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View Full Version : Whats your favorite tuning machine?



oudin
08-29-2014, 03:42 PM
Whats your fave tuner? Something classic, something standard, something custom, something wild? Right now, I'm in love with my Gilberts. 70360

wickedwahine11
08-29-2014, 03:55 PM
Right now the Gotoh UPTL.

Ukejenny
08-29-2014, 05:20 PM
My favorite tuner ever is a Seiko tuner/metronome that I bought a long time ago. Most accurate thing I've ever used to tune with. They aren't made anymore, so I rarely use it, but it is wonderful.

Steveperrywriter
08-29-2014, 05:29 PM
Got Robson's coming on the next tenor.

70402

Nickie
08-29-2014, 06:11 PM
The tuners on the uke: I'm kinda getting used to my old type friction tuners on my favorite uke. My buddy Tammy's dulcimer has planetary tuners, I love em!

The tuner I clamp on my headstock: my strobe tuner.
2nd choice: my piano, it never goes out of tune

Not being a smartass, I just wans't sure which kind of tuners you meant....

janeray1940
08-29-2014, 06:31 PM
Seconding the Gotoh UPTs.

For those unfamiliar with the term "tuning machine" - it's the tuners you turn to tighten or loosen the strings, not the device you use to check if your strings are in tune. Also called machine heads, gear heads, tuning keys, or pegs (and probably a couple others I've forgotten or never heard)... and tuners, which only confuses things more as that is used for both the keys and the device. Clear as mud? Then my work here is done :)

billten
08-29-2014, 06:38 PM
My choice is the new shorty version of the peghed so minimalist, they look great IMO and work like a charm...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-29-2014, 06:45 PM
I'll toss another vote in for the Gotoh UPTs. Nice styling and the finish and precision of tuning is amongst the best. I've never cared for the boxy design of the Gilbert's. Too industrial looking for my personal taste.

dalamaricus
08-29-2014, 10:05 PM
I haven't owned too many different types of tuning machines, and some of my ukes have unnamed generic tuners. The Grover friction pegs on my Flea are surprisingly stable. Pegheds work well and are very light but don't look that fancy due to the solid black color (which may work better depending on the instrument). I have a uke with UPTs on the way, which I'm looking forward to.

Kekani
08-29-2014, 11:39 PM
Hipshot. Made in USA.

peanuts56
08-30-2014, 03:01 AM
My left and right ears.

BigD
08-30-2014, 04:36 AM
Havent had to much experience with different types of tuning machines but i just recieved a pono pro classic and those suckers are smooth as butter. Plus the buttons are considerably smaller than other ive seen which i think looks much classier,sleeker.

BigD
08-30-2014, 04:38 AM
As for friction pegs ive rly only had the ones on my 1950's harmony bari and the koaloha,the koalohas were rly nice looking and also quite smooth

strumsilly
08-30-2014, 05:15 AM
the ones Koaloha uses . The geared black ones on their tenors are smooth as silk, and the etched friction ones on my concert work great and are super classy. anybody know what kind they are.

fynger
08-30-2014, 06:22 AM
planetary tuners......a must for me.

TheCraftedCow
08-30-2014, 06:25 AM
PEGHEDS. The lighest weight internally geared tuner in the world.
4:1 gear ratio....nobody needs 16:1 with a ukulele. Two different shaft lengths so one can have the look of an original wooden peg
(27.5mm) or a more compact model which is only 19mm long.

For those who do not like basic black, some have painted the buttons with epoxy paint or Hammerite in various colours. A couple of high end makers have a piece of thin veneer in the pinch of the button and use thick epoxy glue to hold it in place, then trim the edges to the outside borders of the buttons.

There is a chrome unit about to come into being with ivoroid grips. I have my pre-production sample. They are well done and as light as the black anodized units. Which uke gets 'em...my temporary dilemma.

hawaii 50
08-30-2014, 07:20 AM
Here are some Rodgers tuners....I saw a set on my friends classical guitar....
they are custom and can be used on ukes if you have the money....:) the buttons are the nicest I have seen

http://rodgers-tuning-machines.com/Gallery.html

jla
08-30-2014, 07:33 AM
PEGHEDS - smooth and quick adjustment; lightweight;
pegheds.com (http://www.pegheds.com)

actadh
08-30-2014, 07:34 AM
I second the etched friction tuners on the KoAloha. It is the only bling on my Opio soprano.

Rick Turner
08-30-2014, 10:38 AM
With some of the tuners being mentioned here...and I do like them...you guys are reminding me of the rabid anti-high-end uke folks who have posted in long threads in the past. Some of the tuners referred to...Gilberts and Rodgers in particular...cost a lot more than some people consider outrageous for the entire cost of a uke!

We use a lot of Gotoh "butterbean" style open back geared tuners. I just happen to like them and have them on my main player uke. I also like the Gotoh planetaries and PegHeds, but in the end, what I like are what people want to buy from me. My favorite tuners du jour are whatever yours are if you're ordering a custom uke.

Kekani
08-30-2014, 11:04 AM
the ones Koaloha uses . The geared black ones on their tenors are smooth as silk. . .
They used Grover's in the past, but now have them made, which looks exactly like the Grover geared. That's for their production instruments. I know what they're putting on their Black Labels as an option - Hipshot. But most everyone won't see them.

Yeah, no one needs a 14:1, 16:1 and certainly not an 18:1. If Hipshot had a 14:1, I'd get it. Either way, as Aaron from HMS described them, "Precise." Getting in tune is one thing, staying in tune is another. Are there better tuners? Of course. But I get to say "Made in USA".

Okay, so my strings are from France. . . and my Saddles and Nuts are from Canada. . .

hawaii 50
08-30-2014, 11:08 AM
They used Grover's in the past, but now have them made, which looks exactly like the Grover geared. That's for their production instruments. I know what they're putting on their Black Labels as an option - Hipshot. But most everyone won't see them.

Yeah, no one needs a 14:1, 16:1 and certainly not an 18:1. If Hipshot had a 14:1, I'd get it. Either way, as Aaron from HMS described them, "Precise." Getting in tune is one thing, staying in tune is another. Are there better tuners? Of course. But I get to say "Made in USA".

Okay, so my strings are from France. . . and my Saddles and Nuts are from Canada. . .

way of the subject.. Aaron do you finish your own ukes? if not who?

I saw the last Black Label that Andrew had...the tuners were interesting....:) if they were hipshot they were different color than your gold ones...

Dan Uke
08-30-2014, 12:17 PM
I agree w Aaron and Rick. No need to pay so much for some of these tuners and no need for 16:1 gears. That's why I love the Gotohs UPTs. Only if they made some for slotted I would be set. I got some of the Gotoh Stealth and I don't like them at all. I rather have their normal tuners.

Kekani
08-30-2014, 02:04 PM
way of the subject.. Aaron do you finish your own ukes? if not who?

I saw the last Black Label that Andrew had...the tuners were interesting....:) if they were hipshot they were different color than your gold ones...

I do my own. I like the Hipshot open geared 18:1 (like stated already, not needed), but they also started making a close geared which is a Schaller look alike, 16:1 (KoAloha may have those as well). The closed geared will be my Gotoh replacements. Its the look of the open Hipshots that I like, because pretty much, there are less than a handful I know if that use them. For now.


I agree w Aaron and Rick. No need to pay so much for some of these tuners and no need for 16:1 gears.

Not sure if you got the intent - I actually use 18:1 Hipshots. Like Aaron said on his sound video for HMS, he uses them on his Bass, and I do on mine. I use the Ultralites for the Bass (which Owen Holt uses a version of for his UBass), and make a huge difference in balance. However, I like some weight on the headstock of `ukulele, and geared ones work well.

I think Rick meant something else as well. Gilberts are over $180 a set, which I actually do like - I have a set for an instrument right now. Some tuning machines are not cheap. Even Schallers are pricey for some, but Kamaka installs them. Lets not even go to Waverly's. Ever compared Gilberts to friction tuners? There is a difference.

Sometimes the price is worth it, and sometimes others may think its not worth it. The key is, when it comes to choice, who cares what others think? If you get a $2500 Custom from Rick, then at the last moment want to add on Waverly's, I'm sure it could be done if its not too late, but the price would now be $2700 (just throwing random numbers out there). Would that be worth it? If your the customer, the answer is "yes".

Rick Turner
08-30-2014, 03:09 PM
My point, really, was that I felt like I was getting reamed a few months ago by at least one advocate of cheap-ass ukes for daring to suggest that it's perfectly legit to pay more than $500.00 for a uke. There was a wave of anti-hand-made uke sentiment that I, frankly, found rather off-putting, so it's with some degree of amusement that I see a thread advocating or at least talking about tuning gears that cost more than a lot of the habituees of the UU feel is proper to spend on an entire uke. So here we are mentioning Gotohs, and Gilberts, and Hipshots, and Rodgers http://www.rodgers-tuning-machines.com/ (start at about $400.00 for a cheap uke set!), and I'm sort of waiting for the Thrifty People's Police to show up and start ranting about how decadent we are.

So what do you need? Well, most planetaries are 4:1, though Bill Rickard, a banjo parts maker in Canada, is working on 6:1s. From my point of view, if you can't tune your uke with 4:1 tuners, then either you need to polish the nut slots better or practice more. Geared tuners tend to start at about 12:1 and go up from there. I see no great advantage to the higher gear ratios, but I personally like the way geared tuners look on my particular peghead. The fact is that with my personal uke, I hardly ever have to tune it very much once the strings are broken in.

I've used PegHeds and like them a lot; I have them on my S.S. Stewart "Lady Stewart" 5 string banjo which I keep strung with nylon strings. I may choose to use them on another personal uke. The new small Gotohs look just great, too, and they certainly are light weight. For slot head ukes, I love the Rubner tuners from Rosette Guitar Products, and we used a custom set on a banjo for my son, too. They're beautifully made, turn well, and just look right. They'll also do custom spacing on the plates...a big plus...and they'll make custom numbers of strings per plate. You want a nine string slot head uke? Rubner tuners. I've used Gilberts on some guitars, and mechanically, they're a wonder, though they certainly don't look traditional.

As to what we use the most, and all that, well most of our ukes are not in the $2,500.00 range. Interestingly, most of the ukes we sell retail in the $1,600.00 to $1,700.00 bracket, though we make ukes down in the $1,200.00 area, too; we just don't sell many. It seems that if folks can afford a $1,200.00 uke, they can afford a $1,700.00 uke with more detailing and custom US made features. Fine by me.

What we normally use is 4 tuners out of these 6 string sets: http://www.allparts.com/search.asp?search=&keyword=Gotoh+Butterbean (TK-7810-001 Gotoh 3x3 Open Gear Keys Nickel) these being fairly typical. We often go with some of the plating upgrades...Gotoh's "antique" nickel and gold are really gorgeous. So we're in at about $65.00 to $80.00 (retail) worth of tuners on a uke. And yeah, that back to being what some folks think is the right price for an entire uke!

Some of the high end of tuners are really about being beyond just gear ratios and smooth turning; they're jewelry, and there's nothing wrong with that. So is Chuck Moore's fabulous inlay work. Why not have well crafted and artistically made stuff in your life?

Dan Uke
08-30-2014, 03:28 PM
haha. Sorry for the misquote. I don't need 16:1 gear as the UPTs are plenty good for me and very affordable. Secondly, the Grover, Gotoh, and Robson or is it Rubner I'm getting and the most expensive is $110. They should all work well. I'm more than happy to pay for the labor to construct a uke but I don't need $200 plus upgraded tuners. Costs add up...just like I wouldn't buy an Ameitagw case due to the cost.

Kekani
08-30-2014, 04:58 PM
Thrifty People's Police. Love it.

Rick, personally, I'm glad you still hang around, and share your vast knowledge. Even more so, I appreciate and respect your perception, which may offend some, but hopefully grounds others (myself included).

Steveperrywriter
08-30-2014, 05:24 PM
"Some of the high end of tuners are really about being beyond just gear ratios and smooth turning; they're jewelry, and there's nothing wrong with that. So is Chuck Moore's fabulous inlay work. Why not have well crafted and artistically made stuff in your life?"

I believe this is the crux for me, Rick. I dunno how many of us "need" a handmade, high-end uke, but it does seem as if a fair number of us "want" them. And if I am gonna plunk down enough to get what might be a lifetime instrument from a luthier who takes pains to do it well, I am also willing to spring for tuners that are equal to the rest of it. It's not about whether I need the higher ratio gears, but that they bring me pleasure when I use or look at them, in the same way as the rest of the instrument will. If I can swing it, then why not?

This is in no way looking askance at somebody who is happy with their less expensive ukulele, nor those who can afford stuff far beyond my means. We all have to deal with the realities of life and money, and you do the best you can with what you got. I have found that buying the best quality I can manage serves me well in the long run.

stevepetergal
08-30-2014, 06:46 PM
I like tuning machines that offer the highest gear ratio. If they made them 100/1, I'd probably love it. But, after having Gotoh UPT tuners installed on a new, custom ukulele, and after getting used to the relatively low (4/1), I think I've found my favorites. The 4/1 is good enough to get accurate tuning with minimal time investment, they work very well, and they look really great without taking up any space. They don't distract from the looks of the instrument, and they're plenty light.
I bought a set and replaced the 14/1 Gotoh tuning machines I had put on my Koaloha. For me, that's quite an endorsement.

Ukulele Eddie
08-30-2014, 07:59 PM
"If they made them 100/1, I'd probably love it."

Well, you'd probably never want to change strings... ;-)

I tend to prefer rearward facing tuning machines (vs. "ear style") because it makes the headstock look cleaner. Been very happy with the Pegheads I've had -- and especially appreciate their lightweight. I'm sure I'll eventually try to the Gotoh UPT's, too. Can't imagine wanting anything more than 4:1.

bborzell
08-30-2014, 09:16 PM
Gotoh Stealths. Into 2 years with them on my MP tenor. Smooth, east to get into and stay in tune. My next custom will get Stealths.

mm stan
08-30-2014, 10:33 PM
Thrifty People's Police. Love it.

Rick, personally, I'm glad you still hang around, and share your vast knowledge. Even more so, I appreciate and respect your perception, which may offend some, but hopefully grounds others (myself included).

Ha Ha Only thrifty police....Rick was trying to be nice I guess...

Rick has a valid point, that some who post and purport their intelligence from what they read rather than from
actual fact...validity counts in the real world through experience...me included

Strumdaddy
08-31-2014, 12:31 AM
I was enamoured of Gotoh SG381's, especially the gold ones with amber buttons - 16 to 1 gear ratio, and put them on a couple of tenors. I still love them, but tried the Gotoh planetaries on a concert and a couple of vintage ukes and find they work great (who needs more than 4 to 1 anyway), are well made and look good to boot.
I have envisioned my dream custom uke, and in the vision it has palm tree inlay on the head-stock, stunning stripey koa, a label with an Hawaiian girl strumming a uke inside (visible through the side port), and........ Gotoh planetary tuners!!!... and visions never lie.....

Pundabaya
08-31-2014, 02:17 AM
Do they turn smoothly? Do they hold tune? If the answer is yes to both, I like 'em. Couldn't tell you who made the tuners on any of my ukes, but they all work.

dkcrown
08-31-2014, 02:49 AM
Got Robson's coming on the next tenor.

70402

Off topic, but great looking rosette Steve. Who's work is it? Redwood top?

Steveperrywriter
08-31-2014, 07:31 AM
Dkcrown --

Yep, redwood top, and about ten different woods in the rosette, snakewood-bound sound hole. By Beau Hannam, who has several in-progress for UU members. He has a private page for his uke clients on FB where he posts images, over which we collectively drool ...

Ukejenny
08-31-2014, 09:40 AM
I answered with tuners and not tuning machines - sorry. I have to admit I like the geared tuners on my KPK and Ohana concert. I would like to change out the friction tuners on my Ohana soprano to Gotoh UPT's. And the next ukulele I buy, I'd like to have Gotoh UPT's on it.

TheCraftedCow
09-01-2014, 06:49 AM
PEGHEDS - smooth and quick adjustment; lightweight;
pegheds.com (http://www.pegheds.com)

You can get them for a better price from www.pegheds.net. Chuck makes them, so unless you order in large quantities, you pay full retail for up to 10 sets. I do not have to split my time between making and selling, so my "profit margin " is the same amount of saving for the buyer.

BlueLatitude
09-01-2014, 11:16 AM
I like the pegheds on my first custom uke well enough that I am getting them on my soon-to-be second custom. I'd like to try the Gotoh UPTs though. I might eventually get some to replace the friction tuners on my Pono soprano.

Brian W
09-04-2014, 08:20 AM
I know planetary tuners, such as Pegheads, are all the rage right now, but I still prefer using a good quality friction tuner on my sopranos. My current favorite are the Gotoh deluxe friction tuners; they are really smooth with no slippage.

Kevin B
09-04-2014, 10:49 AM
Being primarily a banjo player I prefer planetary tuners. In the uke world that would be Gotohs. For regular banjos several companies are available. I like Stewart McDonald Five Stars and have Waverly pegs from them on my Gibson RB3.

Tootler
09-04-2014, 12:04 PM
My banjo uke has planetary tuners. I don't know what make they are but they work very well. I also like friction tuners but the planetary tuners certainly make fine adjustments easier.