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Are peg heads for dead heads?   You are logged in as Guest
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Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

Are peg heads for dead heads? 

Ok, now the serious question. Other than purely cosmetic, what are the differences between peg heads and standard machine heads?

I've heard that peg heads are likely to be more fiddly to tune and possibly less stable, for example.

Meanwhile, in another thread on guitars (which I posted in the wrong section -doh!), AndyB talks about a player that swears peg head guitars sound better than machine heads (and that he can hear the difference on the same model of guitar).

Thoughts?

Jon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 14:45:25
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Jon,
I don't know about it affecting the sound, but I'd be careful about getting a peghead without being able to try it out for a while first.
I personally have found pegs a bit of a pain to be honest, but I must admit they look great.
If you are not used to tuning with pegs I think it it's something that could add pressure to your nerves during live performances IMO.
I've known folk to eventually get their pegheads converted to machines.
Of course people who are used to pegs have no problem at all, but personally I prefer machines.

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 15:15:30
Guest

[Deleted] (in reply to Jon Boyes

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 15:46:22
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

I agree with Ron. I have a hard time believing a peg head will sound any different on the same guitar versus machines. You see very few professionals playing pegs any more. If it were a tone issue, I am sure you would see more.

I have owned two peg heads. One was a pain to tune, but my Shelton that I own now tunes like machines, only faster. I think the key to pegs is having a builder that knows how to fit them. Shelton has built hundreds of peg heads and he has it down cold. They tune so well you don’t even need to apply pressure on the neck to keep them from backing out. But, would I do it again? I have two guitars being built in the next few months (Aaron are you listening?) and they will both have machines.

There has been quite a lot of talk on another forum about the break angle of the peg head. Those that are purporting it would have you believe a sharp angle will miraculously increase the volume. The only reason a peg head needs a shaper angle (versus a machine head) is due to the pegs raising the point of attachment of the strings. With too shallow of an angle on a peg head, not enough break will occur on the nut. But the question is, will a sharper angle on a peg head increase volume? These same gurus that tell you this will put a capo on and extol the virtues of a sharp break angle. Give me a break! Now a sharper break angle on the saddle, that’s a whole different issue.

I have a Ramirez negra that has machines. The head stock angle on it is practically flat. I would think Ramirez would have it figured out. By the way, my Shelton does have a fairly sharp angle due to it being pegs.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 18:19:24
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3131
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Bowed instrument players have been getting along with pegs for centuries, so you would think guitars could do as well. It ain't necessarily so.

I have a '67 1a Ramirez flamenca (cedar/cypress) that I bought new. The pegs were some kind of wood with a fairly coarse grain structure. They rested on the Cuban cedar material of the tuning head. I used them for decades until about ten years ago when I started playing classical about half the time. Getting used to the machines on my Contreras double-top made me dissatisfied with the pegs on the Ramirez. I had Kenny Hill replace them with machines.

The problem with the pegs was that they could not be adjusted in as fine increments as the machines on my Contreras. The flamenca pegs would hold firmly at one spot, but as you tuned they would skip slightly to the next spot where they would hold.

When I bought the instrument, Jose Ramirez III recommended powdered rosin to be put on the pegs. I used this for quite a while. The pegs developed smooth spots, where they clearly made firmer contact with the tuning head. I had the holes and pegs reamed by an expert repairman. Things got better for a while, then they went back to the way they were. I tried a variety of other remedies which I will not bore you with.

Ebony or grenadilla pegs running in maple heads work great for bowed instruments. People have sworn that they have guitars with peg heads that work beautifully. Maybe so. But if you watched players like Sabicas and Escudero, who tuned very well, they almost always used a capo. They tuned approximately with the pegs, then made the final adjustment by pushing on the string between the nut and the peg to sharpen it, or by pulling on the string between the capo and the bridge to flatten it. They did this very quickly and accurately. Clearly the capo was on tight enough to keep the string from slipping over the fret.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 18:44:53
Guest

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 19:14:32
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

John Shelton recommends the use of Lava soap for a slipping peg and graphite from a pencil for a peg that’s too tight.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 20:25:11
 
tanolonco

 

Posts: 18
Joined: Jan. 16 2004
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Guest

I use pegs and the advantages I have found are: a. superfast string changes b. no metallic noises from the head c. weight is less than machines. The disadvantages I have found are: a. maybe not quite as easy in tuning as a machine b. gotta spend about 25 cents a year on average for peg dope. The upshot is that once you know how to use pegs, they are as easy as a machine. True, you cannot get classical guitar tuning perfection, but we flamencos do not need that level of tuning precision. Then there is THE LOOK. Pegs are way too cool looking which outweights any decision to put on some barbaric metal contraption in order to tune the strings.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2004 21:24:18
 
el ted

 

Posts: 466
Joined: Nov. 13 2003
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

I agree with most of the above. pegs are a pain to tune, but if i am playing in public i always use one of my two peghead guitars because machine heads look naff compared to pegs!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2004 11:01:25
Guest

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

If most people agree that pegs look better but are harder to tune, has anyone considered using banjo pegs? Perhaps they would be too heavy, but would preserve the head and tune like machines.

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2004 16:17:15
 
Merle

Posts: 218
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Jon, this is a topic that will be dicussed, over and over, and over, again!

PEGHEADS RULE!

It's fun to talk about how a peghead doesn't tune exactely, or that you must use all kinds of different crap (Lava Soap) ! ... (Pencil power) ... what else? Oh YEAH, the pegs on my 1921 whatever...are worn out! OUCH...

For classical guitar, recording, maybe you need machine tuners?

For me, PEGHEADS RULE!

Merle

P.s (it's my compas that sucks)!!

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2004 23:52:41
 
Patrick

Posts: 1189
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Portland, Oregon

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Merle,

Are you still high from Mardi Gras? You're wound up tighter then a two dollar clock. Now take slow deep breaths. Now isn't that much better?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 10 2004 0:39:56
 
Ted G

Posts: 56
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

I prefer pegs too. To me, I think it gives a more flamenco look to the guitar. And I agree with Tanolonco in that a good working set of pegs may not provide the same precision adjustment of a good working set of machine tuners, but I willingly accept that.

In regards to precision tuning, is anyone familiar with the pegs that are sold by Carlos Juan?

www.american-guitar-center.com/seiten/concerts.html

They're wood pegs, but are supposed to provide the fine tuning capability of machine tuners? If anyone is familiar with these pegs and/or has tried them, I would like to know if they really work.

Ted G
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2004 3:03:25
 
Ted G

Posts: 56
Joined: Jul. 19 2003
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Sorry, here's the correct link to the Carlos Juan pegs.

www.american-guitar-center.com/seiten/flamenco.html

Ted G
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2004 3:06:54
 
el ted

 

Posts: 466
Joined: Nov. 13 2003
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Wow!! see the price of those pegs! 150 euro's a set! I'd want a guitar for that money! They do look superb though. I will just have to spend my life ever so slightly out of tune instead.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2004 14:20:44
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Ted G

Very ingenious, fitting a reduction drive inside the peg.. I like it!
Guess it works on the epicyclic drive principle that you used to get in one-knob radio fine tuners.
150 Euros isn't bad when you consider the engineering involved and the limited market.

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2004 16:11:34
 
steenland

 

Posts: 36
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Guest

Sean:

There are pegs that are threaded that use a threaded plug.Probably preventds slippage.

Recuerdos,
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 13 2004 20:40:49
Guest

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to steenland

Hola

These pegs cost 150 euros.

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 4 2004 13:34:32
 
ernesto

 

Posts: 8
Joined: Feb. 25 2005
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

For a number of hot humid summers, I played seven-course lutes with wooden pegs for tuners (they also had "tied" nylon frets) at Shakespeare festivals.

That's fourteen peg heads.

I haven't played lute in years.

Machine heads rule.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 27 2005 19:20:31
 
flyeogh

Posts: 729
Joined: Oct. 13 2004
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Hi all, Now I have read all the above and it is really helpful. I can conclude that it boils down to cosmetics and not being a professional (dream on) and there being some nice looking matt machine heads around I think I'll leave the pegs alone.

Playing is hard enough without worrying about being in tune due to peg slippage and whether to use best bitter if they are tight or lava bread if they are loose (I think that was it??). On the E150s that might give you the best of both worlds I do wonder about the justification although I'm looking at a machine head at £38 for my VB (which is 1999 and the original m/c heads look terrible).

I note no comment from Anders. I wonder what he would recommend!!

Anyway thanks all because without your comments I would have gone for pegheads on my next one and possibly regretted it. Nigel
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2005 15:04:35
 
antonio

 

Posts: 70
Joined: Jan. 10 2005
From: Portugal

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Hi,
I don't know nothing about peg heads but it seems that there has been an improvements on this field also. Do you know www.pegheds.com . It seems they can provide a very fine tuning.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 10 2005 8:57:47
 
musicalgrant

Posts: 188
Joined: Oct. 21 2004
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Hi all

I play a peg head, and have used it in many performances, and have never had an issue with tuning it... As for using all these different things to aid tuning, some I have never heard of before...

I was told to use candle wax, (NOT BEESWAX) and only a little..and have never had any trouble with the pegs..

Coming from using machine heads that take forever and a day to put a new string on, peg heads rule...with just a few turns a new set of strings is on..


Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 10 2005 10:07:19
 
Thomas Whiteley

 

Posts: 786
Joined: Jul. 8 2003
From: San Francisco Bay Area

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

I have both Peg and Machine Head guitars. Here are a few points followed by a little story.

1. Peg heads were developed as an inexpensive way to tune a guitar. Gitano’s did not have much money and Peg’s were popular. That is a historic fact and in most cases is not true today.

2. I can change a set of strings on a Peg Head guitar in less than six minutes, which includes tuning the guitar. It takes about forty minutes for me to change strings with Machine Heads.

3. The Peg’s are easy to get into “close adjustment” and if you are in the field of battle (accompanying a dancer for instance) this could be important. Machine Heads I use allow a very accurate tuning.

4. Peg’s look “authentic” if that is what you want.

Mariano Cordoba was the guitarist for Antonio and the Spanish Ballet. They toured all over the world and entertained many people. Mariano saw my Manuel de la Chica with Peg Heads and told me this story.

Mariano was backstage and waiting to come on stage to provide accompaniment for the dancers. As he was standing behind the wing a dancer walked by and flicked the tail of her long dress towards Mariano. As this occurred Mariano was to begin to walk to his position to begin playing. The end of the dancers dress pulled all six pegs out of the headstock of the guitar. There he was with six pegs being attached by six dangling strings.

The next day Mariano went to a Luthier and expressed a few superlatives as to what he wanted. “Get this “shi* off of my guitar”!!! Mariano had Machine Heads installed and from that time on that was his standard and that was over 50 years ago.

Mariano insisted that I have my guitar converted from Peg’s to machine Heads. I took the instrument to a top Luthier in California and he told me that the conversion would ruin the value of the instrument. I decided to keep things as they were. So I remain happy with both types of tuners!

By the way in July of 1970 when I bought my de la Chica, I used a bit of Peg Dope on the Pegs and have not had the need to touch the Pegs since that occasion. My guitar tunes easily, accurately, smoothly and I like it.

_____________________________

Tom
http://home.comcast.net/~flamencoguitar/flamenco.html
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2005 1:28:04
Guest

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Ok I'll give my comments.

I'm an ex classical violinist and so acostumed to pegs and I think they are very beautifull and adds a touch of class to a flamenco guitar, especially on Blancas.

You cannot compare pegs on a bowed instrument to a guitar. You only use the pegs for tuning when you play gut strings, which are far mor flexible than nylons.

One of the main problems with respect of flamenco pegheads is that the peg runs in Cedar, which is way to soft, and wear out very fast. I use mapple bushings, for the pegs which helps a lot, and my pegs are quite easy to tune, but you cannot expect the same precission as on a high quality tuning machine, and especially when you are a bit stressed, like when playing with others or in public, you'll notice a difference.

The Pegs by Carlos Juan are NOT made in wood, but in a synthetic material.

I think that it's very rewarding to use pegs, I find that when the strings are set, and the guitar is tuned, it stays in tune better than one with machine heads. I notice a small difference in sound. A peghead is more 'puro y duro' the less weight in the head gives less sustain. I would never perform in group with a peghead though.

Nice tuning
Anders

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2005 7:26:46
 
miguel

 

Posts: 56
Joined: Apr. 20 2004
 

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

I have Pegs(on a blanca) and i like them better, the feel and sight of them.
Although they have occasionally flown off and i cant imagine what i would do if that happened will performing.

regards
Miguel

_____________________________

<<No hay música más rica ni más viva en todo europa>> ---Manuel de Falla---
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 12 2005 10:36:21
 
Ramón

Posts: 440
Joined: Feb. 23 2005
From: La Jolla, Ca

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

http://www.pegheds.com/

I've used these on 2 flamencos and they rock. Chuck uses the 'button' from your ebony set that you send to him (until molding is finished, they use the wood head from your pegs), and they come back in about 2 weeks, AND THEY WORK GREAT.

About $120 a set, plus your pegs, look real, work perfect, classical guitar precision, etc.

Ramon
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 16 2005 0:26:05
Guest

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Hola Ramón

I've been lurking around this website for a while. Looks very interesting, and it's very nice to have some direct info from a player.

Could you please explain to me what you mean by "button" ?

Thanks
Anders

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2005 7:58:40
Guest

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Guest

Anders

The button is simply the head of the peg, which allow you to grip. I cannot understand why people want easy solution pegs when real pegs work OK. I have a 1978 Mario Melero with original rosewood pegs and with a little cariño, they work very well.

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2005 14:01:12
Guest

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Jon Boyes

Hi Sean

I agree that well made pegs work very well and I play a pegsy myself. But... I'm a builder and clients want things like tuning machines and pegs to be in a certain way, so I need to be informed. Besides... Maybe these pegs work like maravilla, so I would not mind trying them.

At least the button is of wood and not some carbon/nylon thing.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2005 14:49:08
Guest

RE: Are peg heads for dead heads? (in reply to Guest

quote:

At least the button is of wood and not some carbon/nylon thing.


Anders

When I read that I had to laugh: all guitarreros are the same, enamoured of wood. Many years ago I asked George Lowden what he thought of the Veleto electric guitars which used an aluminium T piece with wooden wings for a neck: his face was a picture: he didn't even have to reply

Sean
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 17 2005 20:22:08
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