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Thread: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

  1. #26
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    Scott, did you ever get a Loar pearl button to work with and an original Handel? Email me and I may can help you some more? Your buttons are looking sweet!

  2. #27

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    William--I met with George Gruhn last week and he let me mando-handle his loars to get a button off and get measurements.

    If anybody has a loose set of loar-era tuners I could buy, a loose lore era button, or loose handels--get in touch. I'd like to get some to add to my research drawer.

    Thanks!
    Scott R.
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  3. #28
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    You're talking a few different things here. The Handels are pre-Loar as far as I know and the buttons weren't removable. Even the removable buttons from the Loar era have some iterations. Take a look through Dan Beimborn's Mandolin Archive under the Search the Collection tab and look for instruments with Images (they are marked). If you're looking for a set of Loar era F style arrow head tuners be prepared to pay. There are some A style arrow head tuners that pop up now and again on e-Bay that will be cheaper. The buttons should be the same.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  5. #29

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    Mike--yeah, I am looking for an arrow end with removable pearl buttons, and some handels (a or f is fine). I'll track some down eventually, but I might not like the price
    Scott R.
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  6. #30
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    You probably dodn't need to buy the Handels. There are some good pictures of the originals:

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/glossary/glossary_63.shtml

    http://siminoff.net/tuning-machines-compared/

    And you will sell more of these with holes in them to fit modern screw on tuners.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  8. #31
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    I have a vintage set of Handel button tuners that came off an old pre 1918 Vega, the back plate is engraved on each side, looks like nickel -I was told a Vega anyway, they are drilled all the way through then pinged over where a screw would be, I wonder if I was to cut the shaft if I could get them off without destroying them?
    These were used on various higher end mandolins besides the Gibson's of the period and unlike the Gibson tuners like I said these are already drilled through-I haven't been brave as of yet! Has anyone here done what I'm thinking about doing?

  9. #32
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    Wow, I've never seen that. I had them on a Joseph Bohmann bowlback several years ago. I probably would have already done what you talking about
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  11. #33
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    I'll see if I can get a good photo of them at some point today well likely tonight as I have a busy day, but yeah I believe I'll try to remove them-I'll have to get geared up/ get a little more courage and hopefully they didn't also glue them but I wouldn't think they would also do that but they seem to be on there pretty darn good!

    I guess it may be time to start scouring evilbay for old busted bowl backs and such-I know I remember seeing handel buttons on some bowl backs-you just confirmed it Mike, were they glued on like the ones that Gibson used? I've seen pearl buttons also on some old mandolins that were drilled all the way through and pinged over!

  12. #34
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    I think they were. I posted a picture of the Bohmann several years ago. I'll see if I can find it. The best part is that I was seeing Bohmann's for years on eBay with the tuners stripped and never knew why. He apparently was fond of them and mandolin and guitar geeks had been buying the bowlbacks and selling the carcasses for years.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #35

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    Thanks everybody for your interest and encouragement of my shenanigans here. I'm sure I'll track some of these down eventually
    Scott R.
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  14. #36

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    I've really been enjoying the beta-buttons Scott so graciously sent me for my Collings mandola! They were extremely easy to install, fit the posts much better than the plastic ones that came off, and look 1000 times classier in my opinion! Thanks Scott!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks,
    Baron
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  16. #37

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    Looks like the custom buttons I made for the Ellis folks for one of Pava's A5's have made their way over to Carters!

    https://cartervintage.com/collection...namm-model-new
    Scott R.
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    2017 Pava A5 Pro - Autumn Burst
    1987 Flatiron F5 Artist
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  18. #38

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    If I recall correctly, about ten years ago, someone around here found a big Mason jar of uninstalled engraved Handel buttons.
    Spruce dork

  19. #39
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    If I recall correctly, about ten years ago, someone around here found a big Mason jar of uninstalled engraved Handel buttons.
    I don't remember that but I wish it was me that found them

    Things like this do happen.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  20. #40

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    For a cello adventure in unnecessary design, I found copious sources online for violin and cello pegs, all from China, and in good looking woods. They come in several head sizes, generally unspecified, and might be cut down and drilled for mandolin tuner use. Could possibly even make tuning slightly easier if a bit oversized. Since I had to cut into these, I found that the wood figure was really there. The tapers are uncut as this is done when fitting.
    My new project mando was missing one plastic button until yesterday. I had a try forming one from aluminum, but lost patience and just put on an electronic knob from the shelves. Anodized, fluted aluminum with two nice tiny setscrews at 90 degrees. Fine for now!

  21. #41

    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    Are you still looking for beta testers for your bottoms? I have a 1912 K4 mandocello which was raped of its Handel tuners before I owned it. It is now equipped with Grotohs . I been thinking about making bone buttons. I have a set of Handel tuners on a 1918 F2 so at least I have a pattern to look at.

  22. #42
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Real Wood Buttons for Gotoh Tuners...

    I just want to sing Scott's praises as I had a late 1800's early 1900's set of Handel button tuning machines that came off an old bowl back, and the buttons were drilled all the way through and peened over, well it turns out they were square shafts so I sent them to Scott and found an exact set on an old bowl back that was for sale for a very cheap price so I sent his way and he bought that old mandolin, anyway he has the correct tools and took his time and drilled mine out/did some tedious filing out of the glue and metal, he put some time in them so now I have a great old set of Handel buttons that could be used on any tuner set with the square shaft, they will work with any old/new Waverly set or Golden Age mandolin tuners with screw on buttons! He did a fantastic job and some serious patience! Myself not having the correct tools more than likely would've butchered them! My hat is off for the work he did for me, I highly recommend his talents if your in the market for any of his buttons!
    I owe him a serious solid for not ruining my old buttons as we both didn't know how they would turn out as this was his first attempt at doing this work, he did a splendid job! Thanks again.

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