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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Tuning pegs


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/357399

Tiderius - Posted - 09/30/2019:  18:02:39


My low d/c and g string recently recently begun rapidly going out of tune. On the d string if I tuned down to C it'd stay pretty well but no amount of tightening the screw seemed to help. Eventually I took the button off and put it back on and that helped the d stay in tune but did nothing when I repeated that for the g.

Do geared planetary tuners just wear out? I've never had tuners on a stringed instrument just wear out in me before like this. The other strings stay in tune (and the D generally does now) but the g will just go flat enough to be really off almost immediately. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I apologize if this topic comes up a lot, I can't find the search function on the forum (is it not an option on mobile?)

banjonz - Posted - 09/30/2019:  18:25:41


It depends on the tuners. Are they modern cheapy Asian ones? If so then the quality is suspect. Also, is there are leather washer between the housing and the button? That helps provide friction and eliminate what you are experiencing. Just my 2c.

rudy - Posted - 09/30/2019:  18:54:57


The main thing that keeps 4:1 ratio planetary tuners from backspinning is the friction clutch that is built into the design.



The friction clutch is comprised of the gear housing, usually an intermediate washer made from fiber or leather (occasionally nylon), the base of the tuner button, and the screw which retains the button.  Disassemble, make sure the mating surfaces are clean and de-greased, and reassemble.  Tighten the button screw as necessary to prevent the tuner from back spinning from string tension.



As stated above, sometimes the inexpensive pac rim tuners do go south on their own.

collegiate - Posted - 10/01/2019:  01:42:39


In order to stop friction tuners easing off under tension I have taken them apart and sprinkled powdered violin bow resin on the moving surfaces. This has largely stopped the slipping.

rudy - Posted - 10/01/2019:  05:41:54


quote:

Originally posted by collegiate

In order to stop friction tuners easing off under tension I have taken them apart and sprinkled powdered violin bow resin on the moving surfaces. This has largely stopped the slipping.






Interesting solution!



Also be aware that if your planetary tuners have a leather friction washer they sometimes need to have the washer replaced if it becomes hardened or glazed.  Some of the retailers sell the replacement washers if you shop around a bit.  I used to recommend Janet Davis when they were in business because they would stick them in an envelope so shipping was the cost of a stamp.  JD closed up a long while ago, but others do have them available.  I don't use planetary tuners so can't offer a particular source.

tbeeson58 - Posted - 10/01/2019:  05:55:49


I found one YouTube video that is related and one more that was OK. I bet if someone would make a video of how to disassemble these and do a little maintenance, it would be a hit...

youtu.be/5_nqB-lxbFU

MacCruiskeen - Posted - 10/01/2019:  06:48:21


quote:

Originally posted by collegiate

In order to stop friction tuners easing off under tension I have taken them apart and sprinkled powdered violin bow resin on the moving surfaces. This has largely stopped the slipping.






I wonder of that would work for celluloid 'violin' style friction tuners, to help keep them from slipping out of their holes.



edit to add: A little Googling to answer my own question comes up with violinists (who have this same problem) saying no, rosin on the pegs is bad, but peg paste is good, comes in a variety of products, such as this, which I may try:



fiddlershop.com/products/kivun...peg-paste


Edited by - MacCruiskeen on 10/01/2019 07:01:52

collegiate - Posted - 10/01/2019:  07:48:17


As well as a few banjos & guitars I have an Er Hu which is strung with steel strings and have used powdered resin on the tuning pegs. The resin seems to have stopped them de-tuning. Might not work on a European style violin ?

Bob Smakula - Posted - 10/01/2019:  09:49:42


quote:

Originally posted by MacCruiskeen


I wonder of that would work for celluloid 'violin' style friction tuners, to help keep them from slipping out of their holes.

edit to add: A little Googling to answer my own question comes up with violinists (who have this same problem) saying no, rosin on the pegs is bad, but peg paste is good, comes in a variety of products, such as this, which I may try:



fiddlershop.com/products/kivun...peg-paste






The only way to have a celluloid tuner work correctly is for the tapered peg to fit perfectly in the tapered hole in the neck. With 100 year old or older banjos with violin style tuners there are two specific obstacles. First is the celluloid tuners are misshapen from the celluloid offgasing for 100+ years. The second is the hole in the neck is likely misshapen too.



In my shop to properly fit a celluloid tuning peg  we first turn the tuner shaft in a metal lathe to take out the irregularities and match the taper of the reamers we have. The holes in the neck will likely need to be bushed, then holes redrilled and finally reamed to match the taper on the tuners. When done correctly, celluloid tuners work as well as any violin style peg.



I'll add that though wood pegs can be shaped nicely in a violin peg shaper, the blade will not shave a celluloid tuner. It just chews the shaft and ruins the peg.



To aid in their turning smoothly, we use Hill violin peg compound. on the peg surfaces that mate. Using peg compound without fitting the peg correctly is useless.



 



Bob Smakula 



smakula.com


Edited by - Bob Smakula on 10/01/2019 09:59:07

MacCruiskeen - Posted - 10/01/2019:  11:51:54


quote:

Originally posted by Bob Smakula

 


To aid in their turning smoothly, we use Hill violin peg compound. on the peg surfaces that mate. Using peg compound without fitting the peg correctly is useless.



 






Since I bought the banjo from you, can I assume that this was done? And that you recommend the Hill product?

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 10/01/2019:  13:37:34


quote:

Originally posted by Bob Smakula

quote:

Originally posted by MacCruiskeen


I wonder of that would work for celluloid 'violin' style friction tuners, to help keep them from slipping out of their holes.

edit to add: A little Googling to answer my own question comes up with violinists (who have this same problem) saying no, rosin on the pegs is bad, but peg paste is good, comes in a variety of products, such as this, which I may try:



fiddlershop.com/products/kivun...peg-paste






The only way to have a celluloid tuner work correctly is for the tapered peg to fit perfectly in the tapered hole in the neck. With 100 year old or older banjos with violin style tuners there are two specific obstacles. First is the celluloid tuners are misshapen from the celluloid offgasing for 100+ years. The second is the hole in the neck is likely misshapen too.



In my shop to properly fit a celluloid tuning peg  we first turn the tuner shaft in a metal lathe to take out the irregularities and match the taper of the reamers we have. The holes in the neck will likely need to be bushed, then holes redrilled and finally reamed to match the taper on the tuners. When done correctly, celluloid tuners work as well as any violin style peg.



I'll add that though wood pegs can be shaped nicely in a violin peg shaper, the blade will not shave a celluloid tuner. It just chews the shaft and ruins the peg.



To aid in their turning smoothly, we use Hill violin peg compound. on the peg surfaces that mate. Using peg compound without fitting the peg correctly is useless.



 



Bob Smakula 



smakula.com






That, as usual, is excellent advice.



Particularly important is the part about not being able to shave a celluloid peg, but needing to turn them on a lathe. I wonder how many celluloid pegs have been ruined because someone attempted to use a peg shaper on them. 



 

Bob Smakula - Posted - 10/01/2019:  14:05:35







That, as usual, is excellent advice.



Particularly important is the part about not being able to shave a celluloid peg, but needing to turn them on a lathe. I wonder how many celluloid pegs have been ruined because someone attempted to use a peg shaper on them. 



 






I can think of at least one that was ruined in the Smakula shop. wink



 



Bob Smakula

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 10/01/2019:  17:06:31


Bob, although I've never worked on celluloid pegs, I will admit to accidentally setting fire to a few old celluloid piano keys, and I've had to toss one or two wooden violin pegs due to my own ineptitude.

Tiderius - Posted - 10/01/2019:  17:12:47


quote:

Originally posted by rudy

The main thing that keeps 4:1 ratio planetary tuners from backspinning is the friction clutch that is built into the design.



The friction clutch is comprised of the gear housing, usually an intermediate washer made from fiber or leather (occasionally nylon), the base of the tuner button, and the screw which retains the button.  Disassemble, make sure the mating surfaces are clean and de-greased, and reassemble.  Tighten the button screw as necessary to prevent the tuner from back spinning from string tension.



As stated above, sometimes the inexpensive pac rim tuners do go south on their own.






Thanks for the suggestions. They're 5 Star Planetary tuners. I have a banjo being unplayed with some practically new tuners I could swap out but they're definitely cheaper ones so that didn't seem like a good option.  I didn't notice any fiber or leather washers.  When you suggest to disassemble, do you mean take the whole thing off the banjo, inspect and clean the parts?  It's worth giving a try before shelling out 100+ for a new set.

mbanza - Posted - 10/01/2019:  17:20:51


Tiderius, it is possible that the screws of the two problem tuners have bottomed out and just won't tighten any more. You can see if this is the case by removing the screw and knob, replace the screw without the knob and turn it in as far as possible, then compare the distance under the screw head to the height of the knob.

rudy - Posted - 10/01/2019:  20:12:22


quote:

Originally posted by Tiderius

quote:

Originally posted by rudy

The main thing that keeps 4:1 ratio planetary tuners from backspinning is the friction clutch that is built into the design.



The friction clutch is comprised of the gear housing, usually an intermediate washer made from fiber or leather (occasionally nylon), the base of the tuner button, and the screw which retains the button.  Disassemble, make sure the mating surfaces are clean and de-greased, and reassemble.  Tighten the button screw as necessary to prevent the tuner from back spinning from string tension.



As stated above, sometimes the inexpensive pac rim tuners do go south on their own.






Thanks for the suggestions. They're 5 Star Planetary tuners. I have a banjo being unplayed with some practically new tuners I could swap out but they're definitely cheaper ones so that didn't seem like a good option.  I didn't notice any fiber or leather washers.  When you suggest to disassemble, do you mean take the whole thing off the banjo, inspect and clean the parts?  It's worth giving a try before shelling out 100+ for a new set.






Nope.  Just pull the button and look carefully between the bottom flange of the button and the tuner housing.



It's also a good idea to make sure the screw isn't bottoming out before the button makes contact with the housing, as Verne stated above.  If there doesn't happen to be a washer of any kind I'd suggest you add one.  This would also take care of the screw being "too long" to allow the button to snug against the housing, preferably with a fiber or leather washer to serve as the friction clutch for the tuner.



If you reason out how this serves as a friction clutch you'll most likely then be able to add a spacer washer and increase the friction so the string post won't back spin from string force.  As I stated, 4:1 planetary tuners are prone to this.  Note that if you understand this and assemble your button to the countershaft properly it does NOT take much tension on the screw to prevent back rotation.  If you have to tighten it excessively STOP and figure out what's wrong before stripping the screw threads or breaking the screw off.


Edited by - rudy on 10/01/2019 20:19:20

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