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Tuning Pegs

The devices by which stringed instruments are tuned. There are 4 main kinds:

  • Friction
  • Geared
  • Planetary
  • Pins

Friction pegs are tapered and fit into a round hole. It is the tightness of fit that keeps them in. This type of tuning peg is common on the violin family and some other early instruments. It is direct ( a 1:1 ratio ). A second type of friction peg is mechanical - it is cylindrical with a nut which can be turned to apply pressure to stop the tuner slipping.

Geared tuners are seen on guitar and mandolin type instruments and often come in strips of 3 or 4 tuners. A peg with a worm drive turns a gear wheel which is attached to a post with a hole in it through which the string passes. The advantage of gearing is to make a small difference in tuning for a large motion at the tuning peg. These are often geared as high as 15:1.

Planetary tuners are geared but enclosed and they normally are single. Often used in banjos. They are most often geared at 4:1 (four turns of the peg for one turn of the post)

Pins are small posts through which the string passes and need a key to turn them. Pins are found on pianos, dulcimers and similar multi-stringed instruments. The pins are essentially friction devices.