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View Full Version : Friction tuners on new Kamaka



jbm
10-22-2009, 02:41 AM
I understand that new Kamaka soprano and concerts come with friction tuners. I'm considering a new Kamaka concert and was curious about the tuners.

I have a Kanile'a and a Mainland both with geared tuners and I have never had any experience with friction tuners.

I've read a lot of negative comments about friction tuners and my question is, if Kamaka produces new instruments using them then how bad can they really be?

Any comments are appreciated

Matt Clara
10-22-2009, 02:44 AM
While I'm not a huge fan, friction tuners work just fine. You just have to finesse them a little, is all. You'll get used to it. My KoAloha concert also has friction tuners. Someday, I'll have a uke with PegHed tuners.

specialmike
10-22-2009, 03:50 AM
:eek: :wallbash: why in the world... okay, are there any advantages for one to use friction tuners. I've never really had to deal with them, but the idea of wood squeaking on wood sends shivers down my spine. And why in the world would a company like kamaka install such subpar tuners? For nostalgic ... traditional purposes? Or costs? hmmm..... :wallbash:

Really, peghead is so much better from what I've seen. Gears, and still with that same type of profile!? I swear, I'm never going to buy a kamaka concert or soprano if they won't allow the option of having some other sort of tuner. bleh bleh bleh. wood squeak wood... ewwwwwwwwwww:wallbash:

micromue
10-22-2009, 03:53 AM
Nothing wrong with (good!) friction tuners. They are not exactly difficult to operate and hold their tension well. Of course some fine motor skills are required, but that should not be to difficult for an ukulele player.:p After a while you won´t really notice the difference.

Joe Beamish
10-22-2009, 04:21 AM
I got totally used to the friction tuners on my Kamaka. I don't even think about it anymore. They're great.

haole
10-22-2009, 04:40 AM
Good friction tuners are better than bad geared tuners.

The stock friction tuners on the Kamakas are high quality and stay in tune well. They don't require a screwdriver to tighten, either; the screw is big enough that you can tighten it with your fingers or a coin. If you don't like them, it's easy enough to swap them out, but really, friction tuners aren't that bad.

jinny
10-22-2009, 04:43 AM
the friction tuners on the Kamakas work fine. I prefer geared as well, but I like the traditional look of the friction tuners on it also. and the tuners are very nice... no squeaking in the ones I've tried. the biggest drawback for me is the whole finessing part, but the Kamakas i've experienced stay in tune pretty well, so once it's set there's not much need of futzing around for a while.

Lanark
10-22-2009, 05:14 AM
The three main things that always come up in terms of friction tuners are weight, tradition & aesthetics. (I'll add that the 1:1 ratio makes putting on new strings really easy too.) They take a little bit of finesse (as previously stated) but really they aren't that big a deal to use.

This is just one of those things where I find myself scratching my head sometimes when someone comes on especially vehemently about friction tuners. Really? That's an issue?

GX9901
10-22-2009, 06:49 AM
I think a lot of the negative comments on Kamaka friction tuners comes from the fact that they use Schaller tuners. KoAloha once used those and eventually switched, perhaps from all the negative feedback. I've only seen Schaller tuners in music stores at Hawaii so I really have never operated one. What I've gathered is that they are hard to use (despite the thumb screw) and a some of them buzz after a while and require some sort of strange solution of having to stuff some cotton into it (I have no idea how). There has been enough comments on these Schaller friction tuners that I think it's something to be noted.

As for friction tuners themselves, other than being harder to fine-tune, I think they work just fine, especially on sopranos given their lower weight.

existence
10-22-2009, 07:33 AM
I don't think they're that bad either. I find that when I'm having trouble turning the peg just right to get the note where it needs to be, it's sometimes easier to tune sharp, then flatten incrementally until you're there.

And changing strings is super fast. Probably took me ten minutes to restring my soprano the other night.

Lanark
10-22-2009, 08:22 AM
My Koalohas have the Schallers. I still don't see what the fuss is about. They hold tune well and all it ever takes to get them tuned is a little pinch and a tweak most times.

ukecantdothat
10-22-2009, 08:42 AM
I don't think they're that bad either. I find that when I'm having trouble turning the peg just right to get the note where it needs to be, it's sometimes easier to tune sharp, then flatten incrementally until you're there.

And changing strings is super fast. Probably took me ten minutes to restring my soprano the other night.
Friction tuners are no biggie, as stated above, especially quality ones. The tricky thing is in the fine tuning - oops, too sharp - oops, now I'm flat. Personally, I find it more acurate to be a little flat and go up from there. If you are sharp and you go down, it may be in tune, but only temporarily. There may some residual loosening of the string that's not evident until you start playing, especially if you play hard and bend a lot, etc. If you do go from sharp to flat, make sure you give the string a good strong pull from side to side and check it with your tuner if you have one.

haole
10-22-2009, 11:45 AM
Friction tuners are no biggie, as stated above, especially quality ones. The tricky thing is in the fine tuning - oops, too sharp - oops, now I'm flat. Personally, I find it more acurate to be a little flat and go up from there. If you are sharp and you go down, it may be in tune, but only temporarily. There may some residual loosening of the string that's not evident until you start playing, especially if you play hard and bend a lot, etc. If you do go from sharp to flat, make sure you give the string a good strong pull from side to side and check it with your tuner if you have one.

It's always better to go a little flat and then gradually tune up from there, even if you're using geared tuners.

scottie
10-22-2009, 01:35 PM
:agree: ++

ukecantdothat
10-22-2009, 07:38 PM
It's always better to go a little flat and then gradually tune up from there, even if you're using geared tuners.
Prezackly. An old guitar trick. It's particulary noticable on wound strings. The winding tends to grab the nuts (I hate when that happens) on the way down in pitch.

Hobgoblin Steve
10-22-2009, 07:39 PM
Prezackly. An old guitar trick. It's particulary noticable on wound strings. The winding tends to grab the nuts (I hate when that happens) on the way down in pitch.

heh, I get it :P

the.ronin
10-22-2009, 08:01 PM
Friction tuners annoyed me at first but now I wish all my ukes had them. There is a big weight difference in my own opinion. Also makes switching strings super fast.

clayton56
10-22-2009, 08:19 PM
I only have them on my Koahloha, and normally like them ok. But tonight I had the experience of being unable to grip my first string tuner because the fourth string tuner was set perpendicular to the first and there wasn't room for my finger to grip it.

Also, I do better with tuning it sharp and then coming back down. Something about the release of tension helps me find the exact pitch.

Matt Clara
10-23-2009, 04:00 AM
It's always better to go a little flat and then gradually tune up from there, even if you're using geared tuners.

Especially if you're using geared tuners, and extra especially if they're inexpensive ones. The gears can have a little play between the teeth, so tuning up keeps the teeth in contact with the string tension pulling them together. Tuning down puts the teeth in contact the other way, and the string tension can pull up the gear slack causing the string to go slightly flat.

baumer
10-23-2009, 06:30 AM
I thought I wouldn’t like friction tuners either, but I’ve been “borrowing” a friend’s uke for a bit and it has friction tuners. I changed the strings (so easy) and really within no time I got used to the feel of the subtle adjustments. Now that the strings are stretched out, there’s not much to do, they’re holding the tuning well. Bottom line is now I couldn't care less whether a uke has geared or friction tuners. That feels somewhat liberating.

Now, the real question is, when do I give this thing back? It’s just an old beat up Kent, but it has awakened the UAS.

thejumpingflea
10-23-2009, 10:20 AM
I upgraded my Kamaka Concert Deluxe to Grover friction tuners. I like them a lot.


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