I have only been playing for a year. I bought a Big Muddy mandolin last June. By March of this year (2012) I was feeling like the instrument had problems. I took it to Chris Camp in Escondido (http://chriscamp.com/campmusic/) and he adjusted the nut and put on some good strings. The E string varied from .005 to .020 inches and the G string was dead. Now it really sings. I am very happy with it.
He also said that the tuners on my MD-0w are really cheap. Like $2/each cheap at OEM prices. That's nothing against Big Muddy. They put Grover tuners on their nicer models, but I got the low end one because I was new to the mandolin and didn't know if I would keep playing. Chris said the tuners were working OK, but eventually would start having trouble holding their tuning.
OK, so now I cannot keep my A strings tuned together. One of them drifts, sometimes after one note, sometimes after one song. I do play every night, so I guess maybe this tuner is going bad.
So now on to my questions:
Does that make sense that the tuner is going bad or is there likely some other reason?
If I replace my tuners I would like to replace them with something that will last. I have found that Schaller and Grover tuners are within my price range (less than $100). Will either of these hold their tune well and not wear out for quite a few years?
I would also like something that will tune a little smoother than the cheap ones. Is that possible, or do you always have to fuss a lot with the knobs to get it in tune? (Sounds like an old Philco radio...)
Which would you recommend? Schaller, Grover, or what else?
I am currently 1100 miles from Escondido and will not be back until next fall. I would prefer to have Chris do it if I were there, but I can't wait that long to solve this problem. I am quite competent with tools and such. Will I have any trouble replacing my own tuners?
Anything else I need to consider?
I didn't know if this posting should go in the equipment section or the luthiers section. If I put it in the wrong place, can it be moved?