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Thread: Changing tuners

  1. #1
    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
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    Default Changing tuners

    Having some issues with the tuners (seem to be Ping/Golden Age) on my BRW 2 pointer and am looking into upgrading. I'm handy with tools but not a luthier by ANY stretch of the imagination.

    Now it seems straightforward enough to change out the tuners as you just unscrew and remove the old but here's the catch: the Ping's only have 3 screws whereas Grovers, Schallers, Waverly's, etc. all have 5.

    Is it as simple as I think it is to put on a new set of tuning machines by just pre drilling the other holes and putting in the screws? Any other considerations or should I leave this to a luthier?
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    If you don't want to do anything to your mandolin you could just put in 3 screws. If you want to drill I would drill the holes with the tuners in place and screwed in. Put a piece of masking tape on the correct drill bit to the depth you need to go so you don't go thru the headstock. I like to use a hand drill and by hand drill I mean not powered, or powered by hand.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    I've had good experience with installing Grover 309 and Rubners (and they both come with worm under or over options). Stewmac.com has schematics so you can see if the 3 screw spacing matches. You can probably email Rubner for same. Three issues i had is with what i think are called metric bushings that come with the Rubners vs the Gotoh bushings that were installed on the Kentucky that have larger diameter openings for the tuner posts.

    Also the hole diameter for the bushing varies: 8.23mm for grover, 8.58 for Rubner

    On another mandolin the tapered peghead appeared to not have been drilled exactly, and the tuners were binding, so i'm having those holes filled and redrilled (about $100 of labor, well worth it). You can search for threads on tapered pegheads if that applies to you


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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    If you don't want to do anything to your mandolin you could just put in 3 screws. If you want to drill I would drill the holes with the tuners in place and screwed in. Put a piece of masking tape on the correct drill bit to the depth you need to go so you don't go thru the headstock. I like to use a hand drill and by hand drill I mean not powered, or powered by hand.
    Don't assume that, because new and old both have three holes, they will line up. Plugging holes with matchsticks/toothpicks hasn't been a problem for me in the past - just make sure that everything is left flush with the back of the headstock - and any ugly mess is covered up by the tuners.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    Not only are the mounting screw holes different but possibly the spacing between the post and the size of the bushing holes and the bushings themselves...It sounds like an easy job and it is if everything lines up....You need to take some measurements and check with what ever replacement company you are choosing to get the parts from...I found out the hard way a few years ago, took the old tuners off removed the bushings and then found that the spacing was different and the new bushings were a larger diameter also and wouldn`t fit into the holes...

    Willie

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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    If the screw holes are off, I don't have a problem drilling the new tuner so the original holes line up. Especially if the mandolin is of any vintage. It doesn't hurt anything and works just fine without altering the instrument. Filling and redrilling is common, and I will do this on something that is not vintage.
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  9. #7
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    A question if i may - How do you remove the tuner bushes ?. I ask because i'd considered changing the Nickel Gotoh tuners on my Ellis for Gold plated ones with Black buttons, & having the James T/piece Gold plated to match. I didn't because i realised that i might not be able to remove the Nickel bushes. I don't know if bushes are generally a tight fit ie. you have to force them in,or if they're a simply push fit with only finger pressure. I suppose i could have asked Tom Ellis,but he's a busy guy,
    Ivan
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    I've changed several sets Ivan but I've generally not bothered changing the bushes - they've usually been close enough for me - but, if you're going from chrome to gold, that's a different matter. I've found that some bushes are tight and some have simply fallen out so I don't think its possible to generalise; its simply down to how the holes were drilled originally. Unless they've been hammered in, it should be relatively simlple to push them out from the back.

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  12. #9
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    Ivan, I like to take a dowel of the proper size and push it out from the back. Be sure to support the headstock while doing so. As was said some come out easy and some very hard. I have used gold tuners with silver bushings as I like the way it looks, you could try pushing one out and see how tight they are and make your mind up from there.
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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    One complication Waverly tuners add is the peg head drilling spacing has to be spot on.
    because of the way they are machined they dont tolerate binding when the hole spacing is off.
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  15. #11
    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Changing tuners

    Just a follow up, and thanks to all the replies: I got a set of Grover 309's from stewmac and it was super easy to install them. The existing screw holes lined up but had to drill 2 new holes on each side, didn't have to remove the old bushings...nothing to it. And the grovers are a miles better machines: no more backlash (for lack of a better term) on the g strings and tuning up and down to pitch is smooth as can be. It was so bad with the old ones that it literally hurt my thumb to get the d strings to pitch.

    And maybe, just maybe, the BRW sounds a bit closer to Crusher than before. Or perhaps Hoss. Either way it's a better instrument.
    There are three kinds of people: those of us that are good at math and those that are not.

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