View Full Version : Peg head or Tuners? (Tenor build)

03-04-2015, 05:05 AM
Trying to decide for my TENOR build

Peg head or tuning machine?

At the moment I have some 'horrible cheep looking plastic' tuning machine things.
So I am looking to replace before I fit!

What and why please?


Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-04-2015, 05:15 AM
Sorry, I don't understand the queation. I always thought tuners were mounted onto peg heads.

03-04-2015, 05:19 AM
Sorry, I don't understand the queation. I always thought tuners were mounted onto peg heads.

Whoops, I'm sorry, my naivety
Is it just peg or machine then?
(Underneath or sticking out to the side!)

03-04-2015, 05:38 AM
I think the question you are asking is, what type of tuners should you use. I see four basic options:

1. Friction tuners: traditional, but not everybody's cup of tea
2. Guitar style tuners: many varieties, include open gear and sealed. Generally effective, but not everybody likes the "ears sticking out" look
3. Peghed brand planetary tuners. These are planetary gear tuners that approximate the look of old-fashioned friction pegs. Effective, more traditional, requires some skill to install.
4. Gotoh UPT planetary tuners. Similar to banjo planetary gear tuners, these also approximate the look of friction tuners, but have a larger gear box than Pegheds. Very good and very reliable.

These are all good choices, as you can see, there are differences. My preference these days is for the Gotoh UPTs, but I have ukes with all of the above tuners, and all work great.

03-04-2015, 06:17 AM
Most tenor ukes that you buy in the UK (made in China usually) are fitted with closed gear machine heads something like these from Ebay:


I have fitted these to my first few tenors and they are OK (it will take approx 2 weeks for them to arrive). There are even cheaper ones and dearer ones on Ebay, some open geared and some closed. If you buy them from a UK supplier they will be the same item at twice the price but you get them in a couple of days. Note they are smaller than guitar machine heads.

The friction pegs you speak of are lighter and favoured by some soprano makers/players. I think here if you buy the cheap ones, you may have problems.

Once you have made a few ukes you might want to change to Grovers. These are open geared but are used by many makers including me. I buy mine from Stewart MacDonald in the US (sometimes get caught at customs and have to pay up, making them expensive). I have never tried Grover pegs. To avoid the risk of paying customs duty/VAT, you could buy from Thomann in Germany or Southern Ukulele in the UK.




03-04-2015, 06:24 AM
Thanks for the advice so far. And also the explanations.

I think the Grover ones from Thoman are the way to go for now.
Good price for my first build! (Or maybe just the stagg from Southern!)

I think the Gotoh are. Bit pricey for me at this stage!
So. Back to 1st question tho! Machine or peg???

03-04-2015, 06:28 AM
I've never tried pegs, but Grover machines are good. I wouldn't use the Staggs, I think they are very cheap Chinese made. Remember postage is often the same for 2 or 3 sets!

03-04-2015, 07:40 AM
Perhaps a 5th option that Rich didn't mention are slotted peghead tuning keys...

Also, I have used the cheap Chinese tuners being sold on eBay. I can say that they do work, don't look that bad, but the gear ratio is crude and the player sometimes gets caught in between ratios which makes fine tuning difficult. This can be remedied by tuning down a bit, stretching the string and then going at it a again, but a player shouldn't have to do this.