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Thread: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    I know I'm digging up a bit of an old thread, but I recently purchased a set of Golden Age F-style tuners and found them overall a bit stiff as well, and I decided to use a technique that I normally do on new, stiff upright bass tuning machines. Before I installed them on the mando, I brush on a little lapping compound (1200 grit) and give them a spin with a power drill for a few minutes. That seems to induce just enough wear to help them break in and turn more smoothly. I then clean out the compound with window cleaner and hit the machines with just a touch of oil, that seemed to do it, we'll see how they perform.

    I also found the Golden Age black plastic factory knobs very cheesy and cheap looking as well. I ordered the Waverley-style ebony knobs from Stew-Mac and they're a perfect fit, just a little tricky to get the originals off as they're on there snugly.

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Narayan Kersak View Post
    Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    I'm looking for tuners in the price range of the above mentioned brands.

    Are these good tuners? Do they hold up and their tuning well?

    Any thoughts on one over the others? or any other brands around that price range, or even slightly more that you'd advise checking out?

    It's for an octave mandolin. Looking for F style tuners.
    Schaller will start the new GrandTune this year! They will be sooo good!!! Worth to wait a few months....

  3. #28
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    I've been wishing Schaller would upgrade and update for a long time. Looking forward to them. The guitar tuners that they just introduced look great.

  4. #29
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Hilburn View Post
    I've been wishing Schaller would upgrade and update for a long time. Looking forward to them. The guitar tuners that they just introduced look great.
    and they are really good

  5. #30
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Martin, do you work for Schaller?
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  7. #31
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Mike Edgerton-- Good guess! Martin Hense turns out to be a Schaller Specialist Dealer, according to their website, whose link is here. On the one hand, it's good to get some inside information from those in the know. On the other hand, there should be full disclosure of personal financial interests, and a general avoidance of advertising by commercial suppliers in the Forum.

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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Mike Edgerton-- Good guess!...
    It's a gift.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  10. #33
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Schaller will start the new GrandTune this year! They will be sooo good!!! Worth to wait a few months....
    That is good news. I was hoping they would implement the technology in the GrandTune guitar tuners into their mandolin tuners. It is about time they upgraded their mandolin tuners. I can hardly wait to get a set.
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    See below.
    .
    ph

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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Narayan Kersak View Post
    what might be the difference between the golden age and the grover 309's except for looks? The price is the same.
    A huge difference: one is worm-over and the other is worm-under. If you're making a mandolin from scratch, you need to lay out the headstock for one or the other. If you're retrofitting an existing mandolin, there's only one correct choice.

    Stew-Mac's tuners, for some odd reason, are manufactured and shipped without a trace of lubrication. Once you hit them with some Tri-Flow and adjust the cog screw, they work great. Until then, they're stiff.
    .
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  14. #36
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hostetter View Post
    Stew-Mac's tuners, for some odd reason, are manufactured and shipped without a trace of lubrication. Once you hit them with some Tri-Flow and adjust the cog screw, they work great. Until then, they're stiff.
    Another reason is that thay are plated all over which adds material and stiffens the gears. Once the plating wears off they are much better. Using lapping compound and turning them with electric screwdriver is good way to get them perfectly smooth. That's what Mike Kemnitzer was doing with Schallers on his builds.
    Adrian

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  16. #37
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Just confirmed from the horses mouth (Schaller in Germany). They will be offering mandolin tuners with their GrandTune technology in the European autumn. They are already in production.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  17. #38
    Loarcutus of MandoBorg DataNick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Mike Edgerton-- Good guess! Martin Hense turns out to be a Schaller Specialist Dealer, according to their website, whose link is here. On the one hand, it's good to get some inside information from those in the know. On the other hand, there should be full disclosure of personal financial interests, and a general avoidance of advertising by commercial suppliers in the Forum.
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  18. #39
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Also just confirmed by Schaller Germany, they will be offering Perloid, Galalith or Ebony knobs with their GT tuners.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  19. #40
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by mandobassman View Post
    There have been a few discussions here about stiffness problems with the Golden Age tuners. I had a set on a previous mandolin and, while they looked great and held tune just fine, they were very stiff to turn. I thought maybe they would get better after a while but they never did for the 5 years I had them. It didn't bother me enough to replace them, but they were much stiffer than any other tuner set I've used.
    The Stew-Mac tuners inexplicably are shipped without a trace of lubrication, and with the cog screws overtightened. Once you deal with those two issues, they work great. Assuming the holes in the headstock aren't causing friction problems because the spacing is off.

    In fact, nearly any commercially available tuner is going to work great if they're installed and set up properly, even Pings and bottom-tier Gotohs. People really stress too much about this tuner thing.

    Rubner and Alessi make nice machines, but they often look wrong on vintage American instruments.

    And for the record, it's impossible for gears to slip. Strings may slip for a variety of reasons, including bad installation and/or adjustment of the machines, crappy nut slots, and lack of lubrication in the machines. Back in the 1920s, Grover made guitar machines with a 5½:1 gear ratio and they could slip. You could see the button go round backwards as the string tension overpowered the machines. I've also seen 4:1 banjo tuners slip when used for guitar strings. But any machine with a gear ratio of 8:1 or better simply cannot slip. If you think they are, you're looking in the wrong place.
    .
    ph

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  21. #41
    Distressed Model John Ritchhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Alex at Collings Guitar told me that Golden Age used to be called Elite which Collings used before switching to Gotohs. I'm talking mandolins here. Are Golden Age and Elite the same design or did it change when the name changed? On closer inspection and doing some on-line research these tuners on my MT2 O look to be Gotoh MA40's.
    Last edited by John Ritchhart; Feb-06-2020 at 12:54pm. Reason: more info
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    IMHO, it is very rare that a tuner will ever slip, even the cheapest. Strings can be incorrectly wound, nuts can grab strings, and saddles can too. All a better quality tuner can give you is smooth and pretty, which is reason enough to change them. But slipping? Look elseware.

    The gears on my 1913 A1 have what seems like a quarter turn of gear slop, but when they have tension on them, they are solid.
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  23. #43
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ritchhart View Post
    Alex at Collings Guitar told me that Golden Age used to be called Elite which Collings used before switching to Gotohs. I'm talking mandolins here. Are Golden Age and Elite the same design or did it change when the name changed? On closer inspection and doing some on-line research these tuners on my MT2 O look to be Gotoh MA40's.
    I seem to recall a problem with some Elites before the name disappeared from Stewmac's site and was replaced by the Golden Age tuners. Post a picture of your tuners if you want an identification.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  24. #44
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    2009 MT2O tuners. I believe they are Gotoh MA40's

    Upon closer inspection the shifts are not the same length. MF40's? On an A model? I'm confused.
    We few, we happy few.

  25. #45
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    They are definitely Gotoh tuners.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  26. #46
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Thanks Mike.
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  27. #47
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    I believe the model number is Gotoh MA40-G but there is supposed to be another designation for the black buttons and I don't know what that is.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  28. #48

    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    I've used Grover, Gotoh, and Schaller, and they're all good. Each has its fans. Don't know anything about Golden Age except that it's a silly name.

  29. #49
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    Golden Age makes some fine vintage replacements for your old Gibson's! They just need to start making the late 20's-early 40's bump end, worm over gear mandolin tuners! They already have the bump end "plain and engraved" for guitars. I have them on some old Gibson's and they work great, no problems yet.

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  31. #50
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    Default Re: Grover? Gotoh? Schaller? Golden Age Mandolin Tuners?

    It's odd that the shafts appear to be different lengths, but I'd wager that the end buttons just aren't pressed on all the way. They look like standard Gotoh A-model tuners.

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