Guitar repair & setup workshop in Manchester, UK

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Guitar Machinehead Fitting Service

bass tuners
A new set of tuners can be a great upgrade for a guitar. It's just annoying dropping tune during a song so get some peace of mind with a properly installed new set of machineheads.

Again, there's a load of aftermarket tuners around and an equal amount of different styles: 3x3, 6 in a line, locking, open backed, sealed back, 16:1 ratio, 18:1 ratio, reverse thread, switchable tuning or even gearless tuners. They nearly always come in either Chrome, Black, Nickel or Gold flavours.

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hipshot d tuner
When choosing a new set you need to look out for a few things:

old tuners

Yes, this is a big thing. For basses a common problem is for the headstock to become top heavy; meaning you have to hold the neck up with your left hand whilst playing. Not fun. Some companies are making super lightweight machineheads our of aluminium to combat this.

The next factor concerning weight is the natural resonance of the guitar. The headstock is the utmost point on a guitar or bass and by adding a heavier set of tuning machines, it will change your sound!

The last factor related to weight of the machineheads is thinking about damage. If you drop a Gibson Les Paul with chunky Rotomatics on it has a lot more momentum than one with lighter tuners on.

Fitting some new Gotoh Stratocaster Machineheads

This trusty old Tokai Goldstar Sound has earnt a new set of machineheads after the owner had been putting up with them for years. I sourced some Gotoh 6 in a line machineheads for him in the traditional Fender style. I chose these after carefully measuring the tuner hole spacing and also where the old machinead's screw holes were too. The idea was to covere as many of the old screw holes as possible

Bad machineheads

Budget Stock Tokai tuners just aren't up to scratch, they keep letting the guitar go out of tune with an awful dead spot when you turn them

new tuners

The new Gotoh machineheads are a nice tight tolerance and the style matches the Fender look

lining up tuners

Alignment is very important - it would look terrible if they're installed even slightly out!

Old fashioned technique works every time!

new tuner screw holes

Marking out the holes for the new screws carefully using an awl

headstock drilling

Drilling the screw holes to just the right size - they have the perfect balance between clearance and grip.Drill the holes too small and the screw may shear off or the head may strip. Maple is a very tough timber and very unforgiving

new tuner screws

Tightening the screws. Care is taken to keep pressure and alignment up. I rub candle wax on the threads of the woodscrew to ease it into the super tough maple

new tuners

One last check to make sure that nothing has come out of alignment!

new tuners fitted

The finished article - much much better. There's only 1 old screw hole on show too as a bonus! Can you spot it?

These should never have to be changed again


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