Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Stephen Faulk
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Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:37 am

Bring on the jokes! I know funny way of wording it.

I am interested in view points on why or why not players would consider classical guitars with regular wood friction pegs.

Curious? Fears? Style? Balance? Difficulties? Advantages? Period performance?
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Michael.N.
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:08 am

More than 95% (educated guess) reject them. Apart from obvious flamenco guitars how many modern classical guitars have you seen with wooden friction pegs? I think the answer is: virtually none. That 95% figure might fall to under 75% when referring to romantic guitars.
Geared pegheds are far more popular on new instruments. You have a decent chance with those even on modern classicals.
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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:16 am

That was not my question, I really want to know specifically why players are not interested. What are the reasons in the players own words why they do or do not like the idea of guitars with pegs.

I'm aware that almost all classical players want mechanical tuners, but I wonder how many have ever actually given pegs a fair chance or see that for any reason they might be attractive.

I have also known a few very good classical players that can pick up a wood peg flamenco guitar and not have any trouble tuning it an playing Bach. I'm trying to establish things like are the fears of using peg guitars really that rational? Or is there are opinions like "Oh I think it's cool looking, but not practical for me for these reasons......"

I'm trying to get specifics from players. And also to see if there are a great number of players that have never tried pegs.

e
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Michael.N.
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:38 am

From the few that I've had feedback from it tends to be fear of not having 'fine tuning' (whether rational or not). Also the notion that they are difficult to turn, which is true if the peg sticks or doesn't fit the hole well. I get the feeling that they like the security of a hi tech geared peg or geared tuner. To put it into some perspective my last four romantic guitars have geared pegheds at the request of customers. That says a lot.
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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:17 am

There are pegs on my Panormo and Batov baroque guitar. It may well be that a modern take on pegs would make it easier to use them or not (I don't know whether there is such a thing, whether the old manner of applying 'peg technology' was as good as it gets, or whether the Batov is strictly old style in this regard).
Certainly, they are harder to use, even when newly applied peg paste is present (its a kind of lubricating-holding material, don't ask me how it does that!) and after a while peg paste needs re-applying, whereas tuners need a dash of oil every few years.
Really fine tuning, in the manner of a good set of machines is nearly impossible, and the amount of time it takes to achieve overall near-as-it-gets perfection can be really off putting.
I have the feeling the balance is lighter with pegs, since they are of course less heavy, the neck feels freer, but I might say that is not a good thing, as there is something reassuring about having a neck that doesn't jump about - this effect is slight, but at the margins, small effects become material.
If I was commissioning a new Panormo or similar, it would have machines.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:49 am

Stephen Kenyon wrote:There are pegs on my Panormo and Batov baroque guitar ...If I was commissioning a new Panormo or similar, it would have machines.
I am in exactly the same position as Stephen and confirm that everything he says about pegs and the problems with tuning is true - however - I positively enjoy the lighter feel of 19th century instruments and baroque guitar as I feel that it informs both my technique and my attitude towards the compositions - but perhaps it's just a trick of the mind?

So - to be argumentative about it - if I was commissioning a copy I'd stick with pegs for aesthetic, interpretational and technical reasons.

In addition it should be noted that one does become more accustomed to the adjustmentl of pegs with consistent use - it definitely gets easier with lots of experience.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:46 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:49 am
.... I positively enjoy the lighter feel of 19th century instruments and baroque guitar as I feel that it informs both my technique and my attitude towards the compositions - but perhaps it's just a trick of the mind?
....
Playing real or copied early instruments really does feel so different it makes one play the music differently (though I'm sure that applied to some of the early playing-lute-like-a-guitar exponents). I'd say everything is a trick of the mind in the end!
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by vesa » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:34 pm

Tuning with machine heads is easier, faster and you only need your
left hand to do it while you can remain in your normal playing posture.

1. On daily basis: I play cg 4-6 hours every day and I hate a guitar
that is out tune and the sound of old strings. So I change the strings every 2-3 weeks and this means a lot of tuning the most of days.
Tuning process is for me a totally mechanical part of playing that just has to be done but done perfect and as fast as possible.

2. In concerts: When I perform I use strings only 2-3 days old with the risk that tuning goes down while playing. So sometimes I have to tune it while playing and this has to be done without disturbing the audience (you have to keep the beat). In larger works you change the tuning quite often between the movements and the length of the pause between the movements should be defined by the timing music needs and not by guitarist ability to tune his instrument or the machine heads. Sometimes you need to even change the tuning in the middle of the piece e.g. 1 1/2 turns up from D to E during a 1/8 pause - no way with a wooden peg.

Interesting question. What´s the gain? Would the sound be more interesting with wood pegs?
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:59 pm

vesa wrote:Interesting question. What´s the gain? Would the sound be more interesting with wood pegs?
Stephen pointed out the different feel of playing on peg-tuned instrument - for me that's a positive.

As to sound - the tone of the instrument is dependent on so many inter-related factors that it would be difficult to define exactly how much a peg box was responsible. I suspect though that the overall lighter weight of the neck does indeed affect response/speaking time which impacts on the technical aspects which have been alluded to.

I must say that my ear is now probably not fine enough to detect a great difference on the same instrument played with pegs and then machines (if that were possible).

One thing though - and again as Stephen says - returning to a modern guitar following some time with a period instrument affords the possibility of carrying some alternative sesibilities along with us.

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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by guitarrista » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:35 pm

Stephen Faulk wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:37 am

Hmm, generally near the water is a good place.. :lol:

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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by printer2 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:46 pm

I want to make a small lightweight instrument with pegs. I don't see it as either-or, I plan to have enough guitars that I'd pick the one suited for the job.
Fred

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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:56 am

guitarrista wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:35 pm
Stephen Faulk wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:37 am

Hmm, generally near the water is a good place.. :lol:


1.jpg
*snort*
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Stephen Faulk
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Stephen Faulk » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:03 am

vesa wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:34 pm
Tuning with machine heads is easier, faster and you only need your
left hand to do it while you can remain in your normal playing posture.

2. In concerts: When I perform I use strings only 2-3 days old with the risk that tuning goes down while playing. So sometimes I have to tune it while playing and this has to be done without disturbing the audience (you have to keep the beat). In larger works you change the tuning quite often between the movements and the length of the pause between the movements should be defined by the timing music needs and not by guitarist ability to tune his instrument or the machine heads. Sometimes you need to even change the tuning in the middle of the piece e.g. 1 1/2 turns up from D to E during a 1/8 pause - no way with a wooden peg.

Interesting question. What´s the gain? Would the sound be more interesting with wood pegs?
Yes I know this technique of touching up the tuning while playing. Probably not going to work with pegs.

The only thing I could say about pegs would be anecdotal in terms of sound. I don't want to go that road. But I would liken it to writing and choosing certain papers and the difference between a fountain pen and a ball point pen or a wide marker. Each writing instrument puts you into a different expressive mood. Fountain pens have a certain flow, ball point pens have a certain utility. Just different.

What about the idea that the main guitar is a guitar with mechanical tuners and a peg head guitar supplements or rounds out the work and repertoire? Or has audience appeal? "Oh wow look the guitarist took a break and now brought a beautiful old style guitar up on stage..."

My first real guitar had pegs and I became used to it fairly quick. After that I've had both pegs and machine guitars. I've made a few guitars for myself, all I eventually had to sell. But one had pegs. And this is curious, in the past year and a half I've had three customers say that after the fact of having either machines or mechanical pegs that they would have had me use wood pegs if they had it to do again. Personally I like pegs better and next time I make myself a guitar it will be pegs.

I've been wondering if there is a small demand for classical guitars with pegs. Enough to build one on speculation.
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Philipp Lerche
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Philipp Lerche » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:39 am

I asked exactly the thing but reversed and about different instruments: why not using mechanical tuners

Generally I am happy that the CG-crowd came over those wooden pegs.

Take a look at bow instrument players that are hugely split into two fractions.
One is taking the traditional approach on pegs and the other is focused on modern development and is using fine tuners etc.

In the lute and oud section it is even corrupted to use machine heads. They feel its kind of off-the-wall.
I'm building ouds/lutes from time to time with machine heads and the guys always say:
Hey it would be a fantastic intrument, with traditional wooden tuners. :D
Someone even asked how I dare using machine heads on an oud.

For me it is simply people sticking with traditions and nothing about better sonic charcteristics.
Disregarding the aweful process of tuning itself. (with wooden pegs)
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Michael.N.
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Re: Where do classical players stand on real wood pegs?

Post by Michael.N. » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:12 am

A set of wooden friction pegs weigh around 25 grams. A set of Pegheds come in at around 45 g, A set of mechanical tuners around 120 g.
Personally I would never make a modern classical with friction pegs, at least not one to be sold 'off the shelf'. It's not that no one in the entire world would ever buy it but you really are limiting your market. That's just the reality. Guitars are hard enough to sell without imposing further obstacles. A better idea might be to go with the friction pegs but offer Pegheds as an option. Converting one to the other is a 20 minute job. Same guitar, a touch more expensive, weighs all of 20 grams more.
As for tuning with friction pegs. There's a technique to it but it also relies on a good ear. It's not difficult once you learn although it's true to say that you can't tune in the middle of a piece, at least not without stopping. As for violinists, the vast majority of classical violinists do not use fine tuners (apart from the E string). In fact it's very rare. Believe me, it's much harder to tune a violin than a guitar.
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