Redrilling holes in tuning pegs
Back to school means dealing with students bringing in new instruments. While most of my students have decent instruments that are well set up, some come in with poor quality instruments that need a few tweaks to be playable. One of the problems with poor quality instruments (or older instruments) is properly functioning pegs.
Below I will discuss two scenarios where I have had to re-drill the holes in tuning pegs.
Scenario 1. When upgrading strings from no-name, generic brands. These strings are usually on poor quality instruments and are very thin. They also sound terrible! Because the upgraded strings are usually thicker (and better quality), they sometimes don’t fit into the pin-sized holes in the pegs. In most cases, all you will need to do is make the hole a bit larger with a 1/16″ drill bit.
Scenario 2. When a peg refuses to say because the hole that holds the wound string is too close to the peg box and won’t allow the peg to be seated properly. This can happen if the hole was drilled too close to the side of the peg box and/or the peg has worn to the point where the hole into it.
I find these scenarios generally occur with very poor quality instruments (VSO’s) and on very old instruments where the pegs have been worn down over many years.
Luckily the solution is very simple — just drill another hole into the peg!
First, I remove the string, then insert the problematic peg into the pegbox and mark the new location with a pencil. You’ll want it a little bit away from the original hole, and centered in the peg box. Once you have marked the location of the new hole, it’s time to drill into the peg.
Place the peg on a piece of scrap wood (or something you don’t mind possibly drilling into). Don’t use your desk! Use a 1/16″ drill bit and an electric drill, carefully drill the new hole into the peg where you made the mark. Take it slow.
When you are done, insert the peg and put your string back on!
Note: You can buy an inexpensive, light duty electric drill at a store like Harbor Freight Tools. I also purchase a few extra 1/16″ drill bits because they are thin and tend to break easily.