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Thread: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

  1. #1

    Default Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Does anyone know of a domestic source of mother of pearl tuner buttons that will fit the shafts of a new set of Gotoh F style mandolin tuners? An MC thread on this subject last year had a now-inactive link to Northfield, which so far as I can tell no longer lists these pearl buttons on its site. Pearl buttons that fit the older Gotoh F tuners will not fit the current Gotohs. Any leads are appreciated-thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered User Stephen Cagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I was actually going to start a thread which I think would be the same question. I have the nickel-silver gotoh tuners that come on the Kentucky master models and I'm looking for mother of pearl buttons to go on it. I just want to make sure when I buy them they are right.

    P.S. I hope I'm not hijacking the thread. I believe it's basically the same question. My km-1000 is an 09' model.
    Thanks. Stephen

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I would warn you both off of using mother-of-pearl buttons. I have direct experience with these on some high-end Waverly tuners. Mother of pearl is comparatively brittle, and the buttons made from this material are prone to breakage during use. I have had to make multiple replacements over the years. Waverly has been especially good about supplying these, but they are phasing them out altogether. Other tuner manufacturers are less good about support, and as you have found, designs become obsolete and replacements become exceedingly rare. Also, the holes in these buttons that take the small screws, and holes for the tuner knob posts, are often drilled slightly oversized, leading to some "wiggle" on the posts. If you tighten the screws too much in an effort to reduce that wiggle, you can easily crack the button. Cracked buttons can sometimes be glued back together again, but they seldom hold for long. The best solution for button wiggle is to wrap the knob posts with a turn or two of thin Teflon tape (plumber's tape) to take up the slack and stop the wiggling. Buttons made of celluloid or other plastic, which resemble mother of pearl, are formed from a more flexible material that is far less likely to crack or break. Really nice buttons are also available in hardwoods like ebony or snakewood, like those on my new Rubner tuners. These can be quite beautiful, and they are also less prone to cracking and breaking.

    In short, mother of pearl may look very nice, but it is simply too brittle, and it's a vastly inferior material for use as a tuner button. Steer clear of it, I'd recommend.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I have mother-of -pearl buttons I bought off eBay that were made for Gotoh tuners that have been working fine since I got them. If you are looking for one or two of the faux mother-of-pearl buttons I may have a few left. I've been giving them to people with broken buttons for a few years. I also have mother-of-pearl buttons on two sets of Waverly tuners with no issues.

    If your Gotoh tuners are really old they might have the square button posts. You can use the buttons they sell for Waverly tuners on those. If it's a set of real Gotoh's with 2 flats and two rounds then there were real mother-of-pearl buttons available. The problem is that Saga imported a whole bunch of fake Gotoh tuners that have a different sized button and look pretty much just like Gotoh tuners. You won't know until you measure the sizes of the button stem. Saga is the company that makes Kentucky. Don't assume they are real Gotoh tuners.

    I found the ones I bought.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/23169128422...AAAOSw9r1V-i~F
    Last edited by MikeEdgerton; Jun-29-2021 at 8:18pm.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Registered User Stephen Cagle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Thanks so much for the info! I owned an old ratliff back in 86' and it had real pearl buttons on it. Several were cracked when I purchased it. Definitely fragile. Ironically I was looking on ebay at these very tuner buttons your talking about. I'd like to buy some but probably will get some other type like ebony or the cream colored ones. I do not like the white faux mother of pearl. Can't get them off my Km1000 fast enough.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    A few months ago we had a member that was trying to replace the buttons on their KM1000. They bought several sets before they finally realized that they didn't have real Gotoh tuners. You may be better off just replacing the tuners.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I have had a couple sets of Schaller tuners.. the deluxe gold plated model had MOP slices inserted in the mold they injected the plastic into..

    You, careful observer, can see the difference between those buttons and their pragmatic Pearloid plastic knobs of their main tuner line..

    Mike E got the other set, from me, a few years ago..
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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    I have had a couple sets of Schaller tuners.. the deluxe gold plated model had MOP slices inserted in the mold they injected the plastic into..

    You, careful observer, can see the difference between those buttons and their pragmatic Pearloid plastic knobs of their main tuner line..

    Mike E got the other set, from me, a few years ago..
    If you seek the gloss and shimmering color of real Mother of Pearl, then this strikes me as the way to go. The parts of the button that actually contact the knob post and screw are made of a fairly flexible (not brittle) plastic compound, whereas the parts that you see by eye are pure Mother of Pearl. This manufacturing technique gives you the best of both worlds, and buttons made this way are less brittle, and therefore less prone to cracking and breakage.

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    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Speaking of Gotoh, I really like mine on my Pava. Wow, does that mandolin stay in tune (close, of course)! She does such a great set up, which could account for some of it, but those A5 tuners are outstanding. Smooth to turn and great on pitch.
    2020 Pava Pro A5 Torrefied Varnish
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  11. #10

    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Thanks to all who have replied. I have had MOP tuner buttons for years with no problems. I just replaced a set of Gotoh tuners with pearl buttons that were the original tuners on a 20 year old mandolin. The pearl buttons on the 20 year old Gotohs will not fit the new Gotoh tuners because Gotoh changed the shape of the tuner shafts in the past 20 years. I am reasonably confident that the new Gotohs are genuine because they fit the mandolin peghead with no modification required (thus same measurements as the 20 year old set). Thatís why I am looking for pearl buttons that fit the new Gotohs.

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  13. #11

    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I will try the EBay pearl buttons. Thanks Mike E for the link that you used.

  14. #12

    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    The EBay pearl buttons arrived yesterday. They fit the new Gotoh tuners, more or less. It took a lot of force to remove the plastic buttons from the tuner shafts and to get the pearl ones on. I had to widen slightly the opening on two of the pearl buttons to get them all the way on the shafts. But they look very nice and because they are so snug to the shafts there is no slop in the buttons. I am glad I ordered them but getting them on the mandolin was a lot harder than I expected.

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    Registered User kymandolin29's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I have a 2009 km-1000 also with the plastic pearloid buttons and I dislike the look very much....the tuners appear to b original...id like to get ivoroid buttons and i don't want to order the wrong ones...the shafts are not square...which ones do I want and who has them ? thx

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    Registered User kymandolin29's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I called bob smakula in wv and unfortunatly he does not, or ever has made mandolin tuner buttons.....

  17. #15

    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Picking up on Mike Edgerton's earlier posts to this thread, I just purchased a set of buttons on ebay that the seller, "r.haus" described as take-offs from Gotoh MF40-N-MP tuners. At this writing, he has more sets listed on the site. The return address on the envelope that they came in is Saga Musical Instruments, San Francisco. They fit the Gotoh tuners on my 2021 Eastman 814/V, but a tad sloppily, and the seams are rough. Purely speculation on my part, but rather than take-offs for buyers who wanted to upgrade from pearloid to true pearl as the seller proclaimed, a more plausible explanation might be that these are Saga factory seconds. And FWIW, the seller ignored two messages prior to my buying them in which I asked for a description of the shape of the post holes and one after the sale in which I asked for an explanation of why he or she shipped them via the post office rather than FedEx, as the auction stated. So you might well ask why I dealt with "r.haus" after he or she ignored two requests for information. Well, "r.haus" has 100% positive feedback that includes several praising the quality of these buttons. It seemed safe to assume that "r.haus" was a very, very, very fine haus. (Sorry, Graham Nash.)

  18. #16
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Drellow View Post
    Picking up on Mike Edgerton's earlier posts to this thread, I just purchased a set of buttons on ebay that the seller, "r.haus" described as take-offs from Gotoh MF40-N-MP tuners. At this writing, he has more sets listed on the site. The return address on the envelope that they came in is Saga Musical Instruments, San Francisco. They fit the Gotoh tuners on my 2021 Eastman 814/V, but a tad sloppily, and the seams are rough. Purely speculation on my part, but rather than take-offs for buyers who wanted to upgrade from pearloid to true pearl as the seller proclaimed, a more plausible explanation might be that these are Saga factory seconds. And FWIW, the seller ignored two messages prior to my buying them in which I asked for a description of the shape of the post holes and one after the sale in which I asked for an explanation of why he or she shipped them via the post office rather than FedEx, as the auction stated. So you might well ask why I dealt with "r.haus" after he or she ignored two requests for information. Well, "r.haus" has 100% positive feedback that includes several praising the quality of these buttons. It seemed safe to assume that "r.haus" was a very, very, very fine haus. (Sorry, Graham Nash.)
    That's a known Saga eBay account by the way. I'm assuming they are a sloppy fit because they were actually made for the Saga copy cat fake Gotoh tuners. I have a set of ivoroid tuner buttons I bought years back that fit on my Gotoh's very sloppily but fit a set of fake Gotoh's perfectly. I love Saga and all they've done for mandolin players but I wish they would have just used their own plate designs.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  19. #17

    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Doesn't Gotoh have a responsibility to step up to the plate and complain to ebay? I'll leave feedback for r.haus that reflects the specifics I outlined in my post, but by remaining silent Gotoh is doing a disservice to the people who buy their products. This particular seller states clearly that these buttons came off a very specific model of Gotoh tuner.

  20. #18
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Drellow View Post
    Doesn't Gotoh have a responsibility to step up to the plate and complain to ebay? I'll leave feedback for r.haus that reflects the specifics I outlined in my post, but by remaining silent Gotoh is doing a disservice to the people who buy their products. This particular seller states clearly that these buttons came off a very specific model of Gotoh tuner.
    Actually no. Gotoh would have no idea what Saga is selling and Saga does buy their product for some of their instruments. Saga should know what they are selling. This goes right back to Saga.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  21. #19

    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    I'm not sure I agree, Mike, but rather than hijack the thread I'll leave it here. I'm not going to call out the buttons as fakes in a negative review on ebay because I can't prove that they are and the seller will drag me into a time-consuming brawl at the resolution center which he'll win because he makes money for ebay and I don't. Hopefully, Cafe members will see this before they order the buttons. In that regard, would it make sense to move my post to the ebay/craigslist section?

  22. #20
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mother of Pearl Buttons for New Gotoh F tuners

    People that are looking for information will find it here. There's no reason to move it. I would guess that most people that aren't regular visitors arrive here via search engine.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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