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Turtle A Music Thread...fiddle pegs. (33) RE: A Music Thread...fiddle pegs. 02 Aug 00

You might be looking for something called "Caspari pegs", which are what I have on my fiddle. Carl Becker & Son, a respected Midwestern violin maker (original shop in Chicago; second shop run by Carl Sr's granddaughter Jennifer in Minneapolis) made a number of violins with Caspari pegs back in the 70s (I think; could have the decade wrong). So, of course, did other makers, but I know Becker had specific reasons for liking Caspari pegs and putting them on their instruments. You could talk to them about the pros and cons and how hard it is to convert instruments from one to the other: Carl Becker & Son, 1313 SE 5th Street, Minneapolist ph. (612) 379-3843. Ask to talk to Jennifer. They are really great folks.

My fiddle came with Caspari pegs, and I was advised to have them replaced with friction pegs when I first started playing because the Caspari pegs make the head heavier. I didn't because it was about a third the value of the fiddle to have it done. (I have a relatively inexpensive German student fiddle that my dad bought for me in 1971, not a Becker, alas!) Now that I've played a little, I love my Caspari pegs and wouldn't change them out for friction pegs. My fiddle stays in tune much more consistently than any of my fiddle buddies' who have friction pegs. It's also easier to retune.

I have fine tuners on all four strings, too, though I was also told that they only really made sense with steel strings (and I don't have steel strings). I was told that gut/fake gut strings stretch too much for fine tuners to be useful. That hasn't been my experience. They make it much easier for me to tune my fiddle and keep it in tune throughout a session. Tuning has been challenging for me as a beginning player, and as I develop my ear, and I'm grateful for Caspari pegs & fine tuners that make it easier.


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