I'm a new cellist but a guitarist first and foremost. What frustrates me most about my cello is that the pegs seem to slip and the strings go slack - no matter how tightly I push the peg in. What can I do?
Also, has anyone tried any of those Pegheds (website: pegheds.com) that are supposed to prevent slippage and the need for fine tuners? I'm also curious to know what anyone thinks about converting the cello pegs to machine heads like a guitar or bass. Is that feasible?
Wooden pegs in wooden holes could be considered a design flaw in an otherwise remarkably elegant system. When the pegs fit the holes perfectly they work beautifully, effortlesly. But with changes in humidity, the ebony pegs shrink and swell (and not symetrically!) as do the holes in the maple peg box--and not at the same rate as the ebony. So they wear each other out--the pegs get deformed and the holes get bigger, and it gets harder and harder to make them stay in place. Time to take it to the shop to have them re-fitted. It's simply part of the maintenance routine. Eventually you run out of new wood on the pegs and they have to be replaced, which can happen several times over the course of an instrument's life. In time, the holes may become too big and need to be re-lined with new wood, called bushings. Adding abrasives like chalk may seem like a good idea in the short run, but it really makes the surfaces wear out faster.
Pegheads or Planetary Pegs (same thing) work really well. When you turn the head, you're turning the gears inside the shaft, not the shaft itself, so there is no wear on the pegbox. The pegs work as accurately as fine tuners so there's no longer a need for those. I think there've been two drawbacks to acceptance: first, tradition. It's a change-resistant field. Second, appearance. They look pretty good but have still been made of plastic. I hear they're getting close to being able to manufacture them with wooden heads--maybe there're already there, now. Once they look like real pegs, nobody need be the wiser.