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View Full Version : Friction or Geared tuners? What's the difference?



hawaiianmusiclover06
03-01-2010, 06:45 PM
Hey all UUker's! What is the difference between friction and geared tuners? I was planning to change my friction tuners... Any iinput will be helpful. There was one recommendation which was Gotoph tuners. Anyone used this before?

kissing
03-01-2010, 07:15 PM
Geared tuners tune the strings at a lesser ratio per rotation compared to friction.
This makes them easier to tune, and stay better in tune.

The only real advantage of friction tuners is that they reduce the weight of the ukulele's head.
But I never found this an issue. Others like the more traditional look of friction tuners.

I don't know much about tuner brands, but I do know that Gotoh are high quality stuff.

Here's an article that explained stuff really well
http://ukulelereview.com/2008/02/09/which-style-ukulele-tuners-do-you-prefer/

iDavid
03-01-2010, 08:24 PM
Friction tuners will drive you insane

Geared tuners will make you happy

at least that is my experieince

tad
03-01-2010, 08:26 PM
Geared tuners are slightly heavier but make sense. They do the job and do it well.

Friction tuners are so you can act superior about people whose ukuleles have "ears," and spew crap about how that's "not a real uke."

micromue
03-01-2010, 09:19 PM
Friction tuners are so you can act superior about people whose ukuleles have "ears," and spew crap about how that's "not a real uke."

Thats right. And all you need to do so are some average fine motor skills. Join the friction elite today! Itīs easy!:D


Just kidding. All quality tuners do the job. If you want the best from both worlds (good lookin and higher ratio) you should go for the pegheads. They are amazing!

Kanaka916
03-01-2010, 11:35 PM
Hey all UUker's! What is the difference between friction and geared tuners? I was planning to change my friction tuners... Any iinput will be helpful. There was one recommendation which was Gotoph tuners. Anyone used this before?

This question has been asked on more than one occassion. Here are some links . . .
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?16423
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?1751
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?5757
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?18741
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?11023

Lanark
03-02-2010, 12:26 AM
Friction tuners are so you can act superior about people whose ukuleles have "ears," and spew crap about how that's "not a real uke."

You know, if you actually spent some time to working with some friction tuners and learned how to work with a 1:1 gear ratio (ie. one turn of the knob equals one turn of the peg vs. the usual 14:1 of gears) you'd have a lot less angst about them. Chances are good that after a short amount of actual practice you'd end up wondering why you used to make such a fuss over it. I've seen it time and again. Make it part of your learning process like playing a proper E chord. You'll surprise yourself. It's a pinch not a twist.

It's really not that difficult.

(Friction tuners are also really nice when it comes to restringing because you don't need a string winder. 4 or 5 turns on the peg vs. 56 or 70)

iDavid
03-02-2010, 01:04 AM
I disagree strongly.

I have friction tuner on two of my ukes and geared on one. The one with geared tuners is joy and tends to be pretty much in tune when I pick it up. The friction tuners are much harder to zero in and the slip more out of tune while waiting to be played. I recently got an Ohana Zebrawood and it sounds and plays great, the friction tuners make me nuts. It also makes me nuts the Ohana has not repsonded to my email about getting geared tuners for the Zebra, but that's another tread.

kissing
03-02-2010, 01:13 AM
I'm siding with iDavid on this one.

I had a uke with friction tuners, a Risa electric ukulele.
They were good quality tuners, Grover tuners or something.

I owned it for many months, trying to be patient and learning how to use friction tuners.
But they drove me up the wall. There was too much stress when tuning up, and I could not tune them up quickly when I had to play on-the-go.
Eventually that was one of the reasons for selling it. Never going to buy a uke with friction tuners again.

Jason Paul
03-02-2010, 05:16 AM
I've got three ukes. My first is a cheap colored Mahalo soprano with geared tuners. They work fine, but they make the head noticeably heavy. Granted these are probably the cheapest tuners made.

My next uke was a concert Flea with friction tuners. I like them just fine and haven't had any problems. In the beginning I had to slightly tighten the screws a time or two, but it's been fine for a couple of years now. They stay in tune great. There have been a few times where I've let that uke sit unplayed for a few months at a time and when I came back to it, it was still in tune or very close. No complaints.

My third uke is a Mainland concert and I opted for friction tuners. They work great and I've never had a problem tuning, or staying in tune. It really is just a matter of a pinch rather than a twist. Feel the slight "tick" of the peg moving and it's all good.

I just don't like the way geared tuners look on sopranos, and I'm not a big fan of them on concerts either (though it's not terrible). For tenors and baritones gears makes more sense of course, and it doesn't look as odd to me. And though I've only changed strings once or twice, I don't like winding and winding with geared tuners.

But, to each his own.

Jason

Pukulele Pete
03-02-2010, 07:57 AM
There should be a law against putting geared tuners on a Soprano.

Ahnko Honu
03-02-2010, 08:11 AM
I have a probably a 50/50 split of geared and friction tuners between my 'ukuleles, and I really have no preference. I hear about geared tuners being heavier and throwing off the balance of 'ukuleles but I don't notice a difference while playing.
My friction tuners work fine even my wood peg oldies. No biggie if I have to fine tune occasionally.

Lanark
03-02-2010, 10:31 AM
I'm siding with iDavid on this one.

Eventually that was one of the reasons for selling it. Never going to buy a uke with friction tuners again.


I'll put it to you this way for both you and iDavid. If the tuners were quality then your problems were not necessarily the fault of the tuners.:D

This also doesn't mean that there's anything actually wrong friction tuners. For a lot of people, it's not an issue. I've got both on different instruments and I don't see a problem either way. I just get a bit surprised by the passion and vitriol against friction tuners that is inevitable whenever one of the these threads pops up because I honestly don't understand why you find it so frustratingly difficult that it becomes a deal breaker. A little practice, some patience and a little finesse and it's all good.

(And never say never. At some point you may reconsider and at some point you'll look back at this and wonder why it seemed like such a big fuss....)

Dirka
03-02-2010, 10:44 AM
I was a little apprehensive when I first saw the friction tuners on my Brueko, but now I think they're great. I actually find it easier and quicker to tune with them, so I retrofitted my old Makala with white Grovers. At first they slipped a little, but after I tightened them everything was good. Im also a lazy bum, so it's great that the tuners are all pretty much in the same place. Nothing wrong with geared tuners though.

SailorQwest
03-02-2010, 10:46 AM
I wonder sometimes if the problem some people have with friction tuners is a hand strength issue. It actually takes some strength in your hands to finesse those fine adjustments. I don't really have a problem with friction tuners but my wife hates them.

Tigeralum2001
03-02-2010, 11:41 AM
I have both types and each has its advantages and disadvantages. However, it is not a big deal at all. I would never say i am buying or not buying a uke due to tuners.