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Thread: Inexpensive ukulele tuning machines

  1. #1

    Default Inexpensive ukulele tuning machines

    Bula! We're back in Fiji. Just yesterday we were asked to help a friend restring her uke. We came with our fluorocarbon recipe (Berkley) strings and a tuner ready for action. However, we were taken aback when presented with her uke. It had one operational geared tuner, one geared tuner minus the gear and knob and two tapered twigs with holes. Since the broken tuner occupied the A string position, we were only able to tune up 3 strings. We replaced the C string which had been way too thin and got it to tune. She was happy.

    However, we think we'd like to put together a uke doctor kit since we see these poor disabled instruments frequently. So we are looking for a place we can buy affordable tuners in bulk. They don't have to be the best, since most anything will be better than a tapered twig. Won't it? Anyone have suggestions?

    We've never had geared tuners on any of our ukes, so are there differing sizes or issues that we need to be aware of before we buy?

    One more question: will a friction tuner likely fit in a geared tuner hole?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christie View Post
    Anyone have suggestions?

    We've never had geared tuners on any of our ukes, so are there differing sizes or issues that we need to be aware of before we buy?

    One more question: will a friction tuner likely fit in a geared tuner hole?

    Thanks.
    In order:
    Unless you're a builder (even if you are), StewMac & LMI give multiple discounts.

    Yes, there are a LOT of different sizes.

    Depends on the tuners - you'd need to measure and spec them out.

    Aaron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Derbyshire, UK
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    I bet you could get guitar tuners for less than ukulele tuners.

  4. #4
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    Dec 2009
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    cairns, australia
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    look on ebay. You should be able to get sets for $3-$4
    Liam Ryan.
    Cairns, Australia.
    Stump Jump Ukulele Co.
    Stump Jump on Facebook

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you Aaron. You are the first to give me feedback on the size issues.

    Chris667, Wouldn't guitar tuners likely be even heavier than uke geared tuners? And what about the fit?

    liam_fnq, thanks. The least expensive sets (since these are gifts to replace twigs and we are definitely in the lower 99%!) don't ship to Fiji. I have to ship to US and then forward them, which defeats some cost savings.

    Keep the ideas coming, folks.

    Very appreciated!

  6. #6
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    Feb 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christie View Post
    Chris667, Wouldn't guitar tuners likely be even heavier than uke geared tuners? And what about the fit?
    My understanding is a lot of cheaper ukes use guitar tuners. The big, sticky out "ears" are one of the things people complain about on cheap ukes. I can't see them being significantly heavier though.

    As to sizes, if I could get a lot of them cheap, I'd get a big size and drill the holes out to fit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Cincinnati, Ohio
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    Get these geared tuners from Stewart-MacDonald:

    http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tuners/U..._Machines.html

    If the existing holes are too small, you'll need a small tapered wood reamer to ream out the existing holes just enough so that the bushings that come with the geared tuners will fit.
    Last edited by WhenDogsSing; 05-05-2012 at 10:29 AM.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks for all the tips, folks!

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