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Skrik
09-08-2009, 08:22 AM
Sounds like I'm trolling, doesn't it? I'm not. Not really, although I know I probably won't convert anyone.

Having decided that my class needs a good old knees up to break down some undesirable inhibitions, I got out my Richwood to use as accompaniment. (I'm not risking my Brüko in the hands of the little horrors.) It's been about a month since I last picked it up, and I am quite disappointed. It is (relatively) heavy, tinny, and difficult to tune convincingly.

But that's not really what this post is about. The Richwood has geared tuners. The Brüko has friction tuners. The Richwood feels top heavy compared with my Brüko, so I tried to balance the pair. The Brüko balances on the 12th fret. The Richwood balances on the 8th fret: four frets closer to the headstock. This makes the instrument more difficult to hold properly, since it constantly wants to dive head first at the floor. I admit that I dislike it, the way it behaves at the moment. I want to smack its bum and send it to bed. (But I won't, since the kids need that good old knees up, and I am not taking my Brüko into the building that they occupy.)

It has not taken me long to get used to the feel of the better-quality instrument. Now I am thinking of making over the Richwood: giving it friction tuners, a better saddle and nut, and perhaps refinishing it as a relic. (The nitro-cellulose finish is the best part -- it will check quite nicely in the freezer.)

Matt Clara
09-08-2009, 09:18 AM
Pegheds (http://elderly.com/accessories/items/PHUP1.htm), they cost too much, but offer the best of both worlds. Light weight, small, but with gears. I suppose the only downside is that Pegheds don't come in any but the one style. It's the classic look or nuttin' at all.

Skrik
09-08-2009, 09:30 AM
Pegheds (http://elderly.com/accessories/items/PHUP1.htm), they cost too much, but offer the best of both worlds. Light weight, small, but with gears. I suppose the only downside is that Pegheds don't come in any but the one style. It's the classic look or nuttin' at all.

The other down side is that a set of four costs twice the price I paid for the ukulele. I actually get on quite well with direct friction tuners.

Bender
09-08-2009, 05:41 PM
Hmmmmm...I don't have any analysis or data to back this up, but do you think the "top heaviness" is really due to the friction tuners? Sure they're going to add more weight but I would guess it is minimal compared to other things like the size of the head and neck, and the weight of the body itself (which counter-balances the weight of the head).

Skrik
09-08-2009, 07:23 PM
Hmmmmm...I don't have any analysis or data to back this up, but do you think the "top heaviness" is really due to the friction tuners? Sure they're going to add more weight but I would guess it is minimal compared to other things like the size of the head and neck, and the weight of the body itself (which counter-balances the weight of the head).

The headstocks are of comparable size and thickness. Also, the body of the Richwood is plywood, and is thus heavier than the solid-bodied Brüko, which adds heft at the bottom end, too. The neck is nato, which should be lighter than the maple of the Brüko. Even so, the Richwood balances closer to the headstock. If it is not the tuners, I don't know what it is.

ukantor
09-08-2009, 10:20 PM
I bought a Kala Travel Uke Soprano. It is a great little instrument, and I love everything about it, except for the enclosed geared tuners. The tuners are good quality items, and work really well, but they are SO HEAVY. I tried to get used to playing the uke, but it was no use. I had to change to lightweight friction tuners.

Before the swap, the uke balanced at the seventh fret - now it balances around the 10th fret, and feels great.

I have other ukes with geared tuners, but the tuners are the "open" type and not excessively heavy. The "enclosed gear" type have the extra weight of the housing, and it is REALLY noticeable on a soprano.

Ukantor

clayton56
09-08-2009, 11:24 PM
I have one uke with friction tuners and they don't budge, it's still in tune days later. All the ones with geared tuners seem to drop 1/2 step overnight.

I still like the geared, but I'm getting used to the friction.

mailman
09-09-2009, 12:53 AM
I still can't seem to get the hang of the friction tuners on my soprano. Tuning the thing is a real chore for me. I'd go with Pegheds in a heartbeat but for the price....

ukantor
09-09-2009, 01:18 AM
"Friction versus geared" has been debated ad nauseum on many occasions. This is just about the weight of enclosed geared tuners.

You spend a few seconds tuning the uke, but hours playing it. If the tuners are having an adverse effect all the time you are playing, as mine were, then best to change them for lighter ones.

Geared v. friction - I don't really care, otherwise. They both do the job well.

Ukantor.

Doctroid
09-09-2009, 03:21 AM
The headstocks are of comparable size and thickness. Also, the body of the Richwood is plywood, and is thus heavier than the solid-bodied Brüko, which adds heft at the bottom end, too. The neck is nato, which should be lighter than the maple of the Brüko. Even so, the Richwood balances closer to the headstock. If it is not the tuners, I don't know what it is.

Hm, I thought I posted to this thread last night, but I don't see it. I'll spare you the details, mainly because I'm too lazy to reconstruct it, but the gist was that by my rough estimate, on a soprano uke a 1-ounce difference in tuner weight (total for all four tuners) should cause about a 1 inch shift in the center of gravity. (Can you tell I do physics?) So however many inches apart the 8th and 12th frets are in this case, if you disregard the other differences, that's roughly how many ounces difference in weight would be needed to cause it.

So how much more do geared tuners weigh?

ukantor
09-09-2009, 07:47 AM
According to my wife's kitchen scales, the enlosed geared tuners weigh 3 3/4 ozs. The friction tuners weigh 1 1/4 ozs.

I must stress that the heavy ones have the gears enclosed in a small casting. The gears are completely out of sight within a gear box. The open geared types are considerably lighter.

Ukantor.

Doctroid
09-09-2009, 10:11 AM
2 1/2 oz difference and I was estimating 3 -- for a back of the envelope calculation that wasn't half bad, now was it?

ukantor
09-09-2009, 10:16 AM
It was very good - I'm impressed! The difference 2 1/2 ozs makes on a soprano is very considerable.

The tuners I took off are high quality things, they work very well indeed. They are very accurate and smooth. Probably be great on a tenor.

Ukantor.