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Author Topic: Single fine tuner  (Read 2839 times)

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Offline Celtic Lass

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Single fine tuner
« on: Nov 28, 2007, 07:38:25 PM »
I know professional violinists only use 1 fine tuner on E string because fine tuners could damage the finish. Sorry for being naive, but how do the pros fine tune the other strings with out any fine tuners on them? ;(


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Offline FiddleMeThis

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #1 on: Nov 28, 2007, 07:49:26 PM »
A lot of trad players only use a fine tuner on the e-string too.

Usually, if you're using steel strings (like a lot of fiddlers), fine tuners on all strings help a lot. However, if you are using synthetic or gut strings (like a lot of violinists) fine tuners aren't as necessary.

Of course this is a generalization to which there are always exceptions.

Offline awildman2384

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #2 on: Nov 28, 2007, 08:01:25 PM »
how do the pros fine tune the other strings with out any fine tuners on them? ;(
with the pegs.  my teacher refers to this as "herding a cat." 

With nicely moving pegs, it's not a problem.  But it does take some getting-used-to.

Offline Don Stackhouse

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #3 on: Nov 28, 2007, 09:48:08 PM »
I know professional violinists only use 1 fine tuner on E string because fine tuners could damage the finish.

Well, not exactly. The mass and length of the tail piece influences the way it vibrates, and therefore the sound of the instrument. Adding the typical lever-style fine tuners significantly adds to both mass and length, which hurts the sound of the instrument in most cases. The Durhill type fine tuners keep the length more correct and are lighter, but still add some mass. With properly fitted pegs and synthetic or gut strings, fine tuners really aren't needed, with the possible exception of the E.

For fiddlers who typically use steel strings (they do a lot of retuning to alternate tunings, which is pretty hard on synthetic strings), they need all four fine tuners. The best option I've found for that case is the Wittner Ultralight Composite tailpiece. It's fiber-reinforced plastic (so it's strong enough, unlike some of the plastic tailpieces I've seen), weighs about the same as a wooden tailpiece, has four built-in fine tuners, and has the same length.

I recently put one of these on a Clifford Hardesty fiddle. It had been equipped with a wood tailpiece with four lever-style fine tuners, and had a serious sound problem (sounded "closed", like the sound was struggling to find its way out of the box). For you technical folks out there, a big part of it was that the B-zero and A-zero modes were badly mismatched, while the tailpiece frequency was almost exactly equal to A-zero. Switching to the Wittner tail piece was a significant part of the solution.

Offline Ron

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #4 on: Nov 28, 2007, 10:06:11 PM »
Another possible theory on this:
I know this is something of an overgeneralization, but I suspect also that traditional fiddlers tend to play open strings more than classical violinists do. My classically trained teacher almost never used an open string, except maybe on a very quick (1/8 note or less) passing note. She didn't like the mismatch in sound quality and absence of vibrato. Part of the traditional fiddle sound, though, seems to be the open strings, especially for double-stopped drones.

That means the trad fiddler actually has a need for more precise tuning than a classical violinist, since s(he) can't compensate for slight tuning errors of the open strings by finger placement.

Don't know how much validity there is to this, but it's a thought, anyway.

Ron

Offline Steve_W

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #5 on: Nov 29, 2007, 12:10:50 AM »
Ron, this is an interesting thought.  As a classical player turned fiddler I agree that I play much more on open strings than I did when I was playing classical, so rely more on my strings being in tune.  However I don't think that tuners give me more precise tuning; with synthetic strings I can tune accurately using pegs only.  Where I find a tailpiece with integrated tuners most useful is for making quick adjustments during a performance, when I can't stop and retune.  So yeah, the fine tuners are more important to me as a fiddler, but for a slightly different reason! -Steve

Offline Mnfele

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #6 on: Nov 29, 2007, 01:56:39 PM »
Sorry for being naive, but how do the pros fine tune the other strings with out any fine tuners on them? ;(

As already mentioned - Pegs!  But doesn't anyone else "push & pull"?  ??? Over generalization coming  :D  For a slight change I push on the string in the pegbox (to sharpen it ) or slightly pull the string above the finger board ( to flatten it).

Offline Emma

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #7 on: Nov 29, 2007, 02:57:41 PM »
lightly pull the string above the finger board ( to flatten it).

I do this.
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Offline Joe Gerardi

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #8 on: Nov 29, 2007, 03:10:28 PM »
I think it's just a question of mechanics. The thinner E is tougher to tune than the other strings, hence the fine tuner.

'Course, the easiest answer is the Perfection Pegs: No fine tuners at the tailpiece, and they all tune like they have fine tuners!

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Offline beeswing

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #9 on: Nov 29, 2007, 03:52:27 PM »
When I put those excellent planetary pegs on M's fiddle, I put one of the tiny single-tine tailpiece tuners on the E. I liked it that way, easier to get tiny fractions of change. She took it off. It's her fiddle...

Any solid-core steel string is touchy enough (not very stretchy) to benefit from a fine tuner at the tailpiece. A lot of violinists only use steel for the E, so only need one tuner. Some Russian violinists used steel E and A, with two tuners...
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Offline Steve_W

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #10 on: Nov 29, 2007, 11:14:00 PM »
Some Russian violinists used steel E and A, with two tuners...

I used to do that myself; my teacher advocated that back in the '60s/'70s.  It made sense in the days of wound gut strings; the synthetics are stable enough that you don't need to bother.

Offline Ron

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #11 on: Nov 30, 2007, 03:23:31 AM »
The first fiddle I ever had, back in 1956, had a steel A & E, a gut D, and a wound G (not sure of the core material of the G) Just one fine tuner, on the E. A bear to tune, 'cuz the pegs were sticky. But it sounded so bad, tuning didn't matter all that much. I especially hated the sound of that gut D - there was just no life in it :(

Ron

Offline corien

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Re: Single fine tuner
« Reply #12 on: Nov 30, 2007, 03:54:28 PM »
My violin has just one fine tuner for the E string. I tune the other strings with pegs, moving them with my left hand while bowing with my right hand until I can hear a 5th interval. If the pegs are shaped properly and fit well in their holes this is not such a hard task. Some peg compound (e.g. Hill's one or Hindersine paste) can dramatically help in getting a smoother rotation of the pegs. From my personal experience, I've learned that even if I want to tighten a string, it is better to first move its peg in the opposite direction in order to first lose it. Then, the fine-tightening process is easier.

 




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