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Jane
Hey guys! So the 3 types of violin fittings, ebony, rosewood, and boxwood. Is it true that boxwood sounds the best, rosewood just looks  nice, and ebony is the hardest wood? If I am purchasing a new violin, what's the difference in the sound quality of them?
Jane
4 Responses
Posted: April 4, 2017
Last Comment: April 18, 2017
Replies

Jane
Posted: April 18, 2017
So do you guys think it is a good idea to ask the shop to replace ebony with rosewood when buying just for the look?

Dianne
Posted: April 4, 2017
Hi Jane, another good question! I think as long as they are of good quality, the pegs and chin rest are personal choice. I have good quality rosewood and ebony on my instruments, and the pegs on both are fine after years of use. The tailpiece may be another matter, and may change the sound of the instrument.  Here is an article about the tailpiece. Perhaps even the chin rest weight may change the qualities of the instrument, not sure, I haven't run into any problems w/rosewood or ebony chin rests.

Maria
Posted: April 4, 2017

September 25, 2008 at 03:39 AM  There are three woods most commonly used for peg turning: Ebony, Rosewood, and Boxwood. That said, there are many species, qualities, and other parameters within this list to muddy the waters. Each wood has a "best case" example that has historically been used due to certain qualities that players and makers deem desireable. Ebony is the heaviest and hardest, like a tuxedo, always classy. Rosewood has its own resin which can act as its own peg dope. Unfortunately it's not as dense as people think and can compress over the years. Although all of these woods have several species, Rosewood has the most and they vary greatly in colors and qualities. When someone says that they like Rosewood they may mean some species that was used in Mirecourt fifty years ago and is commercialy unavailable now. The name Boxwood is the most specious in terms of the many woods now sold under that name. Real buxus is fantastic for pegs because the pale yellow color (after nitric acid fuming) turns rich red brown and complements most varnish colors. It is so homogenious as to be like plastic without any of the negative conotations; a desireable quality in a peg. The trouble is that presently the quality and origin of this wood is all over the place. We could start a whole animated discussion over whether the great Hill pegs you see on the famous fiddles came from "English" box, or trees that were grown in Turkey. Boxwood is much softer than ebony but the good stuff is harder than Rosewood. 

I hope this, but I imagine it just makes the discussion more obtuse. The major difficulty is that as with Pernambuco, we have acted like these wonderful and specialized woods would last forever and provide tuning pegs until the end of time. For some time, manufacturers have been selling pegs under the names of these woods that our violin forefathers wouldn't have picked their teeth with. This makes generalizations problematic.


Maria
Posted: April 4, 2017


Rosewood is heavy, not so sure exactly, my old German violin [pretending to be from Italy based on the old label] was given a rosewood tailpiece/pegs and a dense Asiatic wood chin rest  sounded louder and resonant.

I have couple of violins/viola with boxwood fittings and they all sounded sweeter under my ear,,,

Perhaps Diane from SoCal can help you and give you more information... I say I choose boxwood because I like lighter wood and plus they look so pretty too.