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Thread: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

  1. #1

    Default Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Hello Luthiers,

    I have a contemporary A-style mandolin, which I bought used. The original tuners are Grover 409's. They work well, but they look really cheesy on my beautifully built $5K+ instrument. Normally I'm a workhorse guy, not a showhorse guy. But Stew-Mac is having a 15% sale and free shipping, and I'm tempted. Still...$465 delivered? Have mercy!

    Mae West said, "I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it."

    What would you do?

    Fair winds,

    lostsailor

  2. #2

    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    If you think you will keep the mandolin "forever" I'd go for it. You want to feel good when you play it, right, not cheesy?

  3. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    I resisted the temptation for years. Folks will tell you how there's no reason to buy them and there might not be but when I finally bought two sets someone here posted a statement on my thread that said "The heart wants what the heart wants." I don't regret buying mine.
    "It's comparable to playing a cheese slicer."
    --M. Stillion

    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them"
    --J. Garber

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  5. #4
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    It's not an either or, binary choice - Waverly or cheesy. I put a set of Rubners on my F5 (years ago when you could still get them). I also put Schaller Grand Tunes on my Eastman mandocello. None of these were close to Waverly prices.

    Sonny Morris uses Gotoh tuning machines and they work quite nicely on my hybrid F4 he built for me. Plus you can swap buttons around for a different/better look. The mother-of-toilet-seat pearloid buttons weren't working for me so I replaced them with ebony.

  6. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    I would save a couple of hundred bucks and get a set of Rubners...

    https://www.rubnertuners.com/hauser-...lin%20Machines

    NFI
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  7. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    I have a set on my Huss & Dalton guitar and one on my Campanella mandolin. They are very nice tuners but I would consider Rubners or other quality ones if they fit. I wonder why the Waverly mandolin tuners are so much more expensive than the guitar ones. Yes, there are two extra tuners but the price is well over twice the similar guitar tuners. Anyone have a clue?
    Jim

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  8. #7

    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Thanks to all who replied! Yes, I know Rubner tuners are well worth considering, and certainly less costly than Waverlies. Food for thought.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    As long as the Grovers are working well, I'm in the replace the buttons on the Grovers camp.

  10. #9

    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Good luck finding tuner buttons for Grovers. There lots or Grovers out there yet replacement tuner buttons seem to be hard to come by. If anyone know of a good source I would appreciate knowing. I would prefer ebony but open to other options.

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  12. #10
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    As a frield of mine always said “If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing to excess!

  13. #11
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Nicolo Alessi....
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    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    "Resistance is futile."
    Purr more, hiss less. Barn Cat Mandolins Photo Album

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    I agree that the Grovers are ugly tuners, but just a day or so ago I was removing a set of Waverlys from a mandolin and was reminded that I don't like the looks of them either! Especially at the price.
    I agree with those who have recommended Rubners, or Alessi if you can get them. Either brand offers much more style and attractive detail at a lower price.

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  17. #14
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    My favorite mandolin tuners of all time were Gilchrist's "reworked" Gotoh tuners that he used for many, many years on all his mandolins. They always worked effortlessly and perfectly.

    Perhaps Gilchrist and Northfield should team up and create something we all really need, which is an affordable, dependable set of tuners. The new Gil/Northfield tailpiece is nice, but there was nothing wrong with the Northfield/James tailpiece. Tuners! Tuners!

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Interesting, Iíve always thought that mandolins, for the most part are beautiful instruments. Someone even complimented me on my Rogue-clone the other day.
    But then the metalwork stuck onto the poor mandolin. Like what happened to you, little guy?!

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  21. #16
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Northwest Steve View Post
    Good luck finding tuner buttons for Grovers. There lots or Grovers out there yet replacement tuner buttons seem to be hard to come by. If anyone know of a good source I would appreciate knowing. I would prefer ebony but open to other options.
    I found ebony tuner buttons for Grover mini rotomatics that fit my mandolin tuning machines perfectly. Of course now it shows "out of stock." According to an email I got from them all their buttons are interchangeable. I did a quick Google search and there lots apparently available on ebay, Reverb, etc.

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  23. #17
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    If you get Rubners, get the RMp tuners. There is nothing better or even close at the price IMHO.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  25. #18
    Registered User Doug Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Here’s a vote for “Don’t expect too much with Waverly tuners on your mandolin.” It’s just my personal experience, but it is one real world data point.

    I have Waverly tuners on two Martin guitars and the tuners are SO wonderful smooth, so when I bought a Kimble mandolin with Waverly tuners, my expectation were high. I was surprised and disappointed that the Waverly tuners on the Kimble were NOT that much better than the Grover 309 tuners on my Eastman MD315! I have Rubner tuners on another mandolin and I think they are a bit better than the Waverly tuners (but even the Rubners aren’t anywhere near as smooth as the Waverly tuners on my guitars. I wonder if the difference is the inline construction of mandolin tuners - four tuners all tied together on one plate. The guitar tuners are standalone, so no issue with tolerances.)
    Doug Brock
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  26. #19

    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Thanks all, your generous input is most appreciated. I've decided that I WILL resist the Waverlies, and if I make a swap at some point, I'll probably go with Rubners.

  27. #20

    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    A Footnote: I'm old, and I can't say "Waverly" without being transported to New York City, 1967, Sixth Avenue & West Third Street, and this song: "I met a boy called Frank Mills on September twelfth right here in front of the Waverly but unfortunately I lost his address."

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  29. #21
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    I really like my Waverly tuners, but they came on the 4th Gen. I'm not however planning to upgrade my F5S from the Gotohs. There is a noticeable difference, but I'm not sure I'd be happy with the difference versus the cost.
    Drew
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  30. #22
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Hmm. I have been disappointed with the tuners on my 4th Gen. I was expecting much from the mystical Waverlys, but they seem uneven and not-that-precise. A couple are notably stiffer than the others. I brought it up when the mando was back at the NF shop for some work, but was told that mine are normal.
    Barry

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  31. #23
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Jim - The excuse i've heard for the high Waverly price is the base is one solid piece of machined metal...still doesn't justify the coin.

    A set of the pretty Rubners came from a fellow cafe member and they suit me well enough on the Stanley. There are 4 Waverly tuners on the house O18T tuned octave, and i've found them to be a superior guitar tuner, but not all that inspirational. One nice thing about these Waverly is that Stew-Mac will sell them individually and i could buy just 4.
    Last edited by dan in va; Sep-20-2022 at 10:26am.

  32. #24
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Glassweb View Post
    My favorite mandolin tuners of all time were Gilchrist's "reworked" Gotoh tuners that he used for many, many years on all his mandolins. They always worked effortlessly and perfectly.

    Perhaps Gilchrist and Northfield should team up and create something we all really need, which is an affordable, dependable set of tuners. The new Gil/Northfield tailpiece is nice, but there was nothing wrong with the Northfield/James tailpiece. Tuners! Tuners!
    Did you see this, or are you a mind reader? Looks like the 4th Gen actually comes with these now.
    https://www.northfieldinstruments.com/gotohdeluxetuners

  33. #25
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should I Resist Waverly Tuners?

    I've replaced tuning machines on several instruments. I've used Schaller, Rubner, Waverly, Golden Age, and Grover. 4 on a plate and individual machines.

    The best, smoothest tuning machines I've used are Grover rotomatics - both the mini's and the good old milk bottles. I put some on my 10 string F4 style mandocello, with an F-style headstock. I love them.

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