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View Full Version : A question about open-geared tuners



RobTomes
09-26-2014, 07:10 AM
Hi everyone,

I hope this is the correct place to post this query. I recently bought a Kala ASOV-C, which I am falling in love with. I've been soul searching for the right strings because I think the stock aquila's were not quite right for the uke. Right now I've got a set of Worth medium browns, and like them quite a lot.

Anyway, my question is do open-geared tuners require a lubricant, and if so, can anyone recommend a lubricant for open-geared tuners? This Kala comes with open-geared grover tuners, which look great, and are really light. However, not all of them turn as smoothly as I'd like. I assume that open-geared tuners require lubrication, but I'm not sure what to use. I've read some recommendations to use Tri-Flow, but thought I'd ask here before buying/using anything. I'd like to avoid any mishaps from using the wrong stuff on such a nice uke. Thanks!

gyosh
09-26-2014, 08:15 AM
I'd ask a luthier but StewMac suggests this: http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online_Resources/Tuning_Machines/Lubricating_guitar_tuners.html

Ukejenny
09-26-2014, 08:19 AM
I would probably use just a teeny tiny bit of key oil (used for woodwind instruments) that I already have around the house. I rarely ever use it on my woodwinds, though, as even a 10th of a drop goes a long way. So, I would apply so very sparingly.

strumsilly
09-26-2014, 11:49 AM
I would probably use just a teeny tiny bit of key oil (used for woodwind instruments) that I already have around the house. I rarely ever use it on my woodwinds, though, as even a 10th of a drop goes a long way. So, I would apply so very sparingly.
that's what I use too, but just because it's around. I'd feel comfortable using a drop of any light oil.

UkerDanno
09-26-2014, 01:01 PM
I'd ask a luthier but StewMac suggests this: http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Online_Resources/Tuning_Machines/Lubricating_guitar_tuners.html

notice they're talking about old tuners with "50,000 songs" on them...so, try not to worry too much about it until then.

kypfer
09-26-2014, 01:11 PM
I never feel comfortable using oil near wood, (yes I know it's used in wooden flutes and the like), I'm always worried about staining ... the oil getting into the grain of the wood, as it might do in the hole where the tuner goes through the head.

In woodwind instruments, oil is deemed appropriate to seal the wood and is used fairly extensively, so any staining would be fairly widespread and seen as nothing unusual.

I usually use a little graphite dust in open-geared tuners, just brushed on with a fine paint-brush, exactly where I want it and nowhere else. I usually find it appropriate to slacken the string well off before any lubrication, that way there's room for a bit of "wiggling back-and-forth" to allow the minimum amount of lubricant to penetrate. For tuners actually binding on the wood, if a little judicious sanding/filing seems unappropriate, a smear of beeswax usually works for me.

Probably me just being over-cautious, others don't seem to have a problem, but, as they say ... YMMV :)

PhilUSAFRet
09-26-2014, 01:43 PM
I would expect them to "smooth up a bit" with use. I'm sure they are relatively rough cut compared to much more expensive geared tuners.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
09-26-2014, 01:56 PM
Try backing off a bit on the screw that holds the gear. Even with new tuners you shouldn't oil of any type.

itsme
09-26-2014, 02:00 PM
I have several ukes with open-geared tuners and have never had to do anything to them.

But here's an article I found that might help.

http://www.lutherie.net/tuner.maintenance.html

gyosh
09-26-2014, 02:02 PM
Try backing off a bit on the screw that holds the gear. Even with new tuners you shouldn't oil of any type.

That was my belief too . . . and then I did a little google search and found the thread on Stewmac's site. I had one tuning machine that was a little tight and I just backed off on the screw a tiny bit and it works fine now.

thanks Chuck

RobTomes
09-28-2014, 05:41 AM
Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies. I was definitely leery about using any kind of oil on the instrument...I just wanted to make sure I am caring for the instrument properly. I'll leave them alone for a while and see if they get easier with time. If not, I'll try adjusting the screws as needed.

Just a fan
09-28-2014, 11:48 AM
Try backing off a bit on the screw that holds the gear. Even with new tuners you shouldn't oil of any type.

Great advice! I just tried it with a sticky E string tuner. Yay!

Rick Turner
09-28-2014, 08:21 PM
TriFlo...works great...leaves a dry Teflon powder on the gear, worm, and bearing surfaces. I use it in the post to bushing bearing surface, too. And if tuners are stiff, try running them in with no strings on, and using a cordless drill or screwdriver with a string winder to spin them after lubing them sparingly. Works wonders with cheaper tuners, too.

SonSprinter
09-28-2014, 10:45 PM
The problem with oil is that it attracts dust. And in time dust retains moisture. I have had chrome parts that I believe have gotten what I call, those "dust corossion spots," from dust just being left to sit. You may want to try a small pint brush, and apply some "dry lube," like maybe even silicone.