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How To Soap the Pegs of Your Violin or Viola (and make it easy to tune)

Zlata Brouwer

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Published: July 25, 2014 at 12:38 PM [UTC]

Perhaps you recognize this: when you tune your violin or viola with the tuning pegs, sometimes they squeak or don’t run smoothly or run too smoothly. This can indicate that it’s time to soap the pegs.

In this video I teach you how to soap the pegs of your violin or viola, so tuning will be easier and faster.

  • When you soap the pegs, do it string for string, one by one. If you take all the string off at once, you can loose the bridge or the soundpost can fall down.

  • To loosen the string, turn the peg loose until you can easily remove the string from the peg.

  • Take out the peg from the peg box.

  • Check if the peg is straight and not curved. The curve can mean that the peg is worn down. When the peg doesn’t fit into the peg box, soaping it will not be useful. In this case the peg needs to be cut or replaced.

  • Soap your pegs with peg soap (click here to buy it if you don’t have it yet). Peg soap looks a little bit like lipstick. Firmly soap the peg, so you can see that it becomes greasy. The peg soap will be a layer on the peg. However: don’t overdo it. For the female readers (and the male readers with strange Saturday night hobbies): you can compare it with lipstick... it must cover well, but you don’t want to look like a clown.

  • Put the peg back again in the peg box. Place your string back and you’re done.

When you buy pegs, they will not fit in your peg box. They need to be cut to the size of the holes in your peg box. Best is to have a luthier do this, however some violinists can do this themselves.

It’s easiest to combine soaping the pegs with string replacement. New strings are easier to place than used strings. Taking the strings off your violin and placing them back can be a ‘shock’ for your string and shorten the lifetime. Make it a habit to soap your pegs every time you replace your strings.

I hope with this help you can make your pegs run smoothly again :).

Is this useful to you? Please let me know in the comments below!



PS: Do you have questions or struggles on violin or viola playing? Post a comment below or send an e-mail to and I might dedicate a Violin Lounge TV episode to answering your question!

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