View Full Version : Kalamazoo tuners

Oct-04-2006, 12:45pm
I have a 1936 model kalamazoo mandolin.I think i need to replace the tuners on it,it doesnt stay in tune well and the tuners are a little loose.What brand tuner could i put in its place?Thanks http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Bernie Daniel
Oct-04-2006, 1:33pm
What about looking on eBay for some nice period correct tuners for a Gibson? #In fact let me check I might have a set of late 20's or so Gibson A1 mandolin tuners that are in pretty good shape -- I think there is a set for sale now on eBay too?

Paul Hostetter
Oct-04-2006, 3:47pm
If it's not staying in tune, the tuners are not to blame. Save for the rare set of 5:1 riveted Grovers, gears don't (can't) slip. Mostly likely there's friction at the nut, or friction somewhere between the tailpiece and the gear mechanism. Gears are supposed to have some slop, and the string tension itself should take up that slop if all else is in order.

This is a different mandolin, but I'll bet yours are like this:


These are good gears if they're lubed and adjusted properly, and if the strings can move as they're supposed to. Almost anything else you're apt to try will look weird, unless Allparts has any of the old 4/plate Kluson copies still in stock. Here's an ugly, and it's a Kalamazoo:


They're low-end Gotohs. They look bad but they work fine. Saving your originals is easy and fairly foolproof.

Paul Hostetter
Oct-04-2006, 3:58pm
PS: Kluson makes single guitar gears which match, and can be adapted fairly easily. First you get four rights and four lefts of these:


Then you trim the ends of the plates of certain of them so the plates and screwholes butt like this:


The button look is preserved, and the gears work like new because they are new, even if they look a little odd from the back. But I don't think you need to do this.

Oct-04-2006, 4:11pm
what do you lubed them with? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Oct-04-2006, 4:13pm
and also if there is no string in the tuner they wiggle a little bit,is that normal? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Paul Hostetter
Oct-04-2006, 4:32pm
Again, gears are supposed to have some slop, wiggle, backlash, whatever you want to call it. When the strings are under tension, it's taken up.

Oil is the enemy of gears like this, because it attracts dust and congeals into a varnish-like goo that really impairs the function. You can take them off the instrument and soak them in naphtha to loosen that crud, then spin the mechanisms with a power drill and get tham as close to Square One as possible. Then use Tri-Flow, which contains no oil. It's just dry Teflon. It's the only gear lubricant I use.


If the gears are finally turning well and it's still hard to tune, mostly likely there's friction at the nut, or friction somewhere between the tailpiece and the gear

Oct-04-2006, 4:34pm
where do u get naptha and the tri flow? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Oct-05-2006, 1:11pm
heres what the tuners look like.Do they look like they need cleaning?LMK Thanks http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

Paul Hostetter
Oct-05-2006, 1:24pm
They probably just need Triflow and a good spin without strings on. Eventually they're going to need new buttons, as the ones on there are in an irreversible state of decline. If it was my mandolin, I'd just get the new Klusons (as above) when the buttons really started going. It's less time and expense than replacing the buttons alone. In the meantime, I'd just lube the gears and play it.