you. You’ll save yourself the hassle of accidentally breaking things.
If the pegs are too small for the holes, take them to the shop and get new pegs. There is an art to making them work well.
As a side note, some people level pegs that have a screw inside the peg that adjusts the tension. These instructions are NOT for that situation. If you see a screw in the peg and the pegs don’t work right, go to a music store and explain the situation to the employees.
Fix Slipping Violin Pegs: Final Thoughts
That wasn’t too difficult, was it? It is very possible to fix a slipping violin peg on your own at home. Many violinists take care of this issue them selves.
But there is no shame in hiring a professional either. They will ensure everything is done absolutely correctly, so you don’t have to worry about doing any damage to your instrument.
Either way, always take care of your violin. It is a beautiful instrument that sounds better with age, especially if you buy a high quality violin or simply a good violin for beginners.
If you maintain it properly, even your grandchildren can play the same violin that you do. It can be a hassle at times, but it is definitely worth it in the end.