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Thread: Taking tuner buttons off

  1. #1
    texaspaul texaspaul's Avatar
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    Default Taking tuner buttons off

    I have a set of F style tuners with pearloid buttons. They have a screw on the end. I am not sure what brand they are, but are very smooth. They have a different screw threading than my Gotohs.
    I cannot get the buttons off even after removing the screws. I tried heating tge button and tuners with a hair drier, they just donít budge.
    The pearl buttons do not look that good on my black face J Bovier. The tuners on the Mandolin are not smooth. I tried smoothing the nut and bridge slots, pencil lead in the grooves and Teflon oiling the gears spinning with a string winder (with strings off). They still seem to catch and jump and are hard to tune, so I want to replace the tuners and put a black button on the new set, but I cannot get the old buttons off. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    I would have suggested heat but it appears you've already done that. Do you want to replace the tuners or the buttons?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3
    texaspaul texaspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    I want to replace the tuners that are on the Mandolin with a set I have on hand, but use the black buttons on them. The new tuners may be Grover’s not sure.

  4. #4
    texaspaul texaspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    I may try wedging a couple of wrenches under the pearloid buttons and pry them off that way.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    Even if you can get them off it would be unwise to assume that one set of buttons would fit a different set of tuners. There are many threads about the compatibility or otherwise of tuner buttons.

  6. #6
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    I think Ray(T) is correct. It's a crapshoot that they'll fit, even if you don't destroy them taking them off. If the tuners are "very smooth", why do you want to replace them?
    Bill
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    There are a number of youtube videos on how to remove tuner buttons with various forms of jigs and levers. Looks mostly harmless. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    Quote Originally Posted by billhay4 View Post
    I think Ray(T) is correct. It's a crapshoot that they'll fit...
    Much better odds with the crapshoot. I'll go out on a limb here and say they won't fit. If I was a conspiracy theorist I would be convinced that tuner makers intentionally make sure that no parts will interchange between brands of tuners. (closer to the truth is that they just don't care what other manufacturers use, they produce their own designs independently and we who want this set of buttons on that set of tuners are just out of luck.

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    If I tried this, after some sweating and cursing and somehow pinching, burning or piercing a finger, I'd get to the last button and break it. I'd then laugh and say lesson learned and pick up a six pack.

  11. #10
    texaspaul texaspaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    The original tuners are NOT smooth, tge replacements are. Well, I used a stack of open end wrenches wedged between the tuner fram and tge button and was able to pry them off no breakage. Plus the old black ones fit the new shafts, a long time frustration of using my hands only to try and pull the button without smashed fingers, no broken nail or bruises. I feel lucky and successful. Now to take tge old tuners off and out the new ones with old buttons on.

  12. #11
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    wow. next time i get into a crapshooting contest, i want you on my side. may the force stay with you!
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

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  14. #12
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    How about some pictures of the tuners? I'm a fan of tuner hot rodding.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  15. #13
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    I had a similar problem with a set of 'Pearloid' Gotoh buttons. I got 5 of them off with no trouble - 3 simply woudn't budge. I eventually used a pair of snipe nosed pliers. I straddled the buttons with the pliers,braced the pliers against the side of the headstock,& slowly levered the buttons off. They came off very easily,& the pressure needed was so little,there wasn't any mark on the headstock.

    What had happened in this case, was because the Pearloid material is actually pretty soft rather than brittle,& the end screws were maybe a tad overlong,which allowed them to be screwed up too tight,the buttons had screwed down onto the wider part of the spindle & had simply jammed. Once levered off the wide part of the spindle,they almost fell off,
    Ivan
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    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    If the OP didn't care about damaging the pearloid buttons, I was going to suggest squeezing them with a vice grip and break them off. I did that when I wanted to change some white buttons to something more suited the the mandolin's coloring.
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
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  17. #15
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking tuner buttons off

    John - I couldn't agree with you more !!. There's no ''standardisation'' for tuner button design,& i suspect that it's because the makers don't want you to be able to retro-fit 'other' makes of button. Gotoh won't even supply 'spare' buttons for their own tuners,they want you to buy the whole set. I mentioned in a previous tuner button post that maybe builders should steer clear of companies that won't supply spares,& that message could be sent to the makers via the wholesalers - no spares = no sales !,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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