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Thread: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

  1. #1

    Default Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    I recently got a 2011 Collings GTO. Love the instrument but the original tuners are decidedly underwhelming—Gotohs I think? Small black buttons, hard to turn and constantly need adjustment. Just wondering what other tuners would (a) fit the Collings peghead with little or no new holedrilling, (b) fit the indented curve of the peghead sides, (c) actually be a functional improvement in tuning ease and stability, gear ratio etc.

    Seems like the Golden Age A-style are closest to matching the footprint, with the 3-hole,pattern, but are they really an improvement? Reviews seem mixed. Sounds like Grover 309s don’t quite fit on the peghead. That would bug me.

    Schaller? Rubner? What do you pros go for on these? To be clear, I don’t mind drilling screwholes, long as the old ones are covered by the new baseplate.

    I think the current ones are worm-over, that question always confuses me. Button and shaft above post on peghead.

    Your expert input would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Are you sure the problem is in the tuners?
    There can be dozen other reasons for the problems you describe that are not fault of tuners. The tuners are the easiest to blame but in my experience rarely they are the primary reason. Even when they get dmaged it is mostly because they were not installed or maintained properly.
    I would suggestto have someone very experienced look at them.
    Adrian

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    This topic had been covered extensively on this forum. I have a 2012 MTO. It had the StewMac "Golden Age" tuners. Working with Collings, StewMac sent me a replacement set and I returned the originals to them. The replacement tuners are a significant improvement. You might try this before buying replacements.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Constant adjustment sounds more like sticking bridge or nut, rather than tuner, but as said, could be other things. Hard to turn (some, all ?) same, plus poor tuner mounting - holes too big, bushings off center. Luthier should check this for you. Before replacing.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Thanks for the responses. I’ve concluded that the tuners are Golden Age, bright nickel/black buttons, they are exactly as shown on the S-M site. They are functional enough, I just don’t like the feel of them—I’ve been playing for forty years (boy are my hands tired, in fact I could use a nap about now) and this is just me indulging in a matter of personal preference. Specifically I find these tuner buttons too small to be comfortable turning them considering that they are adjusted pretty tight (equally across the board), exacerbated by a wrist-pain issue I am experiencing (about to get that treated). Almost all the comments I have read concerning upgrading on this generation of MTOs (early 2010s) mention the Golden Age tuners. One person switched to Grovers, and just lives with the fact that they don’t fit on the peghead, but stick out at the end a bit. I don’t want that.

    So, my question still stands, slightly modified since I know now these are Golden Age; has anyone upgraded a GTO or equivalent Collings headstock shape model to better-quality tuners that fit and function well? Thanks everyone.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    I assume the headstock is the same size/shape as my MT mandola. That came with Gotoh tuners (their current standard) but they’re not normal tuners. Because of the headstock shape, the outer tuners have longer shafts and I’ve never come across another set of A style tuners with this feature. I’m not sure whether the GAs you’re having trouble with have equal shafts (the only GAs I’ve ever had went in the bin sevral years ago) so this might be the first thing to check. The Gothos on my mandola are fine so you could ask Collings if they can supply a set of these.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Thanks Ray, You bring up a good point. The tuners are equal length short shafts with very little clearance between the button and the headstock at the top button in particular. It’s a little frustrating to me that tuners generally only come in “A” equal-length-short-shaft or “F” style, since in this day and age lots of luthiers like to put their own artistic spin on peghead shape.

    In this case the lack of clearance makes it hard to use a stringwinder without bumping the edge of the peghead a lot.

    I will look into your Gotoh suggestion.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Glad to help. I sounds like Collings originally supplied their mandolins with standard tuners, discovered that they were unsuitable for their concave headstock shape and had to order specials from Gotho. The odd ones certainly don’t feature on the Gotoh website so, if you can’t persuade Collings to sell/let you have a set, you’re faced with finding a set with extra long shafts.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Clearly something of very limited interest, but if anyone wants to alter tuner button shafts - longer or shorter, there should be one particularly easy way to do it, even as one-off. Just sleeve a cut shaft with brass tubing of the appropriate ID. If the shaft is actually removable, and the button too, the attachment might best be done with soldering, but I think a good epoxy would hold well enough for an in-place mod. A very wide supply of suitable tube is available from both metals houses and model suppliers, or the home-shop folks might want to make their own or use crimping attachment.
    Yes, finger access isn’t great with those 1/2” wide buttons on 1” spaces, but my new cheapo tuners have larger buttons, more rounded rectangles. The limit is 1” diameter or personal taste. I don’t even need to wonder what an OSHA-approved mandolin might sport for this function.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Ha, just noticed that I gave into the temptation to call the mando a GTO, a few posts above ;/=.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    I assume the headstock is the same size/shape as my MT mandola. That came with Gotoh tuners (their current standard) but they’re not normal tuners. Because of the headstock shape, the outer tuners have longer shafts and I’ve never come across another set of A style tuners with this feature. I’m not sure whether the GAs you’re having trouble with have equal shafts (the only GAs I’ve ever had went in the bin sevral years ago) so this might be the first thing to check. The Gothos on my mandola are fine so you could ask Collings if they can supply a set of these.
    Hmm...looking at the current Collings A-style lineup on their site right now, it is evident that almost all of the A’s are equipped with the modified-length Gotohs you mention—with the exception of the MTO and the mandola which have the straight-line. I guess you were just lucky there Ray!

    Richard that’s a useful tip but I fear it exceeds my craftsmanship and metalworking abilities!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    This is their MT Mandola - https://www.collingsguitars.com/mand...y&gid=1&pid=10 - and the end shafts look longer to me but they do all look the same length on the MTO Mnadolin - https://www.collingsguitars.com/mand...ry&gid=1&pid=9. Strange.

    I was going to measure them for you but my digital calipers are buried somewhere in the office! I’ll see what I can do. You might find a set where they’re all longer.

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    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    I would call or email Collings, they will get back to you, it may be a little longer than usual due to the current health situation and reduced staffing, but call/email, take some pics and email along with your serial number. see what they are using now, describe your situation, they are extremely helpful and have outstanding customer service.

    d

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  15. #14

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray(T) View Post
    This is their MT Mandola - https://www.collingsguitars.com/mand...y&gid=1&pid=10 - and the end shafts look longer to me but they do all look the same length on the MTO Mnadolin - https://www.collingsguitars.com/mand...ry&gid=1&pid=9. Strange.

    I was going to measure them for you but my digital calipers are buried somewhere in the office! I’ll see what I can do. You might find a set where they’re all longer.
    There’s that too, and I DO have a set with longer, equal length shafts that I like better—but they’re on my Seagull S8!

  16. #15

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by louh View Post
    This topic had been covered extensively on this forum. I have a 2012 MTO. It had the StewMac "Golden Age" tuners. Working with Collings, StewMac sent me a replacement set and I returned the originals to them. The replacement tuners are a significant improvement. You might try this before buying replacements.
    My experience exactly. I purchased a used 2012 MT with the Stew-Mac Golden Age tuners that were an absolute bear to use. I phoned Collings and got told to phone Stew-Mac directly and tell them "Collings sent me". Shortly afterwards I received a new set from Stew-Mac which looked identical to the ones installed, so I was leery they'd be any better.

    I decided to purchase a set of Gotoh tuners, but discovered they weren't an exact drop-in replacement (reference the posts suggesting Collings probably modifies them). Eventually I thought "what the heck" and installed the new Stew-Macs. What a difference. They turn smoothly and work perfectly. They're still on my MT and, for as long as I own this mando, that's where they'll stay.

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  18. #16

    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by billykatzz View Post
    My experience exactly. I purchased a used 2012 MT with the Stew-Mac Golden Age tuners that were an absolute bear to use. I phoned Collings and got told to phone Stew-Mac directly and tell them "Collings sent me". Shortly afterwards I received a new set from Stew-Mac which looked identical to the ones installed, so I was leery they'd be any better.

    I decided to purchase a set of Gotoh tuners, but discovered they weren't an exact drop-in replacement (reference the posts suggesting Collings probably modifies them). Eventually I thought "what the heck" and installed the new Stew-Macs. What a difference. They turn smoothly and work perfectly. They're still on my MT and, for as long as I own this mando, that's where they'll stay.
    No charge? And they knew you bought it used? Wow, you’re talkin my language! Thanks.

  19. #17
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    Default Re: Collings MTO: replacement tuners?

    I should have noted that my MTO was also purchased used. Collings and StewMac both stepped up.

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