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danyjr

 

Posts: 7
Joined: Aug. 23 2021
 

Friction pegs vs Geared tuners 

Lately I've been discussing the use of friction pegs on flamenco guitars with a few friends. A friend of mine is of the opinion that friction pegs are used in order to make the instrument lighter. While it is true that a friction peg assembly is indeed lighter, I contest a 100g (on average) saving on weight to be the sole reason friction pegs are used on some flamenco guitars.

Looking back at the history of flamenco, many of the old guitars played by the gitano maestros were cheaply made instruments because our Romani brethren didn't live in prosperous circumstances. Locally sourced cypress back and sides were used instead of the expensively imported Rosewood. Furthermore, cheaper friction pegs were used instead of expensive and sophisticated geared tuners. I believe the cost, ease of procurement and construction are the primary reasons friction pegs were historically used for these guitars.

For those who want the traditional look and feel of the instrument, guitars made with friction pegs (or geared pegs e.g. Wittner) are still in production by a handful of luthiers. Saving on weight, in my opinion, is just a welcome by-product which arguably won't make a huge difference in comfort or balance of the instrument.

Peace out
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2023 11:30:33
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14984
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to danyjr

Some folks hear about how the poor gitanos had no guitar or cheap guitars etc., and this was the life of flamenco artists until late in the game. For some folks that never read the report of Estebañez Calderon, observed in Triana in 1838 (published 1847), about El Planeta and his vihuela. After describing his outfit (a rich guy’s bullfighter costume), he describes the instrument he was carrying (my translation)

“This personage, as revealed by his dress full of majesty, and the certain deference that everyone around him paid, carried under his arm, in a purposeful and unencumbered manner, an expensive vihuela. It was unnecessary to hear it played in order to realize it had come from Malaga, an authentic construction from the exquisite and intelligent hands of the ancient artisan Martinez. Such a guitar was wide at the base, marvelously outlined in the cut, the neck calling back with graceful elegance, ebony bridge, frets, the pegs with eyelets were made of Blackwood, the headstock with ivory, white and red decorative filaments. The instrument was orchestral, in that it had 6 courses, and the finest sonorous silver strings. It was like the “master organ” of this “cathedral”, or the Druidic harp of this conclave, and functioned as a choir master who was to guide and give intonation to all the instruments summoned there. [other guitars and bandurrias etc,]. As the stairway to the garden gate descended, the man with the vihuela (taking it out from under his arm and holding it in his right hand), said to the one who followed him closest, in a professional and prescriptive voice, these words: ‘I tell you El Fillo, that rough scratchy sounding voice is crude and not acceptable. And as for style, it is neither refined, nor earthy. So, I beg you, please (giving his voice more authority, like a leader of the brotherhood) that you do not walk through its waters, and stick to the ancient pattern, and do not stray from the sacramental rite of the beaten path’. El Fillo responded ‘I was already working on that Mr. Planeta’. “

The observations of this event ring strangely familiar to me, in the sense that flamenco as the artistic genre we know today, is much older than thought, and the idea of this elite group being a bunch of poor street beggars creating music from poverty seems to be a romantic myth. Expensive peghead with ivory buttons was normal and likely traditional, just like the vocal technique and music itself. My interpretation of course.

For the record, there is quite a bit more than “a handful” of luthiers that make or offer peg head flamenco guitars.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2023 13:39:43
 
Morante

 

Posts: 2211
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Expensive peghead with ivory buttons was normal and likely traditional, just like the vocal technique and music itself. My interpretation of course.


I have owned several pegheads and it is my great sorrow that my Gerundino has machines. Pegs are easy to use and to maintain and mucho más bonitos. Geared pegs are an anormalidad for people with little taste and respect for the art of the luthiers.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2023 16:20:56
 
estebanana

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to danyjr

100 grams is a lot of weight, some guitars will go off balance if a 100 grams is added to the headstock.

When I go fishing for tai and grouper on the boat our lures are between 60 and 120 grams depending on the depth and current. If you want go deep and fish in the 50 meter depth the rule of thumb is choose a lure weight by going one gram per meter and add a little bit. 70 grams is a really good lure weight.

Wood pegs weigh about 80 grams per set of 6, but wood floats so pegs can’t be used as lures even if you put hooks on them. You could use them as bass floating surface lures, but not deep slow jigging lures.

Therefore, pegs belong on guitars.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 3 2023 23:10:56
 
ernandez R

Posts: 758
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to estebanana

My pegs don’t float, does that mean they are not bewitched?

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 4 2023 2:54:32
 
ernandez R

Posts: 758
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to danyjr

Don’t think I have it in me to discuss fully why I think pegs are better, they just look right to me. I feel the bits of machine tuners eat up sound.

I make pegs out of alternate materials and they are butter smooth.

I cheat and angle them about 4 deg so if they tent to loosen they automatically self tighten. ( mostly sure SF mentioned this a few years ago on the Foro that shall not be nameD…)

Think Dog I don’t have perfect pitch and I don’t have tuner-nervosa… schist the other night the Boss says to me, one of your strings is out of tune!, as I was playing her little Torres-ish parlor. Tough crowd.

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 4 2023 3:02:08
 
orsonw

Posts: 1958
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to ernandez R

quote:

Don’t think I have it in me to discuss fully why I think pegs are better, they just look right to me.


Pegs do look great to me too. Also something important about the physicality and haptic connection with the object of desire!
I find when pegs are running well they are more satisfying to use than machines. And in some ways easier, something about the directness of no gearing makes it more precise.
But I do also like good machines.

I can understand why people don't like pegs, if they're not used to them or the pegs are not running well, then they are a struggle to use.

It does always seem a bit sad when an old peghead gets converted. Maybe some pegs reach a stage when it's not possible to refurbish them and make them run again? Or maybe the head holes can always be reset or bushed and a new set of pegs used?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 4 2023 9:42:17
 
estebanana

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to ernandez R

quote:

ORIGINAL: ernandez R

Don’t think I have it in me to discuss fully why I think pegs are better, they just look right to me. I feel the bits of machine tuners eat up sound.

I make pegs out of alternate materials and they are butter smooth.

I cheat and angle them about 4 deg so if they tent to loosen they automatically self tighten. ( mostly sure SF mentioned this a few years ago on the Foro that shall not be nameD…)

Think Dog I don’t have perfect pitch and I don’t have tuner-nervosa… schist the other night the Boss says to me, one of your strings is out of tune!, as I was playing her little Torres-ish parlor. Tough crowd.

HR



I was crucified by those bastards re: the peg tutorial. They are so stupid on a number of counts. And you know being crucified doesn’t help cure your Jesus complex.

I literally revived private messages telling me how worm gears work and that we shouldn’t promote obsolete technologies. Other insults too. Sometimes I think the classical guitar world has self inflicted learning disabilities, or something ruder I won’t say.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 4 2023 11:16:33
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14984
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Sometimes I think the classical guitar world has self inflicted learning disabilities, or something ruder I won’t say.


Well at least they don’t have to use a low action in order to play a scale, or exercise their extensor muscles with noisy bar-room strumming (rasgwado) to achieve speed for flashy trickster playing, with horrible gluey nail “tone” if we must call it that. Then again, this is all excused because we have da-ha-ncers to deal with, so, who could be concerned with tone?



_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 4 2023 12:12:24
 
estebanana

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to danyjr

Precisely

There’s a video out there of Paco Peña with John Williams wherein Paco and JW discuss how to play ‘Sevilla’ and they get it all crossed up with Sevillanas..

My inclination is to say you can’t do justice to a great deal of the Spanish repertoire without a grounding in flamenco technique.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 4 2023 16:17:24
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1140
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to danyjr

Wasn't it Segovia who said that "Bream plays Spanish music with an English accent"?
I agree you need both a grounding flamenco technique and a tempos also.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2023 11:57:26
 
Brendan

Posts: 358
Joined: Oct. 30 2010
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to estebanana

18’ in

“You gotta play it more rhythmical… It’s the old sevillyarnas”

https://youtu.be/v4R82HxBLKo

_____________________________

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2023 17:27:40
 
ernandez R

Posts: 758
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to danyjr

Waylaid by some projects at the Boss’ establishment but I’ve been widdling away at this girl for a few hours a day here and there. Can’t recall if ide posted these fotos on the Foro? Anyway, pegs are just roughed shaped for now. I do the tapered shank first cause if I jack one I’ve not invested too much time and energy as it’s the most challenging part.


HR





Images are resized automatically to a maximum width of 800px

Attachment (2)

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2023 20:19:07
 
estebanana

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to Brendan

quote:

ORIGINAL: Brendan

18’ in

“You gotta play it more rhythmical… It’s the old sevillyarnas”

https://youtu.be/v4R82HxBLKo



That documentary starts like a show called The Great British Bake Off, but judged by Monty Python

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https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2023 21:17:51
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3625
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to Morante

quote:

Geared pegs are an anormalidad for people with little taste and respect for the art of the luthiers.


How do you come by this opinion?

I had a guitar made for me with wooden pegs, after only ever having guitars with machine heads previously. Tuning with pegs needed 2 hands, and I needed a third hand to hold the tuning fork. I would tune the string to pitch, but when I pushed the peg in so it wouldn't slip it would make the string go sharp. I tried, but after a year I decided that I wanted to give up on the pegs. I was going to go for machine heads, but I felt that it was a shame to completely change the look of the headstock and that once converted there was no going back.

The option of geared pegs seems like a happy compromise. Less work to convert, just have the holes re-reamed and the (Wittner) geared pegs put in. And if I wanted to, or another owner wanted to (I have no intention of selling though!), it would be easy to go back to wooden pegs.

Also (and this is the most significant thing for me, more than the aesthetics), although roughly twice the weight of wooden pegs, the Wittner geared pegs weigh about HALF as much as machine heads.

I liked them so much I have had 2 more guitars made with the Wittner pegs fitted.

As for respect for the luthiers art, how do these geared pegs disrespect the luthiers art compared to machine heads?

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2023 23:48:06
 
Fawkes

 

Posts: 104
Joined: Feb. 11 2015
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

As for respect for the luthiers art, how do these geared pegs disrespect the luthiers art compared to machine heads?


I presume that would be by implying that luthiers aren't competent enough to fit wooden pegs such that they function well, like properly fitted pegs on bowed string instruments do.

I've got Wittners on my current guitar. Next guitar will be wooden pegs.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 5 2023 23:59:25
 
estebanana

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

quote:

Geared pegs are an anormalidad for people with little taste and respect for the art of the luthiers.


How do you come by this opinion?

I had a guitar made for me with wooden pegs, after only ever having guitars with machine heads previously. Tuning with pegs needed 2 hands, and I needed a third hand to hold the tuning fork. I would tune the string to pitch, but when I pushed the peg in so it wouldn't slip it would make the string go sharp. I tried, but after a year I decided that I wanted to give up on the pegs. I was going to go for machine heads, but I felt that it was a shame to completely change the look of the headstock and that once converted there was no going back.

The option of geared pegs seems like a happy compromise. Less work to convert, just have the holes re-reamed and the (Wittner) geared pegs put in. And if I wanted to, or another owner wanted to (I have no intention of selling though!), it would be easy to go back to wooden pegs.

Also (and this is the most significant thing for me, more than the aesthetics), although roughly twice the weight of wooden pegs, the Wittner geared pegs weigh about HALF as much as machine heads.

I liked them so much I have had 2 more guitars made with the Wittner pegs fitted.

As for respect for the luthiers art, how do these geared pegs disrespect the luthiers art compared to machine heads?



I can’t find fault in your reasoning. I happily install the geared pegs and while I use traditional wood pegs on my personal guitars ( when I have one 😂) I understand why different guitarists choose between geared machines, geared pegs and pegs.
Having three guitars built for you also expresses confidence in the business of making guitars.

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https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2023 1:35:12
 
estebanana

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to Fawkes

quote:

ORIGINAL: Fawkes

quote:

As for respect for the luthiers art, how do these geared pegs disrespect the luthiers art compared to machine heads?


I presume that would be by implying that luthiers aren't competent enough to fit wooden pegs such that they function well, like properly fitted pegs on bowed string instruments do.

I've got Wittners on my current guitar. Next guitar will be wooden pegs.



This isn’t it, what it is is that Morante has lived in Cadiz for so long he’s crustier than a cheese stored under fishwives house in Denmark.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2023 1:39:06
 
Morante

 

Posts: 2211
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to estebanana

quote:

This isn’t it, what it is is that Morante has lived in Cadiz for so long he’s crustier than a cheese stored under fishwives house in Denmark.


¡Olé! Hermano. You are tanto cabrón que yo, por eso nos entendemos

Just had lunch listening to Aretha Franklin. Couldn´t stand the sacarina, so took it of and listened to Etta James. Etta has garra, just like Agujetas. To understand music you have to listen to it.

Suerte

Morante
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 6 2023 16:13:30
 
estebanana

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to Morante

quote:

ORIGINAL: Morante

quote:

This isn’t it, what it is is that Morante has lived in Cadiz for so long he’s crustier than a cheese stored under fishwives house in Denmark.


¡Olé! Hermano. You are tanto cabrón que yo, por eso nos entendemos

Just had lunch listening to Aretha Franklin. Couldn´t stand the sacarina, so took it of and listened to Etta James. Etta has garra, just like Agujetas. To understand music you have to listen to it.

Suerte

Morante

I understand what you mean, although Aretha is beyond reproach in a cultural sense, I prefer James too.

It’s like a friend of mine related to me Fernanda talking about Mairena:

“What do you like about AM?”
“He’s great, but you can understand his castellano too much.”

Aretha is a powerhouse, and Etta is like the beautiful distortion in Coltrane’s tone. You can’t really explain it.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 7 2023 15:19:29
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3625
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: Friction pegs vs Geared tuners (in reply to Fawkes

quote:

I presume that would be by implying that luthiers aren't competent enough to fit wooden pegs such that they function well, like properly fitted pegs on bowed string instruments do.


I don't see geared pegs as an alternative to wooden pegs, I see them as an alternative to machine heads, compared to which they are much lighter, which is why I chose them for the second and third guitars (all 3 made by Stephen Eden, whose luthier art I have great respect and admiration for!)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 8 2023 10:55:54
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