View Full Version : difference between friction peg and sealed gear tuners?

08-01-2009, 03:04 AM
i'm just about to buy my second uke and want to get it just right because i'm spending a lot of money (for a poor student). I think i'm going to go for the mainland mahogany concert. I've heard very good reviews and i think it looks beautiful. Just a quick question though, one of the options is either friction peg tuners or sealed gear tuners. What's the difference? I'm assuming the cheap uke i have now has friction peg ones which seem fine to me. I don't know whether to go for gear ones and whether the look different? Thanks.

08-01-2009, 04:34 AM
Those are the two major types of tuners available on Ukes.

Friction tuners (as you are already experiencing) stretch the strings way more than Geared tuners. One tiny turn, and boom - you're a whole semitone up.
Friction tuners are the more traditional ones (I think) and some people prefer that look.

Advantage of Friction Tuners:
Weigh Less, don't portrude out of the headstock.
KenMiddleton often says that Friction tuners reduce the weight of the head of the instrument, making it easier to hold.

Disadvantage of Friction Tuners:
They are more difficult to tune with, since they change the pitch of the strings by a lot with only a little bit of turning.

Geared tuners have cog wheels that turn with the peg, allowing for the pitch of the strings to be adjusted at a slower ratio. They can either be sealed (covered up) or open (you can actually see the cog wheels).

Advantage: Generally easier and more convenient to tune with.
Disadvantage: Added weight.

Personally I would go with the sealed gear tuners.
I have both types and find the Geared much more convenient and easier to tune. The Friction tuners always get on my nerves, because I'm impatient.

But it's all a matter of preference :)

Congrads on getting the Mainland.
I have heard GREAT things about them.
I was wanting to get one as well (as a poor student), but couldn't afford it. Hopefully in the future sometime :D

08-01-2009, 06:37 AM
One more thing. A geared tuner 'holds' the tune longer because of the gear. A friction tuner, if the string tension is great enough will untune at a much faster pace. Normally it is not a matter with a soprano, whose strings are not under that much tension, but get up to a tenor size and geared tuners are almost a necessity. A concert is in the middle ground. I say go with the geared tuners, even if they cost more. The time you save on tuning every half hour will more than make up for it.

08-01-2009, 01:41 PM
I have no other way to put this....

Friction tuners are the worst! I hate 'em. Precise tuning is a nightmare, especially if you're playing with someone and just need to fine tune a string quickly. There is NO fine tuning and certainly nothing quick about it. If you're a student, then learn this now. Use geared tuners. They're cheap and you will always be happy.

08-01-2009, 02:20 PM
There have been many disscussions about this topic. Some people hate friction some like them. I personaly am indifferent. My first uke has friction so I learned on them and they don't bother me.

Here is my little take.

Friction tuners are a 1:1 ratio. When you turn the knob you turn the top the same. It can be tricky to tune if you have never done this. If they are set up properly they will not de-tune the uke. They are a more traditional looking style and weigh less then geared tuners.

Geared tuners have a gear and a ratio of 13 or 14 : 1. So to turn the top, where the string is attached you will have to turn the knob 14 times. These are heavier. A lot of people that have a guitar background prefer them. They are also easier to get a presice tuning.

Geared can be sealed or open. Open show the gears and sealed don't.

There are also pegheads but I am not to familiar with them

Hope this helps.