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Thread: Adjusting Handel tuners?

  1. #1

    Default Adjusting Handel tuners?

    I have a 1915 Gibson A4.
    Two of the tuning pegs are VERY tight. I loosened the tuner off the head, and the shafts are loose on the bushings.

    Is there a way to adjust the backlash on the gear and worm? I loosened the screws on the gears but didn't seem to make a difference...

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    Check out Paul Hostetter's tuner maintenance page on his lutherie.net site.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1939Dodge View Post
    Is there a way to adjust the backlash on the gear and worm?
    Well, sort of.
    There was no provision for adjustment designed into the tuners, they are very simple technology.
    What sometimes happens to make them difficult to turn is poor placement or severe wear to the peghead bushings. The tuner post must hold string tension, and without the support of the bushing in the front of the peghead, string tension pulls the post laterally until the worm gear and the post bind on the tuner plate. If the bushing is too far toward the nut relative to the tuner plate, that can happen. Similarly, if the bushing is severely worn the same binding can happen.
    It is occasionally (though not often) possible to shim the bushing in the hole to move it away from the direction of string pull and thus align the gears better.
    The luckiest thing would be to find worn bushings on the offending tuners. They can be removed (after heating them to avoid removing finish with them), turned and replaced. That puts a fresh, unworn portion of the bushing against the string post and that can help. In reality that seldom works, and often tuners that are particularly difficult to turn have worn gears and there is not much that can get them working really well again.

    BTW, loosening the screw holding the gear sometimes helps because that increases the space between the gear and the shoulder of the string post so that the post can be pulled farther laterally without binding.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    Sometimes, you can get minor improvement by taking the tuners apart, lubricating the bearings, worm gear, and under the round gear, and very carefully deburring any sharp edges on the gears. Sometimes when these old tuners start to bind up, they are nearly impossible to fix, unless somebody else knows something that I don't.

    The Stew-mac Golden Age replica tuners are a drop-in replacement for the originals, and will work well. Be sure to lubricate them before you install them.

    By the way, I just read Hostetter's article on tuner maintenance, and I would never recommend using a peg winder of any type on these old Waverly tuners. There is too much risk of bending a shaft, which will only make matters worse.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jul-24-2018 at 1:37am.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    I'm quite positive string/peg winders are a bad idea! When I change strings all my stuff is from the 20's-30's and I feel by hand is the way to go! You ever try to find F-5 worm over gear tuners! Not likely to happen so take care and be gentle!
    John Hamlet is correct about the tension over the years on those bushings on the peg head, some and I've even seen this on F-5's from the 20's-30's, they are drilled wrong, and that puts so much strain on everything. You can tell by just looking at the tuner alignment and when ya see one side higher or lower than the other, some is just a small difference but still not right. That will wear everything out overtime, I just took apart a 1924 A style Waverly, silver engraved, pearl button set-Just like the Loar F-5 sets you see but for an A model, I picked up at a deal because on each side the button post was broken off where the screw would go through the button, so I'm getting them converted to Loar F-5 tuners, well anyway I took all apart to see if the backing plate holes were ok, by ok I mean not any bigger/oblong from the tuner posts over the years moving/grinding away-that would be one thing to look for on any old tuner that has issue.
    I'm a believer if you have any nice old Gibson be it an A or the F-5 model, make sure the tuning machines are in great working order and if that means sending it away to have someone like David Harvey, John Hamlet, Gary Vessel or the like that knows old restorations on these old Gibson's plug and re drill the correct way, do it! You don't want your original tuners to falter, if you are lucky enough to find original replacements they will not be cheap!, for sure the late 20's-30's F-5 tuners as there is yet a "Golden Age" or Waverly replacement. "I've been on Stew-Mac along with a few others to start making the worm over gear tuners as many old Gibson's could benefit from this be it the plain F-2's-the engraved F-12's and F-5's, Actually the prewar F-12's have the same tuners that an F-5 of that era would have, Stew-Mac already has the correct bump ends plain and engraved for guitar" David Harvey said to me that they are getting close to maybe making them so that will be great for fans of the late 20's and 30's Gibson's. Or repairmen to enhance a resto job with nice original style tuners rather than what the only other worm over gears that I know of, Grover or Schaller's?

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    Paul's page has been used as a standard for servicing these tuners for years. I wouldn't hesitate to follow that time honored advice. Perhaps those with better ideas might serve the mandolin and musical instrument public by creating their own pages so that your knowledge of the subject can be preserved for the future. That is the beauty of the Internet. It's a resource that if maintained will serve to help the people not yet born that will be trying to keep these instruments alive when they are old enough to play them.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    Billy, Are you sure you mean worm over and not worm under gear tuners...I see a lot of tuners that are worm over...didn`t the Loars have the worm under the gear....

    Willie

  9. #8

    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    I loosened one of the end screws, the gear moved a bit, then I retightened the screw. BIG improvement.

    Any suggestions or procedure to adjust?

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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    If it has improved and the screw is not loose enough to work its way out, call it a job well done and leave it alone.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    Hey Willie yes I mean the worm over the gear tuners as found on Gibson's starting in late 28 early 29, They don't make replicas as of yet but I believe they "Golden Age-Waverly" will as they both have the bump end plain and exact engraved like the F-5 but for guitar. There are many Gibson's that this would benefit.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Adjusting Handel tuners?

    Understand! Leaving it alone!

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