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I have a soprano Favilla uke. About a month ago I replaced the original pegs, which were slipping, with Waverly's, recommended by a luthier. (To be clear, these are not "violin pegs"; rather, they are metal and pinch the top and bottom of the headstock for the friction to resist turning.) When I changed the pegs, I put on a new set of Aquila strings. I'm sure the strings have gone through their "stretching out" period by now.

I'm having trouble with the 2nd string (E). Sometimes when it's a tiny bit flat, I nudge it up - and when I let go it drops a half tone or more. I can see the peg turning.

I have cautiously tried tightening the screw, but I've heard it's easy to tighten it too much and cause some other sort of damage. To me it seems as if there's insufficient friction between the metal washers and the wood of the headstock. Any suggestions for how to solve this?

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On a friction ukulele tuning peg, the standard solution to slipping of the peg (not holding the tuning tension) is to tighten the screw at the end of the peg button.

Other things to check are to be sure your string has enough turns around the post so that the string itself is not slipping on the tuning post as well as a proper knot at the bridge to be sure the string is not slipping there.

I have discovered that when Waverly's are installed even by a luthier, they will slip if not installed properly using the proper countersink bit to modify the headstock for the way the Waverly's are designed. They usually don't fit properly when replacing most vintage style pegs unless you have a 60-degree peghole chamfer.

Stewmac sells this Countersink for Waverly Ukulele Friction Pegs:

Countersink for Waverly Ukulele Friction Pegs

If the installation is not the issue, try tightening the screw a little at a time until you no longer experience the slippage problem. If you find that you can't get it tight enough, it could be that the screw is "bottoming out" (reaching it's maximum capacity to tighten any further). If that is the case, take the screw to a hardware store or hobby shop to try to get a shorter version of the same type screw or carefully cut just a tiny bit of the end of the screw off to shorten it.

Good luck.

  • Good list of things to try. It looks like I just need to tighten the screw a little more. – Chap Jan 23 '16 at 23:38
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It would be a more expensive upgrade, but do you know about PegHeds? They are actual geared tuners (like a banjo or guitar tuner) that have the external appearance of traditional friction pegs. The PegHeds company website doesn't have a lot of detailed information, but your local musical instrument repair person may have information on PegHeds for ukulele. Some high-end ukulele manufacturers make PegHeds available as standard equipment on their instruments.

  • I do! I put a set of Gotohs, which also use planetary gearing, on my Martin 1T. Pegheds will be the next step for this soprano if I can't get the Waverlys to work. – Chap Jan 24 '16 at 15:21
  • I would guess that geared tuners on a soprano uke might tend to make them feel top heavy due to the weight of the gears in relation to the overall weight of such a small uke. But there is no doubt that PegHeds or any good quality geared tuner would offer better tuning stability than most friction tuners. – Rockin Cowboy Jan 25 '16 at 16:16

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