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Thread: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

  1. #1

    Default Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    I ordered set of Schaller Grand Tune keys and right out of the box they seemed very tight but I installed them anyway thinking they may loosen up in time. I did notice there are adjustable bushings which keep tension on the shaft and I believe if I could back them off a bit this would give a less tight movement. However, a special tool would be needed to make this adjustment. I contacted Schaller and they told me no tool is available. I guess I'll try to improvise in making a tool that will work unless someone has experienced this issue and has a better solution.

    There are great looking and of very excellent quality tuners. It hard for me to believe there is no adjusting tool for them

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    I installed a set of 3+3 Schaller GTs on a guitar build, about 3 weeks ago. I must say that I was very disappointed because they were so tight under tension, especially coming up to full pitch. I applied a tiny drop of silicon grease on the wormgear . They do now seem to be a lot easier, I'm pleased to say. I'm not sure this is a result of the grease or just the tuners bedding in, but just give them a bit of time and yours may do the same. A tiny amount of lubricant won't do any harm too.

  3. #3
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    I know it is small comfort, but StewMac will tell you the pretty much the same thing with regard to Waverly tuners that seem tighter than necessary. But, StewMac would probably offer to send you a free replacement.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Does anyone here know if they are a drop-in replacement for Waverlys?
    I would like to have higher-ratio tuners; never thought that 16/1 was high enough for mando.
    I got a set of Grand Tunes for my D-28, and they were indeed an exact replacement for the Waverlys it came with, bushings and all.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by bgpete View Post
    Does anyone here know if they are a drop-in replacement for Waverlys?
    I would like to have higher-ratio tuners; never thought that 16/1 was high enough for mando.
    I got a set of Grand Tunes for my D-28, and they were indeed an exact replacement for the Waverlys it came with, bushings and all.
    The Schaller Grand Tune for mandolin need a .348 reamer for their bushings. The Waverlys are slightly smaller requiring a .328, so going from Waverly to Schaller should not be a problem. Not exactly a drop in, but close,

    I'm not sure if the mounting screws will line up, however.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Looking at the online photos of these tuners, my guess is that tightness is not so much axial binding on the worm as the more usual lack of clearance to the spur gear. Unfortunately, they seal the screw under a cover so you can’t find out or do other maintenance without probably trashing the little cover. If you do want to loosen the screwed-in bushing on the worm shaft, and can’t make a tiny spanner, a good needlenose pliers should be able to grip it and turn, at slight risk of leaving a scratch. Often, people here recommend exercising tuners before installation with a peg winder to break them in. Lotsa turns, both directions.
    At those prices, these things should tune themselves, IMHO.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    I got a complimentary set and put them on my personal mandolin but later changed back to the Grovers.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    I got a complimentary set and put them on my personal mandolin but later changed back to the Grovers.
    The only tuning keys I have found to be better than Grovers (unless you got the money for Waverlys) are Rubner. Unfortunately, they are still not available for F-5.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by Istvan View Post
    I ordered set of Schaller Grand Tune keys and right out of the box they seemed very tight but I installed them anyway thinking they may loosen up in time. I did notice there are adjustable bushings which keep tension on the shaft and I believe if I could back them off a bit this would give a less tight movement. However, a special tool would be needed to make this adjustment. I contacted Schaller and they told me no tool is available. I guess I'll try to improvise in making a tool that will work unless someone has experienced this issue and has a better solution.

    There are great looking and of very excellent quality tuners. It hard for me to believe there is no adjusting tool for them
    Istvan, I would try lubricating them. Bicycle derailleur lube makes a big difference. Tri-flow is the one I believe Frank Ford recommended. Being a cyclist, I have already Dumond Tech Lite on hand. It's stinky with the fluids involved, so you have to leave the instrument sitting out overnight (or lube the machines before putting it on). I also use those little microtip pipette thingies to get a tiny amount right where you need it.

    I've had Grover 309s on several of my earlier builds and the are wonderfully smooth. Unfortunately, there's no alternative to the plastic pearloid buttons, so they don't look classy. I sprung for Rubners on my last build and they are gorgeous, but in all honesty, the Grovers work just as smoothly.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Stefan - from a quick look at Schaller's lit for the mandolin Grand Tunes, it looks like they would tune in the opposite direction from Waverlys.
    Is that your take too?

  11. #11
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    I have used quite a few of the Schaller GandTune tuners now and they can be stiff if not installed correctly. They are not usually stiff out of the box and if they are, they are probably an early set, Schaller seem to have solved that problem with the latest sets I have. If they are stiff out of the box then I would send them back, they should be smooth and easy to turn out of the box. The earlier sets I had were super critical of hole spacing, and I just about gave up on them, they were such a pain to install. They do improve with a bit of lubrication, as already said. However, the last few sets have been excellent. Very smooth and not stiff out of the box nor on the mandolin. I would be hard pressed to tell them apart from Waverlys. Problem is, it is hard to tell if you have the most recent unless you get them direct from Schaller, and even then there might be a few older sets of the less popular configurations.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by bgpete View Post
    Stefan - from a quick look at Schaller's lit for the mandolin Grand Tunes, it looks like they would tune in the opposite direction from Waverlys.
    Is that your take too?
    They make them in worm over and worm under.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    I have used quite a few of the Schaller GandTune tuners now and they can be stiff if not installed correctly. They are not usually stiff out of the box and if they are, they are probably an early set, Schaller seem to have solved that problem with the latest sets I have. If they are stiff out of the box then I would send them back, they should be smooth and easy to turn out of the box. The earlier sets I had were super critical of hole spacing, and I just about gave up on them, they were such a pain to install. They do improve with a bit of lubrication, as already said. However, the last few sets have been excellent. Very smooth and not stiff out of the box nor on the mandolin. I would be hard pressed to tell them apart from Waverlys. Problem is, it is hard to tell if you have the most recent unless you get them direct from Schaller, and even then there might be a few older sets of the less popular configurations.
    Thanks for all the input guys. I believe I resolved the issue. Years ago I remembered an old watchmaker telling me to mix 3 in 1 oil thinned with lighter fluid and apply just a drop on each gear. I applied this to each worm gear and used my string winder to work each gear until they freed up and move like silk now.These are great tuners, I just wish they came from the factory moving as they advertise- Velvet Smooth!

  14. #14
    Registered User pit lenz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by Istvan View Post
    I contacted Schaller and they told me no tool is available... It hard for me to believe there is no adjusting tool for them
    Funny, how did they assemble the gears in the first place? I, too, am looking for exactly that tool to loosen up the worm gear a bit. I cauciously tried TriFlow on one gear but might need more time to work it in. Any further reports are appreciated!

  15. #15
    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    When Stewmac came out with their golden age tuners, they were stiff. I put valve grinding compound on the gears and turned them for a while with a drill. I cleaned off the gears and used air from an air compressor to blow off the residue. It cleans up the uneven manufacturing process.

  16. #16
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Kelley View Post
    When Stewmac came out with their golden age tuners, they were stiff. I put valve grinding compound on the gears and turned them for a while with a drill. I cleaned off the gears and used air from an air compressor to blow off the residue. It cleans up the uneven manufacturing process.
    That's similar to brand new car or other similar stuff that needs some time to operate at full potential.
    The GA tuners are plated after assembly so the plating is what adds some material to the gears and needs to be worn off to operate smoothly again. We don't know if the Schallers stiffness comes from plating (though these are plated before assembly) in which case loosening of the adjustable would not help bushings or from assembly alone.
    Adrian

  17. #17

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    @Adrian Thanks for that mention of plating after assembly, which is a bad idea both for cosmetics and durability. It’s difficult enough to plate anything with recesses or sharp edges, but the variation in plating thickness, roundness of say, a screw or a bushing, is several to many times the plating thickness.
    I assume that even for the most expensive tuners, there are no actual specifications that relate to tolerances — these items are crude in any sense.
    Interestingly, the uniformity issues relate to electroplate, but not to purely chemical processes, like electroless nickel. Nickel, used on really early stuff, also has good lubricity, but won’t retain shine.
    Mention of cars and other actually toleranced mechanisms: breaking-in, once important, is almost unheard of these days, and good riddance.

  18. #18
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    @Adrian Thanks for that mention of plating after assembly, which is a bad idea both for cosmetics and durability.
    Perhaps not optimal, but many old school tuners have the tabs holding worm riveted to the baseplate so the whole has to be plated together (the cog wheels separately, but the plating adds some material to the teeth as well). I used some 12 or so sets of golden era tuners and never found one set I would sonsider faulty... I always used some oil and turned them with handdrill for a 10-15 seconds at relatively high rpm, just to make sure they work the same all around the gear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Mention of cars and other actually toleranced mechanisms: breaking-in, once important, is almost unheard of these days, and good riddance.
    I just bought a lawnmower and the manual calls for breaking in period of first 10 hours of mowing after that I should change the oil.
    Adrian

  19. #19

    Default Re: Schaller Grand Tune Tuning Keys

    @Adrian. And you should, because that isn’t breaking in; it’s cleaning up an engine that has no oil filter, splash lube and aluminum cylinders. The expected lifetime of consumer grade engines is not much over 100 hours, which is good enough. Commercial grade, ten times longer, and possibly repairable. All the machining swarf is what you need to flush out.
    But, speaking of mandolins, what you or I or a builder would do to something like a tuner would likely be far beyond the bravery level for many people, even experienced and talented players, n’est pas? Even a dab of oil without express approval. No disapproval implied.

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