Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

  1. #1

    Default Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Hi everybody! first of all, this is my first thread on the forum, so I hope I don't make any mistake. I am from Argentina, so I have to excuse me for my english too.

    The thing is that I have a Fender FSM 63 mandolin (F-style), and it have issues with staying in tune. The issue goes worse if I play for a while, it goes really out of tune. I have placed the strings by locking the strings by themselves (following some tutorials on youtube) and I think (I might be wrong) that I made that correctly.
    I have changed the strings to a Martin bronze bluegrass 0.11 set, and the overall sound improved, but the issue still happens. (it happened before with the 0.10 set too)

    Maybe the tuners of this model are not so good? there are locking tuners for mandolin?
    will a mini locking guitar tuners fit? or maybe could you reccomend me some other good tuners?

    Regards

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,378

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    It's probably not the tuners, more likely the nut and/or the bridge.
    If the nut slots are not cut to the correct size for the strings, and to the correct height, that can cause tuning problems. If the "compensation" is not accurate at the bridge, that can cause tuning problems. Also, the placement of the bridge can be off, causing tuning problems.

    By the way, I know Argentina is a big country, and I don't know if you play Bluegrass music, but if you do, the Bluegrass community might be small enough for you to know my friend Joe Troop(?).

  3. The following members say thank you to sunburst for this post:

    Darbl 

  4. #3

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Thank you for your quick answer!

    I thought that changing to a 0.11 set was not a very clever idea, but the issue happend also with the 0.10.
    The issue is that each strings goes flat (and sometimes sharp!) after playing for a little while.
    Sohuld I just take the mandolin to a luthier to adjust the nut and bridge?

  5. #4
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,378

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    If you don't have the knowledge and tools to adjust the nut slots yourself, yes, take it to a luthier. When strings go sharp as you play, that indicates nut slots that are too tight. They can also go flat, but that can happen even when things are set up well.
    Also, to answer your question, I don't know of any locking tuners for mandolin.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    I'll do that. Thank you very much for your help
    PS: Besides the locking tuners, there are some normal tuners to recommend? maybe some grovers?

    Regards

  7. #6
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    14,378

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Unless your tuners are really junk or are badly damaged, the only reason to change them is for a different appearance or for easier and smoother operation. Any functional tuner will tune the strings and stay in tune once tuned.
    Many people really like the Grover tuners, but they are far from my favorite (too heavy, I don't like the looks or the finish, and the gear ratio is too high. It takes forever to get a string up to pitch).
    I used to like Gotoh deluxe tuners, but the most recent ones I got were not as good, so...
    I've had good luck with Stew Mac's Golden Age tuners, but stories abound about sets that were too hard to turn or had faulty buttons. I've had half a dozen or so sets and none had problems.

  8. The following members say thank you to sunburst for this post:

    Darbl 

  9. #7

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    I see, thanks again for your help!

    Btw, I have just checked your website and you have some really beautiful instruments there, congratulations!

  10. The following members say thank you to Darbl for this post:


  11. #8
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Definitely get it checked for binding at the nut slots.

    But also, in case you didn't know, make sure that you always tune your strings UP to pitch, never down to pitch. If your string is flat, just tune it up. But if it's sharp, tune it down to below your target pitch and then bring it back up. It will not stay in tune if you bring it down to pitch, even with perfect tuners.

    Also, it's common for mandolins to need regular tuning adjustments as you play. The heat of your hands on the strings, the heat of your body against the back of the mandolin, the humidity as you breathe on it, or humidity from evaporation of sweat on your arms and hands, all these things will affect the mandolin's physical properties and thus throw tuning off. So it's unrealistic to expect that you can tune your mandolin once and then not have to adjust it again. But obviously, if you can't get it somewhat stable, you may have other issues to address.

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Tobin For This Useful Post:

    CobaltDarbl 

  13. #9

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Good advice, thank you.

    About those common tuning variations, am I the only one that thinks that locking tuners for mandolins would be an improvement? or do you think they wouldn't solve the issue?

  14. #10
    Middle-Aged Old-Timer Tobin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Kerrville, TX
    Posts
    4,004

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    They wouldn't solve anything. Mandolins drift out of tune because the entire body of the instrument changes shape/length with variations in temperature and humidity. All instruments do it, to some degree. But it becomes more apparent with mandolins due to the short scale and high tension of the strings. Not to mention, when you have strings tuned in unisons, it's much more audible when a string goes slightly out of tune than it is on instruments with only single courses.

    So for the most part, a mandolin going out of tune has nothing to do with the tuners. You could lock them, or weld the gears in place, and it will still go out of tune.

  15. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Tobin For This Useful Post:


  16. #11
    fishing with my mando darrylicshon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    atlanta
    Posts
    1,292

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    If you really want locking tuners the only way would be to use guitar ones , most of the companies make mini locking tuners. You may have to see if there's room for them , you may have to drill a hole or two. i think they will weight more and might not help as much as you think. The best thing is to make sure your mandolin has a good setup.
    Ibanez 70's 524, 521, 3 511's,2 512's,513,1 514,3 80s 513's, 522
    J Bovier F5-T custom shop
    Kiso Suzuki V900,
    The Loar lm600 Cherryburst
    morgan monroe mms-5wc,ovation
    Michael Kelly Octave Mandolin
    Emandos Northfield octave tele 4, Northfield custom jem octave mandolin 5 octave strat 8
    2 Flying v 8, octave 5, Exploryer octave 8 20"
    Fender mandostrat 4,3 Epip mandobird 2,4/8, Kentucky. KM300E Eastwood mandocaster
    Gold Tone F6,Badaax doubleneck 8/6

  17. #12

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Tobin: I understand. Thank you for your comment

    darrylicshon: the mini locking was the first thing that came up to my mind after searching in vain for mandolin locking tuners. But if as they say won't solve anything, it's not worth.
    I'll take the mandolin to a luthier, for new nut slots and maybe I'll change the tuners for some good ones. (at least one of the current tuners has a strange feel for me). Thanks for your answer

    sunburst: I just read this comment, somehow I missed before:
    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    By the way, I know Argentina is a big country, and I don't know if you play Bluegrass music, but if you do, the Bluegrass community might be small enough for you to know my friend Joe Troop(?).
    Oh, I don't know him. I like bluegrass music but I don't usually play it, since I am a relative newby and a selftaught with the mandolin (I've played violin and electric guitar for some years before buying the mandolin), and for me looks like a complex genre to approach. But I would like to.
    Thanks again. I'll check for Joe's music
    Last edited by Darbl; Sep-09-2015 at 12:41am.

  18. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Conneaut Lake, PA
    Posts
    3,980

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    A while back there was a discussion thread about a product called the JWL Quick Cinch. It is an add on to regular tuning posts that turns them into locking tuners. I think there is still an ad for them under Accessories in our Classifieds.

    In the discussion thread, as I recall they were soundly panned by our members as being ugly and most likely not worth the trouble and expense. But if you must have locking tuners they may be worth a look. They require no permanent alterations to your instrument so not much to lose except your 60 dollars.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  19. #14
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Outer Spiral Arm, of Galaxy, NW Oregon.
    Posts
    15,654

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    The thing is that I have a Fender FSM 63 mandolin (F-style), and it have issues with staying in tune.
    I have very stiff turning tuners on an Expensive Carbon Fiber mandolin. that combination stays in tune well .

    The high tension and short scale, physics, is working against you ,
    so you notice the few cents off pitch sooner.




    as no locking tuners exist outside the Guitar world, you are probably looking into a very custom instrument.

    leave the clip on tuner on the headstock & re tune between songs,
    while you save $ for a better Mandolin
    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  20. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    4,881

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    A good practice to get into is to slightly stretch the strings after installing, do not pull on them too hard, I do this three or four times and re tune after each time and when they don`t go flat any more I am set for quite some time...I also had a Fender like yours and couldn`t stand it, lots of things wrong with it so maybe another brand mandolin is what you need to make you happy....

    Anyway, good luck with what ever you decide to do....

    Willie

  21. #16
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    11,855

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    A while back there was a discussion thread about a product called the JWL Quick Cinch. It is an add on to regular tuning posts that turns them into locking tuners. I think there is still an ad for them under Accessories in our Classifieds.
    Not even the seller of these objects has claimed they will help an instrument hold its tuning. They're just supposed to make it easier to change strings. In fact, one of our complaints was that they effectively increase the post diameter, which makes the tuners less accurate.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

    Notorious: My Celtic CD--listen & buy!

    Donaldson Wood Thormahlen Andersen Old Wave Bacorn Yanuziello Fender National Gibson Franke Fuchs Aceto Three Hungry Pit Bulls

  22. #17

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    The way I check to see if the nut slot is pinching the string is to tune the string up and then push down on the string behind the nut. This equalizes the tension. If it goes sharp when you do this then you need to widen the slot a little.
    Richard Hutchings

  23. #18
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,765

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    As I understand it, the main rationale behind locking tuners for electric guitars, was the fact that electric solid-bodies often use extremely light (thin) strings, and the strings are often stretched or "bent" by the player's fingers to get the "bent note" effect. Combination of light strings and frequent string bends often pulled strings out of tune, and locking tuners compensated for that to some extent.

    I haven't seen locking tuners on acoustic instruments, though quite possibly some guitarists use them. There are, of course, locking banjo pegs, the so-called "Scruggs tuners," where two pitches are locked in via set-screws so that the banjo is retuned in mid-song.

    Retuning a mandolin, or other instrument, frequently is an annoyance. With electronic tuners (or a really good ear) it can be a momentary annoyance. Stretching out strings, as Willie suggests, has helped me, but temperature and humidity variations, as well as vigorous picking techniques, can put any instrument out of tune.

    If it's as frequent as OP suggests, I concur in the "remote diagnosis" of binding in the nut slots. This can sometimes be alleviated by lubrication, such as rubbing a soft lead pencil in the slots to coat them with graphite. Best overall "cure" is to have the slots properly re-sized and profiled.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  24. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Conneaut Lake, PA
    Posts
    3,980

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Yes, I see now that the Quick Cinch only does half of what a true locking tuner does.
    Don

    2016 Weber Custom Bitterroot F
    2011 Weber Bitterroot A
    1974 Martin Style A
    Fender Octave Mandolin c.2004-2008

  25. #20

    Default Re: Locking tuners for F style mandolin?

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Poole View Post
    I also had a Fender like yours and couldn`t stand it, lots of things wrong with it so maybe another brand mandolin is what you need to make you happy....
    So, Is this a bad model? or the Fender ones are not so good? damn
    what I've noticed after buying is that the FSM63 has a shorter scale than other mandolins

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •