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Author: Subject: Wittner fine tune pegs and bone bridge + nut
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info.gif posted on 11-10-2020 at 04:22 AM
Wittner fine tune pegs and bone bridge + nut


I recently installed Wittner fine tune pegs on my floating bridge oud (58,5 string lenght), but it worked only moderately good. My oud had then the original nut of wood (lemon wood?) and also the bridge was of wood (oak I think). There were cracking noises when the peg stretched the strings (I use Aquila Nulongut strings) and the tone jumped a bit up and down - from nothing to a bit too much.

Therefore, I changed the nut and the bridge to bone (the nut in bone and the bridge in ebenholz wood with bone touching the strings). It works perfect now. No cracking noises and a grading tuning. And it takes about 30 seconds maximum to tune the oud (I use a combination of ear and tuner).

Has anyone else experienced this? Do the wittner pegs require bone to work? Is it the same with bridges attached to the soundboard?

This is my first post in this forum. I thought taking the step from just reader into actually contributing. Thanks for all nice previous posts!

Kind regards,
Viktor, an oud fan in Sweden
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[*] posted on 11-10-2020 at 07:03 AM

Hi Viktor,
Warm welcome to the forum! You have already contributed greatly with sharing your experience with the wittners with us, which is great!
I have thought myself of putting on something similar one day, so I appreciate the feedback.

My thought regarding the 'cracking noise' is that perhaps the material the wittner pegs are made of, have more 'echo' if you know what i mean. I wonder what the actual material is composed of? Putting the nut and bridge to bone would perhaps reduce this 'cracking echo' from travelling down the strings to be amplified ultimately by the soundboard.
This is just a thought.
Someone else may be able to suggest another possible reason.
I am glad to know that bone can help solve the issue. My one oud is already bone thankfully, but the other would need the nut changed, which i plan to do regardless next time it is in to the luthier.

ps: I know luthier John Vergara uses fine tune pegs on his ouds, but i don't believe they are wittners. I wonder if he has experienced this, or naother luthier who has put these for someone.
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 11-10-2020 at 09:57 AM

Welcome Viktor!

I'd say that pretty much all pegs require a bone nut to work smoothly (or possibly there are synthetic nuts, like teflon and graphite, that would also work well).
I wouldn't expect Wittner or Pegheds (similar product, this is what John Vergara uses) to be an exception. An ebony nut or similar very hard wood might work okay if it was very well made, but generally speaking wood makes a poor material for a nut since the strings have to move across it as smoothly as possible.

The 'cracking' noise is most likely the sound of the ridges of the wound strings getting bound up by the imperfections in the wood and then suddenly moving a large amount when the tension exceeds the coefficient of friction. You can think of a non-smooth surface as exerting a force (friction) on the string in the opposite direction that the peg is trying to turn it. As long as that friction force is more than the tuner is exerting, it won't move at all. Then, when the tuner finally builds up enough tension so that it is more than the friction, it will suddenly release with all that built-up force, causing it to move rapidly a (relatively) large distance. In practical terms, it means that you turn the peg and the pitch doesn't change until you overcome the coefficient of friction—then it changes all at once.

For a fixed bridge it doesn't matter, the strings are essentially a fixed point. Using bone may change the sound, but it won't affect the tuning.

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