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Thread: New Eastman Octave tuners?

  1. #1

    Default New Eastman Octave tuners?

    Have any of you installed new tuners on the Eastman Octave Mandolin? The tuners are of pore quality Once in tune the instrument holds tune fairly well, but sometimes I have to turn the key 1/3 turn to hear a change. Some have suggested Grover A-style 309 tuners,
    but some of the dim. on StewMac web site are different. I can deal with one screw hole being different, but if the bushing dim. are off it could be a problem. I would most likely take it to my luthier to be done. I'm just looking for an improvement not the installation of $500 tuners.
    Thank You!

  2. #2
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Bega NSW, Australia

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    Sounds suspiciously like the string is binding in the nut slot. So the problem might not be the tuners. Lubricate the nut slot with some graphite first before you think about changing the tuners.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars

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  4. #3

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    My Eastman Octave holds tune pretty well. Of course, I'm old and don't hear all that well!
    " Give me some words I can dance to and a melody that rhymes" - Steve Goodman

  5. #4

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    Coombe is correct that that effect is string sticking in the nut, but can (less likely) be the post sticking in the bushing, or even more unlikely, a bad gear fit to the post. Easy enough to sort out.

  6. #5
    Registered User Mike Conner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Murphy NC

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    Sounds suspiciously like the string is binding in the nut slot. So the problem might not be the tuners. Lubricate the nut slot with some graphite first before you think about changing the tuners.
    The binding is usually more a problem with the wound strings. As Peter states, and it's easy to do, get a very sharp #2 pencil and rub a little in each nut slot, one string at a time. Spin each tuner a bit before re-installing each string and feel for any binding, etc. without any string load.

    Also, check the screw that holds the capstan gear to the post is snug - if it's a little loose the post can tip in the bushing and bind. A very tiny amount of silicon lubricant between the capstan gear base and the plate can help sometimes.

    These are all pretty simple things to try before replacing the tuners, so perhaps you have already done all this ;-)


  7. #6
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Bend, OR

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    It may also be that the tuners have more backlash than you would like. Does the "delay" in responding that you mentioned happen only when you change direction, i.e. tune down some and then start tuning up, or vice versa? If so, that's backlash, or "slop" in the tuners. It doesn't really affect tuning accuracy because you should always start lower than the desired note and tune up to it. However, it can be annoying. All tuners will have some backlash, but some, like Waverlys, will have far less. I can't speak to the 309s, but I would guess they're better than what Eastman put on.

    If you're changing tuners you probably don't have to change the bushings unless you want to (for example if you prefer the look of different ones). They all function the same, and the tuner posts are pretty much all the same size. Some tuners have longer baseplates, though, so you'd want to make sure they fit on the headstock properly.

  8. #7

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    1/3 of a turn to hear a difference is a lot. Does the pitch jump a big bunch when it finally does move? If so, then it's a sticky nut slot. Andrew's advice about leaving the original bushings is good as tuning posts are universally about 0.250". I read a nightmare post about a fellow who tried to swap out the ping machines on his Eastman guitar only to find out the bushings were glued in, and there was damage to the peghead veneer getting them out. Grover 309s are a very smooth machine, I've used them on several mandolins.

  9. #8

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    Thank You to everyone for your input!
    I just installed a new set of D'Addario's to replace the factory strings and I took your advice and put pencil lead in the slots and a drop of silicone on both sides of the tuners. This improved the situation but they still feel like cheap tuners. Unlike the tuners on my Collings. My daddy always said, "you get what you pay for".
    I will hold off on tuner replacement for awhile and see if they improve with age.
    Over all I'm very happy with the instrument. The workmanship is very impressive for its low cost, and the tone and sustain are again, impressive!

    To the Eastman Stringed Instrument Company.......Raise the price $30 and install a higher quality tuner, they will still Sell!!!!

  10. #9
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    St. Paul, MN

    Default Re: New Eastman Octave tuners?

    Rubner A style tuners fit fine. It's what's now on my Eastman OM.

    Besides string slots at the nut, also check at the bridge. Mine needed to be widened out a hair. And that was before switching string gauges.
    2008 Weber Gallatin F, 2018 Collings MT, 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 1935 Gibson A-50, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305

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