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Thread: Screws for tuner buttons

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    Default Screws for tuner buttons

    I teach in a JAM Junior Appalachian Musician program and kids don't pay great attention to the small things, like screws in the tuner buttons on their mandolins. Does anyone know the screw size/spec for those tuners? Some of the mandolins are Michael Kelly and Loars so that may help. I am hoping one size might fit all but...I may be dreaming.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    I teach in a JAM Junior Appalachian Musician program and kids don't pay great attention to the small things, like screws in the tuner buttons on their mandolins. Does anyone know the screw size/spec for those tuners? Some of the mandolins are Michael Kelly and Loars so that may help. I am hoping one size might fit all but...I may be dreaming.
    One size will not fit all unfortunately. Some of us have spent some time figuring out sizes. You need to know the brand name of the tuners or at least provide some pictures so we can ID them.

    Keep in mind that manufacturers change brands of tuners now and again and that some manufacturers change sizes now and again.

    A while back someone sent me an envelope of misc tuner screws. If you want to send me your mailing address in a PM I could send them to you with some others I have. The big thing is not to force anything. They all look the same but they are not the same.
    "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: Screws for tuner buttons

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but it would sure be easy to believe that tuner manufactures got together and decreed that all brands must use different thread sizes for button screws. In fact, many are sizes so obscure that specialty fastener places can't come up with them! Requesting replacement screws from the tuner manufacturer seems to be our only option much of the time.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Yeah, I remember e-mailing Gotoh to get their screw size. Then I couldn't buy that screw size anywhere. I finally figured out there was an SAE size that was really close to the metric size and it worked. You can run the die for the metric size right down the screw. Did I mention there's only one company I've found in the US that sells that screw? The Gibson Grover screws have a different size than the regular Grover tuners. The Waverly tuners have a different size than either. We were getting quite a few questions about tuner screws for a while, they seem to have tapered off a bit. I carry a small screw driver in my case and make a point of tightening those screws often.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    In my Brit car restoration days, the five different thread types engendered great amusement, including learning that even metric varies with origin. Then, the watch and clock makers seemed to have their own ideas too. So anything’s possible with tuners, but it’s easy to pick up inexpensive assortments of small metric hardware that might help, especially identifying some of the mystery stuff. Sufficient frustration might well even justify re-tapping.

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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Thanks Mike, PM sent. I have fixed enough of these over the years that "easy does it" is the MO. If I could corral the kids and their mandolins and get them to a very good local hardware store, we probably could do it all locally. There is a great store in the next town, but the parents usually have the kids so busy they don't have time for such a field trip. We did an enrichment session on how to change strings and do maintenance on their instruments. Hopefully some were paying attention.

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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    ...If I could corral the kids and their mandolins and get them to a very good local hardware store, we probably could do it all locally....
    As much as that sounds plausible I can tell you that you probably couldn't do it. If you could I wouldn't have been buying screws from a half dozen screw suppliers in the US and a few overseas.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but it would sure be easy to believe that tuner manufactures got together and decreed that all brands must use different thread sizes for button screws. In fact, many are sizes so obscure that specialty fastener places can't come up with them! Requesting replacement screws from the tuner manufacturer seems to be our only option much of the time.
    But then again, all string posts measure about one inch these days, instead of 29/32” (23mms), which would be the „correct” Loar length. (Okay, okay, it‘s not the length that counts.)

  12. #9

    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    I ran into this situation before. although I collect used tuning hardware a lot, no screw in my collection matches the tuner that lost the screw !!!
    I ended up replacing the entire tuning hardware and keep the old one in my collection hoping they could be good use in the future.

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    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    When one of my Mandos gets back from the shop today, I intend to put a couple of pinheads of loctite on each screw.

  14. #11

    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Quote Originally Posted by J Mangio View Post
    When one of my Mandos gets back from the shop today, I intend to put a couple of pinheads of loctite on each screw.
    Or on the shafts ,and forget the screws entirely.

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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Quote Originally Posted by J Mangio View Post
    When one of my Mandos gets back from the shop today, I intend to put a couple of pinheads of loctite on each screw.
    Fingernail polish will work just a well for this, come loose easier when you want it to, and cost less.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Buckingham View Post
    I teach in a JAM Junior Appalachian Musician program and kids don't pay great attention to the small things, like screws in the tuner buttons on their mandolins. Does anyone know the screw size/spec for those tuners? Some of the mandolins are Michael Kelly and Loars so that may help. I am hoping one size might fit all but...I may be dreaming.
    One of the Michael Kelly mandolins that I purchased during their blow-out sale was missing a tuner screw. I wrote to them about it and they sent me 3 or 4 of them. I've used them all since then, they were using Grover tuners, and the thread happened to also work on a friend's Gibson Fern.

    I'd suggest sending Michael Kelly a note and see if they might have any sitting around somewhere. According to their website they still are selling mandolins.

    I had often lamented that my old F-9's Shaller buttons are not replaceable, molded onto the shaft. After I got that MK with the missing screw, I started thinking differently about replaceable tuner buttons and nearly irreplaceable screws.

    It's also worth mentioning, the buttons on my MK mandolins are not very hard and you can literally screw them deeper onto the shaft than they should be. When the screw snugs up, that's just about enough tightening. Loctite or nail polish might be a very good idea.
    -- Don

    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."

    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug
    (plus a large assortment of banjos, dobros, guitars, basses and other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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    Default Re: Screws for tuner buttons

    You can replace Schaller buttons, you just have to work harder at it.

    https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and...ner_Knobs.html
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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