View Full Version : Tuners for slotted headstock?

J. Mark Lane
Feb-22-2004, 1:49pm
Nothing like a challenge, eh?

I have a couple of European-made 8 string instruments ('dola, zouk) that have slotted headstocks (you know, like those pansified plastic string guitars have, but with 4 strings on a side rather than 3). The tuners that came on these are ok, but not great.

Does anyone have any idea where/how to get some tuners for these things? They would look like classical guitar tuners -- on a plage -- but with an extra tuner. Any help will be much appreciated.



Feb-22-2004, 2:21pm
Mark, try some of these builders (http://www.mandolincafe.com/archives/builders/selmer.html) for starters. They might be able to point you in a helpful direction.


Feb-22-2004, 10:24pm
Jacob some how I knew you'd be the one with the link...as #### Frankfield would say, how you do dat? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

Feb-23-2004, 11:48am
Yes, Mark, Greek bouzouki-tuners are as common as apple-pie... ehm, I mean souvlaki #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif #

If you go that way, I can suggest several dealers, most abundantly Mr. Mátsikas in Kallithea, Athens (matsikas.gr) I have the phone/fax numbers if you wish.

The real question —and one I am in no position to answer—#is the actual spacing you are working with. Hmm...

P.S. I was just in Athens last weekend; could have brought you a set... Oh, well.

J. Mark Lane
Feb-23-2004, 12:09pm
Thanks, folks! What a great resource this place is.

Now... uh... anyone speak Portuguese? Or Greek?

The spacing is 23 mm (I believe that's right, anyway). I think the posts are very close to 1/4 inch. One of the sets on that Brazilian site looked perfect. But I don't know how to order it. Help?!


Feb-23-2004, 12:53pm
or as common as Glactiaburriko right? yum....love that stuff!

Feb-23-2004, 2:33pm
Greek, yes; Portuguese, I'm afraid not.

If in need of translation, just zap me the text in a MC-message or post the website you are looking at. On the other hand, if you choose to e-mail Nick Mátsikas, he speaks/reads/writes English quite well.

Always glad to be of help.



J. Mark Lane
Feb-23-2004, 4:11pm

Thanks for the offer. I can't quite figure what his email address is from what you wrote. ?? If you don't mind, maybe you could communicate this to him:

"I would like to purchase two or three sets of tuners for an 8 stringed instrument with a slotted headstock. The tuners are four on a plate, with the posts spaced at 23 mm. I would like good quality tuners. Any help would be appreciated. I can provide payment in any way you like, but need them to be shipped to the US. Thank you."



Feb-24-2004, 7:35am
Sorry for the cryptic abbreviation, Mark; it was his website that I was referring you to, namely: http://www.matsikas.gr/
His e-mail is (if I am not mistaken): matsikas@hol.gr Even if I AM in fact mistaken, I'm sure there is an e-mail link on the website.

Drop him a note; he is sure to reply within a day or so. If you prefer that I do so on your behalf, well, OK. I'm afraid, however, that this may confuse Nick, vis a vis who is buying what, who is paying for what, etc., especially since I have bought stuff from him in the past.

The part that is really obnoxious is the payment, what with the nasty exchange rate from U.S. dollar to euro, what with the even nastier bank fees. Hmm... You might want to contact my friend Dino Bersis in New York, at http://www.diodinos.com/ who, naturally, does business right here in the U.S. I would go with Dino before seeking further abroad. Just a suggestion.

Also Pavlos Kakouris of Bouzouki Forum (in California) may be able to help you more efficiently. I'd hate to see you spend $30 on bank fees just to buy a $20 piece of merchandise. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif

J. Mark Lane
Feb-25-2004, 10:33am
Thanks, Victor. And regarding the Dino Bersis tip, WOW! I had no idea. Right here under my nose (I'm in NY, not far from his shop) someone is making these awesome bouzoukis. And he seems to carry specially made tuners for slotted headstocks. !! Thanks!

I have emailed him and hope to visit the shop soon. I will report back... quite possibly on far more than just tuners.


Feb-25-2004, 10:40am
Uh-oh... have I inadvertently fanned the flames of Mandolin-and-Related-Instrument-Acquisition-Syndrome? http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/laugh.gif

Dino is a swell guy, a gentleman of the old school, and a fabulous luthier— one of the few to build instruments from A to Z, just the way the customer likes them. Not cheap, of course, but "you get what you pay for"...

Naturally, I have no business interest in Dino's shop. If you wish, please give him my regards, i.e. from that "nutty, Greek bass-player who dabbles in mandolins, bouzoukis, and the like" http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif I, myself, ought to pay him a visit some time this spring.

Best of luck, Mark.

J. Mark Lane
Feb-25-2004, 11:05am
Have a look at this, willya!


I think I'm gonna be ill. I mean, I think my wallet is gonna be ill. <G>

Feb-25-2004, 3:32pm
Well, not unreasonably so... #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif

Last I saw Dino (sadly, almost two years ago), he had instruments ranging from a lowER-end six-string Greek bouzouki for +/- $1,500 (quite respectable, incidentally, no lowly instrument for being low-end) to fancier models with lots and lots of ornamentation, up in the $3,000 + range.

All things considered, good deals; not to mention that Dino is one of the few luthiers willing and able to design whatever inlays a customer wants (sometimes all in different woods — a personal weakness of mine, i.e. as opposed to glitzy oyster-shells and the like). Of course, for a price...

Dino works slowly, being a one-man-shopkeeper. Whoever wants instant gratification ought to try out what's hanging from the racks; special commissions naturally require patience.

Also incidentally, MC-contributor jeffshuniak just bought a mandolin from Dino (a left-handed special); you may wish to contact him for a candid review. I personally have none of his instruments (yet), so my comments are worth less than Jeff's. What I CAN say, however, is that Dino has told me on more than one occasion "Look, this repair-job you are asking me to do is worth more than the instrument you have brought me; are you sure you want me to go ahead? What if I do something simpler, for less money, that's good enough to get by?"

That kind of honesty is rare, especially from a guy whose living is on the line with each and every customer who crosses his threshold.

Apr-08-2004, 2:03pm
Not to resurrect a dead thread...but Schaller makes standard (1" spacing) tuning machines for slotted headstocks. Check with International Luthier's Supply.

J. Mark Lane
Apr-08-2004, 7:34pm
Actually, I'm glad you resurrected this thread. I had been meaning to report back anyway.

I contacted several people recommended by folks here. The quickest to respond was Matsikis in Greece, and I purchased a set of gold Schaller tuners from him. Cost me about $65 with a very modest shipping charge, and took only about a week to get them (from Greece).

Prior to the arrival of the package, I didn't actually realize they were Schallers, although Matsikis did tell me they were "made in Germany." The tuners are quite nice. I need to drill out one of the holes in the headstock a tiny bit to get them to fit right (replacing really really cheapo units). Haven't had a chance to do that yet.

When I get the tuners installed, I will post a couple of pictures, probably in the zouk section, since they are going on a zouk.

Thanks again to all who helped. The answer is clearly -- yes, good quality tuners for slotted headstock mandolin family instruments are readily available, if you know where to look.


Apr-29-2004, 8:25am
Wow, that's quite a markup on those Schallers! International Luthier Supply charges $35.

But yeah, I've been disappointed with he difficulty in finding horizontal post tuners. I suppose what you COULD do is buy vertical post tuners, then replace the actual post with the horizontal ones from your old tuners. I haven't tried this yet, but I bet it would work.