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Thread: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

  1. #1

    Default Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    Does anyone know if there is an "easy to install" set of replacement tuners for this model of Mandolin ?

    The stock tuners are very stiff and tuning is hard work (I am a guitar player).

    I hoped the tuners would loosen up after playing for a while, but they are still very stiff after year....

    I installed GOTOH 510s 1:21 ratio on my Taylor guitar and they are the excellent.

    thanks for any advice

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    I've put Grover 18 to 1 tuners on Eastmans with good results. https://www.ebay.com/p/Grover-309n-a...d=401608000595

  3. #3

    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    Grover 309 18:1 are the highest ratio (and fortunately not the highest price) tuners out there for mandolin.

    They are almost a drop-in replacement.

    Easiest install is like this:
    - leave the old bushings.
    - just use the screw holes that fit (one on each tuner will be left unscrewed).

    It's only slightly harder than a string change if you do it like that (I have done this on all 3 of mine).
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  4. #4
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    There are two things you need to know when replacing mandolin tuners. You need to know the spacing on the posts center to center and you need to know if the tuners are worm over or worm under. If your tuners look like the ones in this picture they are worm over.

    You'll need to measure the posts center to center to see if they are .906 inches (23.01 mm). If the measurement is right then you simply need to find a set that fits. The screw holes may need to be re-drilled if they don't match up. You can't just assume that any set of tuners will fit as some of the imported mandolins built by well known companies have started using some off size tuners.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    Thank you for the replies: very helpful.

    My Eastman mandolin tuners are "worm-over".

    Will I notice a big improvement with the Grover 309s1 ?

    I guess my question is: are Mandolin tuners generally a lot stiffer than guitar tuners? This is my first mandolin, so I am not sure what to expect, thanks.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    I also came from the guitar world and was similarly surprised. The 309s make things a lot better, but not as good as a 24:1 guitar tuner. I found them to be enough that tuning was no longer hampered by unforgiving tuners. If they made 24:1s for mando I would put them on.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    Yes the 309's work fine and hold their tuning well.

  8. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    ...If they made 24:1s for mando I would put them on.
    Grover made them back in the late 60's. They were awful.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    Quote Originally Posted by TontoZed View Post
    I guess my question is: are Mandolin tuners generally a lot stiffer than guitar tuners? This is my first mandolin, so I am not sure what to expect, thanks.
    There are different things that make mandolin tuners stiff. One of them is the holes that were bored for the post. Get them a little off and the tuners become almost impossible to turn. The other is that they are just tight. Some folks will hook them up to an electric drill and turn them until they wear in a bit. Me, I'd rather they worked from day one.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Replacement tuners for an Eastman MD404 ??

    thanks for all the replies. I will check out the Grover 309s

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