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pebbleInDaPacific
09-04-2008, 06:22 AM
So I was tuning my uke last night and I almost had a heart attack when I was tightening the friction pegs on my kamaka soprano, and the screw broke! It was a good thing that I just received extras in the mail, that I ordered just in case, and I replaced the whole peg itself.

Now being new to playing the uke, and pretty new to playing any instrument, I want to know how tight do I have to tighten the pegs? Is it common at all for peg screws to snap like this over time or am I really overdoing it and hurting my baby? I have those button type pegs that usually are standard on kamaka sopranos, like the one below:

http://www.ukuleleworld.com/product.php?productid=102&cat=34&page=1

I have had the ukulele for about a month now, and I know that it takes a few days to a few weeks for the strings to stretch out or keep its tune. Each time after tuning, I use a screwdriver to tighten the screws until they won't turn anymore. Is this overtightening? The pegs don't move at all when I do this and I don't force the screw to go any further. Am I also destroying the head of the uke? Before the screw broke, i could still feel it tightening, it was still turning with a little ease, then all of a sudden, it snapped! should I just hand tighten from now on and not use the screwdriver?

Please school me and lecture me without restraint, the more info this newbie has the bettah!

Many thanks, salamat, si yu'os ma'ase, mahalos, domo arigato mr. roboto!

HI@heart
09-04-2008, 07:44 AM
Sorry to hear your new Kamaka had problems. Odd that that happened to a new one.

Friction pegs can be sure finicky sometimes. Mine have been giving me a little grief since I got it. The bearing surfaces are pretty well polished after years of use and require some gentle tightening of the screws. They've been over-tightened by the previous owner and have left impressions in the headstock front and back. Oh well. Just adds to the patina.

I'm sure some of the experienced UUsers will post some useful solutions to your inquiry.

Play on!

SinisterDom
09-04-2008, 08:24 AM
You're not supposed to tighten them so tight you can't turn the peg, only tight enough to where you can tune them easily and still have them hold tune. So tight that you can't move them is WAY to tight.

Ukuleleblues
09-04-2008, 08:48 AM
You want them tight enough not to turn by themselves. What you can do is tighten them enough so that it appears that they will stay in place while in tune. The you take a piece of low tack tape and place it next to the tuner key on the head and mark were the middle of the key aligns. Play it for a while and look to see it the key has moved (loosened). If it has moved, slighlty tighten the screw (1/16 turn of the screw will work). You want it loose enough to turn by hand and tight enough to hold string tension.

pebbleInDaPacific
09-04-2008, 10:29 AM
Thanks for the feedback guys. yeah, I don't know if I heard it from someone or I read somewhere online that they should be tightened enough so that the pegs don't turn, so in situations where I am putting my uke in it's case, the pegs don't accidentally get turned when touching the case. I always felt like I was doing something wrong and I should be lucky that it wasn't much worse like damaging the head. I will now loosen them a little so that they are just tight enough that they wont turn that easily.

Also, I forgot to mention that when I was loosening them up last night for adjustment, I noticed that they felt pretty stiff in turning, is that normal? I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I just wondered if weather changes affect how the pegs feel. Should I invest in a humidifier, would that help? thanks again for the help.

HI@heart
09-04-2008, 10:42 AM
Oh yeah! Protect that investment with a humidifier! Dusty Strings has a good one that will indicate when it needs water added.

sukie
09-04-2008, 03:33 PM
You want them tight enough not to turn by themselves. What you can do is tighten them enough so that it appears that they will stay in place while in tune. The you take a piece of low tack tape and place it next to the tuner key on the head and mark were the middle of the key aligns. Play it for a while and look to see it the key has moved (loosened). If it has moved, slighlty tighten the screw (1/16 turn of the screw will work). You want it loose enough to turn by hand and tight enough to hold string tension.


Wow! This is just what I've been wanting to know. Thanks.

pebbleInDaPacific
09-04-2008, 07:40 PM
Oh yeah! Protect that investment with a humidifier! Dusty Strings has a good one that will indicate when it needs water added.

Hey, thanks for the advice, yeah, i'll try to swing by there this weekend. Are you going to Aloha Fest? I'm going to check it out later that day. Don't think i'll make SUPA this weekend. I saw your vintage Kamaka. a beauty!

HI@heart
09-05-2008, 07:52 AM
Hey, thanks for the advice, yeah, i'll try to swing by there this weekend. Are you going to Aloha Fest? I'm going to check it out later that day. Don't think i'll make SUPA this weekend. I saw your vintage Kamaka. a beauty!

No problem. I have a long list of things I gotta get done but I'm going to try and make it to the Aloha Fest for a bit. The weather is going to be nice! I don't think I'll make the SUPA song circle this month either :( I finally got the green light to start paddling again after shoulder surgery and wanna get some water time in this weekend too :D

nikolo727
09-05-2008, 11:15 AM
im waitin for HH to come to this thread lol. he is the god and go-to guy of friction pegs.

pinch dont twist....

Howlin Hobbit
09-05-2008, 11:24 AM
im waitin for HH to come to this thread lol.

K. Here I am. Don't know about the god of friction pegs thing though.


...when I was loosening them up last night for adjustment...

I may be reading that wrong, but if you mean "loosening up to adjust the tuning" you shouldn't have to. Should be tunable -- or maybe I should say they should be turnable -- in their "tightened down" state.

If you meant, "to adjust 'cuz I had 'em too tight," my bad, sorry!

pebbleInDaPacific
09-05-2008, 12:45 PM
I may be reading that wrong, but if you mean "loosening up to adjust the tuning" you shouldn't have to. Should be tunable -- or maybe I should say they should be turnable -- in their "tightened down" state.

If you meant, "to adjust 'cuz I had 'em too tight," my bad, sorry!

Yeah, you are right on the first statement. It was my bad for having them so tight. Everytime I was tuning them, I would have to untighten them a little just so I could turn the pegs. I have since corrected my noob ways! Thanks!

Oh, I'll come catch your show one of these days and say wassup! Also, since you are deemed the god of friction pegs! :D Do you know how or where is a good place to shop for friction peg parts? More specifically, the actual buttons, NOT the whole friction peg assembly. I found some on E-bay that I am thinking of purchasing but they are advertised as buttons for the banjo friction tuners. I am wondering if they use the same types for ukuleles as they do for banjos. I am trying to find some that are the same ones used on the kamaka sopranos. the pearloid schaller buttons. thanks for any help!

Howlin Hobbit
09-05-2008, 01:41 PM
Do you know how or where is a good place to shop for friction peg parts? More specifically, the actual buttons, NOT the whole friction peg assembly.

Best thing I can think of is to talk to one or more luthiers. MGM might also know.

I know when I got my Glyph Dave wrote me and said he'd gotten a bunch of real ebony buttons and would I mind if he put them on.

(Would I mind real ebony instead of plastic? Ha!)

So I'm thinking there might be at least a "modern standard" size that would fit a lot of different pegs.

As to the fancy ones with the thumbscrew I haven't a clue.

thejumpingflea
09-13-2008, 06:43 PM
Also, I forgot to mention that when I was loosening them up last night for adjustment, I noticed that they felt pretty stiff in turning, is that normal? I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I just wondered if weather changes affect how the pegs feel. Should I invest in a humidifier, would that help? thanks again for the help.

I too live in the Seattle area (Mukilteo to be precise!)

I had some problems with a Kamaka I got from MGM a while ago. It was buzzing all over the place. I sent it back, he worked his magic and sent it back to me and told me to keep a humidifier in the case. Of course he did this all free of charge (he payed shipping!) and he also threw in a humidifier. Works great ever since!

I don't know about the tuners though, I doubt the humidity would affect them, however I would highly recommend getting a humidifier anyways!

Hope that helps some. :D