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View Full Version : WWYou do? Should I get geared tuners on my Kamaka?



Ukulolo
10-13-2009, 07:02 AM
Have an all Koa 6-string Kamaka from the 70's with friction tuners. I get too frustrated playing it because of the slippage. So I called Kamaka and they told me they could do whatever I wanted, they could install new friction tuners while I wait, or I could leave it for geared tuners.

My question is, the only tuners I've played with are geared tuners (since the ukuleles are new, I guess), so I'd prefer that, but I would sort of be destroying the value of the "vintage" ukulele, wouldn't I? :(

The ukulele has really no sentimental value to me (meaning it hasn't been a family heirloom, I bought it beat up a couple of years ago and had it refurbished at Kamaka) but it's clearly a far superior instrument to any other ukulele I've ever played. Even the tap tone is unbelievable.

So, what would you do? Get new friction tuners installed (and keep the old parts), or screw the tradition/vintage-ness and get geared tuners? :confused:

Thanks!

psesinkclee
10-13-2009, 07:03 AM
Why not looking into Peghead Tuners? They look like friction tuners but have a hidden gear in them to make it easier to tune. ;)

UKISOCIETY
10-13-2009, 07:06 AM
Make sure that geared tuners don't throw off the balance of the uke while you play. Some sopranos I own with geared tuners feel too top heavy when I play them.

Ronnie Aloha
10-13-2009, 07:13 AM
I have a Pineapple Sunday (basically a super concert) and I can definitely feel the top heaviness with the geared tuners on the smaller body. Not a bid deal for me though.

I'd go with the peg geared myself. The ones I have on my KoAloha soprano hold their tune fairly well.

MisoHappy
10-13-2009, 07:15 AM
I personally like "ear" tuners.

I think the ones I have are just geared tuners with a case around them....

ukeskywalker79
10-13-2009, 07:18 AM
Why not looking into Peghead Tuners? They look like friction tuners but have a hidden gear in them to make it easier to tune. ;)

Thanks for this info. I'm still a noob and was under the impression that there were only two types of tuners. Geared and friction....never really knew about these peghead tuners. I would have mistaken them for friction tuners for sure. What companies mainly use peghead tuners and are they used mostly on sopranos?

Kanaka916
10-13-2009, 08:52 AM
Custom builders use pegheads as an option. At $65 and up, compared to the more inexpensive open gear/closed gear tuners and friction tuners, I don't think production instruments like Kala, Lanikai, Ohana, etc. use them. Here's an article (http://ukulelereview.com/2008/02/09/which-style-ukulele-tuners-do-you-prefer/) about the different types used. And here's the website for Pegheads (http://www.pegheds.com/).

http://www.stewmac.com/catalog/images_1lg/0175_1lg.jpg


http://www.stewmac.com/catalog/images_1lg/0434_1lg.jpg


http://www.hanalimastore.com/catalog/tuners_sg381_bb202.jpg

ukeskywalker79
10-13-2009, 09:07 AM
Thanks Kanaka for the info. I'll look into them as I add more ukes to the collection. I always thought peghead was another term for friction tuners because they look the same. I never knew they had a hidden gear inside.

I noticed that pegheads are 4:1 gear ratio. Does this still make the geared tuners at 14:1 more precise when tuning?

Bluke
10-13-2009, 09:20 AM
Pegheds (spelled properly) are truly excellent, but sometimes the existing holes in the headstock are too large for them. A good luthier can fix that, as well. 4:1 is very adequate. Button tuners are great too. Avoid friction tuners. They are miserable.

freedive135
10-13-2009, 09:22 AM
Have you tried to tighten the screw on the friction tuners so the pegs don't slip?

I know my flea slips all the time but I am taking it from cold to hot all the time too.
It was 19deg out the other morning then 75 indoors and my pegs sliped awhole lot.

bbycrts
10-13-2009, 09:28 AM
Go with what you like. Sounds like you're familiar with geared tuners and like them - I'd go with that. Pegheds are VERY spendy compared to the other alternatives. To me, they are too long in back as well and look awkward - they don't look just like friction tuners.

It's better to have your player uke (or any instrument) work best for you rather than worrying about keeping it stock. If you bought it as an investment, it should be in a locked, humidity-controlled chamber. If you bought it to be a high quality player then you should set it up for maximum enjoyment.

Ukulolo
10-13-2009, 10:14 AM
Have you tried to tighten the screw on the friction tuners so the pegs don't slip?

I know my flea slips all the time but I am taking it from cold to hot all the time too.
It was 19deg out the other morning then 75 indoors and my pegs sliped awhole lot.

Yeah, I've pretty much tried everything with the screw at the end. Even had my uke mentor try it. Thanks, though.

Ukulolo
10-13-2009, 10:24 AM
Thanks for the replies. I'd never known about the peghed tuners. They look interesting, I will probably email the guy and get more info.

I never thought about the weight, I guess 6 geared tuners could add a bit, yeah, although it is on a tenor body.

bbycrts: That's good advice as well. I really want to be able to play it.

Thanks!

jbm
10-13-2009, 10:43 AM
While on the topic, what type of tuners come on a new Kamaka?

Ukulolo
10-13-2009, 10:46 AM
While on the topic, what type of tuners come on a new Kamaka?

Seems like all the new Kamaka tenors comes with geared tuners. I think the sopranos and concerts are still friction.

Lori
10-13-2009, 10:49 AM
I would change the tuners, and save them in case you want to sell it with that option. Since you have a 6 string, geared tuners will be a big help in making the playing experience hassle free. If the top end gets too heavy, use a strap.

Then the question becomes, does putting a strap button (or pick up for that matter) hurt the value of the ukulele?:anyone:

–Lori

wickedwahine11
10-13-2009, 01:05 PM
Then the question becomes, does putting a strap button (or pick up for that matter) hurt the value of the ukulele?:anyone:i

I probably really hurt the monetary value of my Kanile'a by adding a strap button, and my Kamaka by adding the MiSi pickup but the way I look at it is that I'm not planning to sell these ukes, and even if I do, I won't get the full price I paid. I'd rather make them fit exactly what I want while I use them.

So I'd go ahead and do the geared tuners, keeping the friction ones in case you do ever decide to sell it, but if it will make you enjoy your Kamaka more by having geared tuners, then by all means, that is what I think counts. Especially since you aren't planning on making it an heirloom ukulele anyway.

AnnaUK
10-13-2009, 01:10 PM
If you prefer geared tuners with 'ears', maybe mini ones might be an option to consider.

I've got mini Gotohs on my Makapili (I'm not sure that's the correct term, but they're pretty small) and they work well and don't make the uke top heavy.

Hope this helps :)

GrumpyCoyote
10-13-2009, 01:19 PM
Also, without any investment or surgery, a few bucks (only $5-$10 US) will get you a tube (or tin) of peg dope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peg_dope).

This is the same stuff violinists use to keep their friction tuners from slipping and one tube should last you pretty much forever.


Well worth the try before peg replacement.

You can get it at any music shop that rents orchestra equipment to kids, or just good old Amazon.com

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31H83GYNEGL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

I hear a lot of hate for friction tuners because of slippage, but I also never hear anyone in the uke crowd talk about this stuff much.

bbycrts
10-13-2009, 01:53 PM
I never thought about the weight, I guess 6 geared tuners could add a bit, yeah, although it is on a tenor body.


Any more it seems to be extremely rare to see friction tuners on a tenor...

UkuleleHill
10-13-2009, 01:59 PM
Also, without any investment or surgery, a few bucks (only $5-$10 US) will get you a tube (or tin) of peg dope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peg_dope).

This is the same stuff violinists use to keep their friction tuners from slipping and one tube should last you pretty much forever.


Well worth the try before peg replacement.

You can get it at any music shop that rents orchestra equipment to kids, or just good old Amazon.com

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31H83GYNEGL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

I hear a lot of hate for friction tuners because of slippage, but I also never hear anyone in the uke crowd talk about this stuff much.

Hmmm, thanks for the info on this! I'm game to try this stuff!

Ukulolo
10-21-2009, 11:56 PM
Just a quick update:

Looked into the peghed tuners but thought it might be too much money based on what I was getting. Plus, I was afraid I'd still want geared tuners after and the pegheds would have been a waste.

Took the ukulele to Kamaka and looked over my options. I decided to go ahead and get geared tuners, the open (?) type. The weight difference was neglible (meaning I could hardly notice a difference) but the ease of tuning was worth the conversion. Now I can play and not have to stop every other song to retune.

One thing I didn't realize was that the old case, made for friction tuners, wouldn't accommodate the new ear tuners. So, I had to buy a new case on the way home from Kamaka.

Thanks for everyone's advice!

Ahnko Honu
10-22-2009, 08:52 AM
Just a quick update:

Took the ukulele to Kamaka and looked over my options. I decided to go ahead and get geared tuners, the open (?) type. The weight difference was neglible (meaning I could hardly notice a difference) but the ease of tuning was worth the conversion. Now I can play and not have to stop every other song to retune.

Thanks for everyone's advice!

AWESOME, that's exactly what I would have done. Make the instrument as enjoyable and comfortable as possible to YOU. Having the work done by Kamaka (save the receipt) will only have a positive impact if ever you decide to part with it. Congratulations, now we like see you jam on your Kamaka on Youtube! :shaka: