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View Full Version : Am I the only one that likes friction tuners best?



ashleychantel
05-13-2010, 06:28 PM
I've noticed that in a lot of discussions on the forum people seem to strongly favor geared tuners. I don't know why but I just like friction tuners better. I like the look better and they seem equally as easy to use.. In fact, I just got a new Kanile'a concert and the only thing I would change about it if I could is that it would have friction tuners instead of the geared ones that came on it. Am I missing something or am I just crazy? :p

haole
05-13-2010, 06:37 PM
Friction tuners don't bother me. I toyed with the idea of putting KoAloha's awesome-looking friction tuners on my tenor to make it a little less neck-heavy, and to drive geared-tuner enthusiasts completely insane.

ukuDaily
05-13-2010, 06:38 PM
Nope. You are just crazy. LOL. I am just the opposite. When shopping for ukes, I almost always dismiss ukes that don't have geared tuners. I just think it is so easy to get the uke perfectly in tune with them. Do you use a digital tuner? If not, I could see how you wouldn't need to be as precise, but for me, If I have my tuner clipped on, I won't start playing until all four strings are dead on tune. Trying to tune my fluke always seems to take twice as long as my lanikai or pono.

Mike

Chris Tarman
05-13-2010, 06:47 PM
I love friction tuners, and once I got used to them, I have NO problems getting my uke precisely in tune using a digital tuner. I prefer the look of friction tuners (especially on soprano ukes). I was a little intimidated by them at first, but now I have a hard time imagining buying a uke that doesn't have them. I think they just look funny (usually) with geared tuners.

Toucan Mango
05-13-2010, 06:48 PM
I personally like friction tuners better, and I do notice the weight difference.

ashleychantel
05-13-2010, 06:50 PM
LOL. I use a digital tuner but I don't really have any problems there.. and they stay in tune forever too

AC Baltimore
05-13-2010, 07:33 PM
nope. You are just crazy. Lol. I am just the opposite. When shopping for ukes, i almost always dismiss ukes that don't have geared tuners.

agreed 100%!

RyanMFT
05-13-2010, 08:00 PM
I like friction tuners better then geared. In fact, I really like the wood peg friction tuners I have on my old Kumalae! You are not alone Ashley!

clayton56
05-13-2010, 08:06 PM
at first I was afraid to get friction tuners, but now I like them just as well because they stay in tuner better. The ones on my new Ko'olau are pretty smooth. They are more expensive than geared tuners. However the ones on my Koaloha give me that 'fingernails on the chalkboard' feeling. Good thing they stay in tune so well so I don't have to change them much.

penster
05-13-2010, 08:20 PM
The secret is good quality friction tuners. The cheaper ones are hopeless.

Ukuleleblues
05-14-2010, 08:00 AM
I know I'm crazy..... but not becasue I also like friction tuners. Aound here we call geared tuners "drunky tuners" . If you've had one too many "Drunky Tuners" are the only way to go. (Don't ask me how that got started). Else friction tuners work great and don't weigh so much, makes a uke feel like a Mace or some other primitive weapon.

ukuDaily
05-14-2010, 08:36 AM
Well, maybe I need to give them another chance. I am passing over a lot of potentially sweet instruments just because of the tuners. I didn't really take into consideration the weight, which I probably should as I am not a thumb wrapper but instead always keep my thumb on the back of the neck. On that point, I sure don't understand how anyone plays with their thumb peeking around the top side of the neck. When I do so, I can hardly make any shapes. I guess I just have a weird shaped hand.

Mike
<><

darkwater
05-14-2010, 09:10 AM
IMHO friction tuners got a bad name because for a long time they were the only option on cheaply made ukes, so there were a lot of kinda crappy ukes with crappy friction tuners out there. A good set of friction tuners can hold as well as geared. My Mainland soprano has friction by choice and they've been trouble free. I think friction tuners look more uke-ish, too, as opposed to mini-guitarish.
Three of my ukes have geared tuners. Of the rest, only the reso uke's friction tuners are a little cranky. The Polk-a-lay-lee has violin style pegs, as in a peg in a hole. Surprisingly, it holds like a bulldog.

Ukuleleblues
05-14-2010, 09:46 AM
Yes I am always amazed how well a modern friction tuner works. I mostly oder ukes with friction tuners and they are harder to use, but the new ones that aren't bottom of the line are silky smooth.

byjimini
05-14-2010, 09:58 AM
I play Soprano, so friction tuners make the uke a lot lighter and easier to hold.

mvinsel
05-14-2010, 10:10 AM
The only friction tuners I've tried are the ones that come with the StewMac soprano kits, and I found them difficult to tune so swapped them out as this was for a young child.
Does anyone know if these are low quality - perhaps I should try better ones?

-Vinnie in Juneau

Jason Paul
05-14-2010, 11:45 AM
I also like friction tuners better. I've got them on my Mainland concert.

Unfortunately these days, it seems that many of the popular cheapies (Kala, Makala) have geared tuners. Both of my sopranos have geared tuners and I really wish they were friction. I've gotten so used to making small adjustments, and I'm pretty certain that the weight difference would be noticeable.

Jason

SweetWaterBlue
05-14-2010, 11:50 AM
I like the friction tuners on my Flea and Ohana sk-35G just fine. And, yes I use an electronic tuner and don't play if its not in tune. What I really don't like is changing strings with geared tuners and having to turn the knob forever to get it where its almost in tune. With friction tuners it doesn't take very much time at all. I also agree that if look at a cheaply made uke with crappy friction tuners you won't like them.

StereoJoker
05-14-2010, 03:04 PM
I have a love/hate relationship with my frictions. Since I'm used to using geared tuners (guitar, mandolin and my two other ukes have geared tuners), trying to get the tuning on my sopranino juuuuust so is a pain (its small size certainly doesn't help). It's harder for me to judge just how far I have to turn the knobs, especially since they only need minute turns for the strings to go out of tune.

At the same time, the geared tuners on my other ukes sort of put them off balance and they don't really seem fitting aesthetically (they're like giant metal ears) on smaller sizes. For my tenor, the geared tuners are fine, but for my soprano, they're just kind of odd.

ritzer012
05-14-2010, 03:10 PM
i loveee friction tuners too! geared tuners just dont do it for me at all

GVlog
05-14-2010, 03:26 PM
People who don't like friction tuners obviously haven't had to contend with pure peg tuners. :)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_0K70sLCgQbE/SU0_6Pz6j4I/AAAAAAAAAK0/wbRqhsLy_Q4/s400/winner05.jpg

kissing
05-14-2010, 08:48 PM
I've used good quality Friction tuners before.
Still hated them compared to geared.

It's not so much 'quality' or 'staying in tune' that bothers me. It's the rotation ratio.
I like to fine-tune up quickly. Having friction tuners of any type really gets on my nerves.

maclay
05-14-2010, 09:57 PM
has anyone tried the pegheds tuners? it looks like a friction tuner, but has an internal gear. for some people, it may be the best of both worlds.

Jake Maclay
http://www.hiveukuleles.com/

kissing
05-14-2010, 10:42 PM
Yeah, my Flea has the pegheads.
I love how they work. Sort of midway between friction and geared.
4:1 turn ratio.

KevinV
05-15-2010, 12:15 AM
I'm comfortable with both styles, and don't mind either as long as their quality tuners. Aesthetically, I like the friction tuners, or if they're geared, I like the open geared rather than sealed. Just my preference.

iDavid
05-15-2010, 12:47 AM
I have struggled with friction tuners and swore that I would never get another uke with them.

However, I wanted a concert uke and was heard great things aobut the KoAloha Concert, so I got one.

The friction tuners work extremely well on this uke. It stays in tune better than ANY instrument I have ever own and it is not hard to fine tune it.

The KoAloha is SOOOOO light, that geared tuners would make it nose dive like crazy.

It is an amazing instrument and the friction tuners make it work.

Craig Robertson
05-15-2010, 02:44 AM
Ashley, you're not alone here in your choice. I have friction tuners or pegheds on all my ukuleles...no matter what size. Best quality Grover or Gotoh are the way to go. I dislike being out of tune. I seldom get into strings/tuners/whatever discussions, but you should know that I give my ukuleles a beating in performance and they hold their tune.

Harold O.
05-15-2010, 03:04 AM
My local shop has ukes on the wall (I put most of them there!) and I make a point of playing each one whenever I stop in. That way, when someone comes in and shows interest, the instrument will be nearly tuned for a good first impression.

That said, there's an Ohana concert with friction tuners that frustrates me every time I go in. The uke sounds great when in tune, but it refuses to stay there. I've cranked the screws, loosened/retightened the strings, and have been chasing the thing for a couple of weeks now.

All the geared ones are fine.

KevinV
05-15-2010, 04:55 AM
I make a point of playing each one whenever I stop in. That way, when someone comes in and shows interest, the instrument will be nearly tuned for a good first impression.

That's a really good idea. I should start doing that at my local store. I've seen folks take a uke off the wall, presumably for the first time, give it a strum and then cringe at what they hear...back to the wall it goes.

Harold O.
05-15-2010, 10:15 AM
That's a really good idea. I should start doing that at my local store. I've seen folks take a uke off the wall, presumably for the first time, give it a strum and then cringe at what they hear...back to the wall it goes.

I think it's due to the small size. Also, as we know from our own instruments, they play more consistently with time. Strings need to stretch into final form, get used to being used, and the tuners/wood/everything else needs to broken in. Most of my home ukes play well with minor adjustments - that's where I got the idea, happy to pass it along.

byjimini
05-15-2010, 11:42 AM
Chipping in the with shop comment, I was in a small (and by small, I mean broom cupboard) music shop in Whitby, North Yorkshire UK. The guy had several lovely-looking ukes, made from exotic woods etc, that normally you'd have to import. Shame then that he puts them high out of reach and won't let you play unless you're "seriously looking to buy".

No wonder they're still there years later, miserable old sod.

Pukulele Pete
05-15-2010, 12:14 PM
I'm also a fan of friction tuners. Geared tuners do not belong on a soprano. It's like putting geared tuners on a violin,they don't belong there.
I know someone will respond " you can get geared tuners on a violin " . Friction tuners look natural on a soprano , for me the looks of the ukulele has alot to do with whether I like it or not. I really do not like the look of geared tuners on sopranos or concert size ukes.

ichadwick
05-15-2010, 01:52 PM
Am I missing something or am I just crazy? :p
Yes.
On both counts.
Friction tuners are archaic relics, like marsupials, dinosaurs and typewriters.
Evolution moves onwards. Geared tuners are the future.
Love friction tuners like you love pelycosaurs, rotary presses and Samuel Johnson.
But accept the inevitable: geared tuners are to ukuleles what word processors are to typewriters.
The future beckons. Luddites pull you into the past.
Come with us to the new world...

Chris Tarman
05-15-2010, 01:59 PM
Yes.
On both counts.
Friction tuners are archaic relics, like marsupials, dinosaurs and typewriters.
Evolution moves onwards. Geared tuners are the future.
Love friction tuners like you love pelycosaurs, rotary presses and Samuel Johnson.
But accept the inevitable: geared tuners are to ukuleles what word processors are to typewriters.
The future beckons. Luddites pull you into the past.
Come with us to the new world...

I'm sure all the successful marsupial species appreciate your calling them "archaic relics". Evolution isn't an inexorable march toward "progress". If something works successfully and fits into its ecological niche, it doesn't NEED to evolve.

obxtom
05-15-2010, 03:01 PM
The ones on my new Ko'olau are pretty smooth. They are more expensive than geared tuners. /QUOTE]

Would that be a KS or KC Ko'olau?

TwoLegPete
05-15-2010, 03:38 PM
first time post here... but I couldn't let this one go...

I'm 100% in the friction tuner camp, for several reasons:

playability: geared tuners get in the way of my left hand when I play certain chords (esp. G, G7, E7, Fm, F#7, Fmin7, Bdim...). This seems to be less of a problem with larger instruments, i.e. tenors and baritones, as there seems to be more space between nut and tuners.

weight: geared tuners shift the balance of the instrument towards the head - this means your left hand has to carry more weight and is less relaxed when changing chords or moving around the fretbord.

looks: this is certainly subjective, but I can't stand the looks of (g)eared tuners... it makes the uke look like an ugly mongrel... or a toy-guitar

style: friction tuners and wooden tuning pegs have been the ukulele-tuners of choice for more than a century. Nunes, Dias, Kumalae, Kamaka, Martin, Gibson, Gretsch, Favilla, National, Dobro, Regal, Harmony... they all put (up to this day, if they're still in business) some sort of friction tuners on their ukuleles, even though geared tuners have been known since the early 19th century. Most of todays builders (not factories) still use friction tuners. To me, ukuleles have friction tuners like violins have wooden tuning pegs and pianos have black and white keys.

A few words on what some people consider disadvantages:

they don't hold the tuning: I have six ukes with friction tuners ranging from $20 to $1200 and none of them ever had the slightest problem with holding the tuning. Am I doing something wrong?

they're difficult to (fine) tune: it's more difficult to learn to use them, but once you've got the feel for it, it's as easy as pie. Good friction tuners run smooth and allow for minute adjustments. I'm able to tune my ukes as accurately as my electronic tuner or my ears permit.

they're outdated: can't argue with that - acoustic instruments are outdated, too, so why bother?

The biggest problem in my view is that cheap friction tuners suck. The best friction tuners, in my opinion, are Gotoh Deluxe ($45), followed by Grover Champion ($25). If you look at the prices, it becomes clear why you generally don't find them on entry-level ukes.

If you have problems with friction tuners, try the following:

* think positive. Friction tuners are cool.
* adjust them properly (or have someone experienced do it for you). Tighten only so fast that they hold the tuning, not more.
* treat your uke to a new set of good friction tuners

StereoJoker
05-15-2010, 03:55 PM
I'm going to revive the peghead comment. Would some of you friction-lovers turn toward using pegheads, since they look all right and they don't stick out terribly? (I can't comment on their weight because I've never tried 'em out.)

TwoLegPete
05-15-2010, 03:56 PM
Friction tuners are archaic relics, like marsupials, dinosaurs and typewriters.
Evolution moves onwards. Geared tuners are the future.

evolution will send geared tuners to their adequate ecological niche: the arthritic, the numb fingered and the neo-fordists ;-)


Come with us to the new world...

brave new world... what's next? genetically modified koa for better sound?


But accept the inevitable: geared tuners are to ukuleles what word processors are to typewriters.

so you're playing friction tuner, not ukulele?

Pukulele Pete
05-16-2010, 09:56 AM
Twolegpete , I agree with you completely.

TwoLegPete
05-16-2010, 12:22 PM
I'm going to revive the peghead comment. Would some of you friction-lovers turn toward using pegheads, since they look all right and they don't stick out terribly? (I can't comment on their weight because I've never tried 'em out.)

first of all - I've never tried them.

But I have ambivalent feelings towards them. Pegheads look OK to me, and from what I've heard, they seem to work very well. But ordinary 1:1 friction tuners already do the job to my complete satisfaction. And I have a couple of issues with pegheads:

1. price - they seem to sell for around $100
2. durability - I don't trust these tiny mechanics inside the pegs. How long will they last? I prefer mechanically simple solutions.
3. they're fake - they pretend to be traditional violin tuners, but they're high tech miniature mechanic tuners. I prefer things that are straightforward about what they are. I don't like silicone tits either - I'd rather go out with the girl with the small real ones.

If I'd buy a uke that already had pegheads, I'd probably leave them on. I'd rather have pegheads than (g)eared tuners. But if I had a luthier build a uke for me, I wouldn't want to have them, even at the same price.

luvdat
05-16-2010, 02:17 PM
Are Grover 4B's considered friction enough?

ukecantdothat
05-16-2010, 03:21 PM
I have both, and if the friction tuners are decent enough there's really no difference in ease of use. Maybe when the strings are new, geared tuners are less of a pain, but once you get the strings broken in, there's not much difference. There are some gorgeous friction tuners out there, too. And aesthetically I prefer closed gears over open.

ceviche
05-16-2010, 05:44 PM
So what's the weight differential of a set of geared tuners versus friction tuners plus a clip-on digital tuner? See where I'm going with this? If my soprano had geared tuners, I doubt I would have bought myself a digital tuner. I've been playing guitar for over twenty years and never depended on a tuner to bring all six strings into phase with each other--something as, if not more, important than being tuned to pitch.

--Dave E.

Chris Tarman
05-16-2010, 06:18 PM
Friction tuners have obviously been around a lot longer than digital tuners. Also, I don't know about MOST people, but I tune and then take the tuner off the headstock, so the weight of the digital tuner doesn't even enter into the equation.

TwoLegPete
05-16-2010, 09:25 PM
either you can tune by ear, or you can't. I don't see how friction tuners would affect aural perception.

TwoLegPete
05-17-2010, 04:18 AM
If my soprano had geared tuners, I doubt I would have bought myself a digital tuner.

Dave, in your signature, I see that you have a Koaloha Soprano from 2000. The old Koalohas had Schaller friction tuners (with the big adjustment-screw). I've had Schaller tuners on one of my ukes, too - they were by far the worst friction tuners I've ever come across, almost impossible to use. I've replaced them with Gotoh tuners. After a lot of complaints about the tuners, Koaloha switched to a different brand of tuners now. If you have Schaller tuners on your Koaloha, maybe you should change tuners (I'd recommend Gotoh Deluxe or Grover)

StereoJoker
05-17-2010, 09:36 AM
Another question about frictions (although I don't know why I'm asking so many, since I really don't have too much of a problem with 'em), how about those wooden peg friction tuners on the old vintage ukes? Do they actually hold the strings well? They always seemed to me like they'd unwind a lot under the tension. How're they like?

Pukulele Pete
05-18-2010, 09:02 AM
How's this ? When you put geared tuners on a ukulele it is no longer a ukulele , it is a little guitar.

TwoLegPete
05-18-2010, 09:18 AM
...or a schizophrenic uke that thinks it is a guitar...

StereoJoker
05-18-2010, 12:32 PM
...or a Schizophrenic Snowflake that thinks it's an Aldrine tune...

(Wait. Wrong direction.)

Hikingstevo
11-20-2013, 03:23 PM
Friction tuners for me. I prefer small ukuleles and geared tuners sticking out the sides of the head look funny on a small uke. I've never had trouble with friction tuners, even cheaper ones.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-20-2013, 04:52 PM
I talked with James Hill a couple of weeks ago. He's so fed up with geared tuners he's switched to friction pegs. Wooden ones yet! I gave him a set of Gotoh UPTs hoping he'd some to his senses. :)

Dan Uke
11-20-2013, 06:20 PM
I talked with James Hill a couple of weeks ago. He's so fed up with geared tuners he's switched to friction pegs. Wooden ones yet! I gave him a set of Gotoh UPTs hoping he'd some to his senses. :)

Did he say why he's fed up?

Flyinby
11-20-2013, 06:31 PM
Well, it all boils down to personal preference, but I personally can't stand friction tuners, to where I even looked into Peghed tuners for my Flea. I can't imagine what anyone sees wrong with geared tuners, other than possibly if they change their strings a lot, which I don't, or that peg tuners look more "authentic".

It's like using a sledgehammer to drive in a small nail, instead of an appropriate-sized hammer that drives it precisely and easily. if that's all you have, well, you make do, but otherwise, not for me.

I take the Flea traveling a lot, which means it requires a lot of tuning from moving around and temp changes, and fooling with those tuners to get precise tuning is downright annoying, I'd never choose friction tuners over nice, precise geared tuners, even the cheapies.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
11-20-2013, 06:42 PM
I usually prefer friction tuners. Soprano ukes just don't look quite right to me with "ears" sticking out.

I do, however, have a Kiwaya KS-0P soprano uke that has great geared tuners. The headstock design is more compact than a classic uke headstock, so the "ears" don't seem so out of place. They work great, too.

OldePhart
11-21-2013, 06:44 AM
I love good friction tuners and will take them over regular geared tuners any day of the week. However, after trying the Gotoh UPT tuners on a couple of my favorite ukes I see myself transitioning all of my "daily players" to them eventually - at least everything smaller than a tenor, anyway. They are everything I like about friction tuners without any disadvantages that I've been able to find (aside from cost, of course).

John

RichM
11-21-2013, 07:10 AM
I think there's a world of difference between good friction tuners and bad friction tuners. I used to think I hated friction tuners until I used really good ones, and then I finally got it. Truth be told, though, I still preferred geared, although 4:1 gears like you find in UPTs and Pegheds are more than adequate (and look nice). I recently got a vintage uke that was retrofitted with Five Star planetary tuners (I think Stew-Mac markets these as dulcimer tuners), and they are awesome-- smooth and reliable, and small enough that you might mistake them as friction tuners.

TG&Y
11-21-2013, 07:23 AM
Prefer the look of friction, way. Prefer the action of geared, double way.

Peterjens
11-21-2013, 07:23 AM
The tuners on my 2013 KoAloha soprano are perfect for me. But my favorites are the ebony pegs in my 1923 Martin 0 - part of the vintage soul vibe.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-21-2013, 07:25 AM
I love good friction tuners and will take them over regular geared tuners any day of the week. However, after trying the Gotoh UPT tuners on a couple of my favorite ukes I see myself transitioning all of my "daily players" to them eventually - at least everything smaller than a tenor, anyway. They are everything I like about friction tuners without any disadvantages that I've been able to find (aside from cost, of course).

John

Yes, it's hard to beat the Gotho UPTs. The craftsmanship is excellent, they are reasonably light and are buttah smooth.

sukie
11-21-2013, 09:47 AM
Two words -- peg heads.

ichadwick
11-21-2013, 11:49 AM
Am I missing something or am I just crazy? :p
Not at all. Some people like old technology and resist modern advancements as dangerously new and thus suspect.

Friction tuners are quaint, like rotary-dial phones, wind-up clocks, and cork stoppers on beer bottles. We like to be reminded of our heritage by having these things around.

Don't listen to those people who grumble about the greater efficiency, speed and better hold of geared tuners. Technological and engineering advantages such as these are mere peccadilloes. Nor would I hearken to those who point out that not a single commercial guitar, bass, or bazouki or manufacturer uses them, and all of them sprinted to geared tuners as quickly as their little legs could carry them, and dropped friction tuners in the dust.

In fact, to be truly authentic, you need to discard those flurocarbon strings and replace them with gut. They pair wonderfully with friction tuners.

;-)

Tootler
11-21-2013, 01:44 PM
Nor would I hearken to those who point out that not a single commercial guitar, bass, or bazouki or manufacturer uses them, and all of them sprinted to geared tuners as quickly as their little legs could carry them, and dropped friction tuners in the dust.


But notice that the violin family and banjos have stayed with friction tuners.

RichM
11-21-2013, 02:06 PM
But notice that the violin family and banjos have stayed with friction tuners.

Not to split hairs, but I don't know of any modern banjos that use friction tuners.

Flyinby
11-21-2013, 05:08 PM
But notice that the violin family and banjos have stayed with friction tuners.

My violin does have friction tuners; however, it also has fine tuners on each string that tighten a screw against the string...because getting correct tuning otherwise would probably make the few that do stick with learning the violin give up...

Flyinby
11-21-2013, 05:18 PM
I talked with James Hill a couple of weeks ago. He's so fed up with geared tuners he's switched to friction pegs. Wooden ones yet! I gave him a set of Gotoh UPTs hoping he'd some to his senses. :)

This puzzles me too. I don't recall ever having an issue with geared tuners, other than wishing the ones on my old Gibson had a higher gear ratio for more precise tuning. Cheap ones, old ones, whatever, I can't imagine what would cause someone to be "fed up" with them, unless they change strings on a whim and don't like having to turn the knob so many times (for which there's an easy and cheap solution). Having used geared tuners on various instruments for a good 40 years, it's hard to imagine someone who probably uses expensive instruments with expensive hardware having so much difficulty with them.

TheCraftedCow
11-21-2013, 10:34 PM
Go to Tim Szerlong's www.ukeeku.com to read his review.
I openly acknowledge a preference for them over ANY OTHER GEARED TUNER, because they are the ONLY reliable geared tuner that looks like a wooden peg. They are anodized aluminum for the outer case, hardened steel for the main shaft and the hypoid gears. They have a warranty which says they will work, if installed properly and not outrageously abused, or they will be repaired or replaced. They have been on concert grade instruments for about fifteen years with no problems. They now come in a model Tim has not reviewed. The ones he tested had a 27.7mm shaft. That means if your headstock is 12mm, there will be 15.5mm of shaft out the back side, and then the button. The newest ones are only 19mm shafts. the 12mm head stock will only have 7mm of shaft exposed before the same size button as is on the longer model.
Price? $ 54.00 for a set of 2L2R, and in the USA 5.80 for priority mail.
The price will go up to $55 in January. www.pegheds.net

HBolte
11-22-2013, 01:31 AM
My next ukulele will have Pegheds. Modern geared, vintage look. Best of both worlds. :)

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
11-22-2013, 06:44 AM
Two words -- peg heads.

Actually, i think it is one word- pegheds

Tootler
11-22-2013, 07:13 AM
Not to split hairs, but I don't know of any modern banjos that use friction tuners.

Banjos I've seen recently had planetary tuners. Yes, they are geared but they still rely on friction to hold the strings in tune as the gearing is insufficient in itself to hold the strings in tune unlike conventional guitar tuners where the gear & wormwheel mechanism is sufficient in itself to hold the strings in tune.

sukie
11-22-2013, 07:48 AM
Actually, i think it is one word- pegheds

I wondered. Okay -- pegheads rock!

RichM
11-22-2013, 08:05 AM
Banjos I've seen recently had planetary tuners. Yes, they are geared but they still rely on friction to hold the strings in tune as the gearing is insufficient in itself to hold the strings in tune unlike conventional guitar tuners where the gear & wormwheel mechanism is sufficient in itself to hold the strings in tune.

Here's a good site that explains in detail how planetary gear tuners work. They are most definitely geared tuners, using a different type of gearing pattern:

http://savethebanjos.com/Planetary%20tuners%20article.htm

Here's another interesting perspective, from Frank Ford:

http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Musician/Banjo/BanjoPegs/pegs01.html

Tootler
11-24-2013, 12:33 AM
I was aware that planetary tuners included gearing and I knew how planetary gearing systems work. Thanks for posting the links, though. They were very useful for seeing the actual mechanism in some planetary tuners.

My point is that while the gearing helps to make fine adjustments easier, the low ratio means that the gearing will not hold against the tension in the strings and so the tuners still rely on friction in the same way as standard friction tuners do to hold the strings in tune. For this reason I see planetary geared tuners essentially as friction tuners though with geared assistance.

I have had to adjust the tuners both on my Risa and my banjo uke, both of which are fitted with planetary tuners to prevent the tuners slipping and the strings going out of tune and this was done in exactly the same way as with standard friction tuners.

On the other hand, the worm and gear mechanism normally used in guitars is of itself able to hold the strings in tune against the tension in the strings. In fact it will be necessary to anchor the tuners in the headstock mount to prevent the pull from the strings causing them to rotate whereas friction tuners have to be able to rotate in their headstock mount albeit not too easily.

LOVEAGOODUKE
09-27-2015, 04:45 AM
I prefer friction tuners and have had no problems using them.I am interested in a mainland cedar tenor but,like most tenors come only with sealed geared tuners.I could change them to frictions and Eagle music in the UK sell the Carnelian friction tuners Mainland uses but screw holes will be left and will always be noticeable.I'll probably stick with the sealed geared tuners if I decide to buy.

strumsilly
09-27-2015, 04:56 AM
friction tuners work fine, but are fiddly, like pin bridges, especially in places where humidity and temperature vary wildly . I only play tenor and baritone now and prefer a good gear.

buddhuu
09-27-2015, 05:09 AM
I prefer decent friction tuners above any other kind. I only have one uke now, but when I had more I got to the point where I was removing all the geared tuners fron the ukes that had them and putting frictions on instead.

Not keen on Pegheds personally.

Mivo
09-27-2015, 05:29 AM
I had my first encounter with friction tuners just last week. They are KoAloha's, so I assume they're good quality. Aesthetically, I prefer them to geared tuners, but their user-friendliness isn't all that great, I feel. Very fiddly, and fine tuning takes me more time. I'll get used to them, though. It's a lovely instrument that would probably look less streamlined with geared tuners, and become headstock-heavy.

chuck in ny
09-27-2015, 09:36 AM
what with all the issues and attributes it becomes harder to vocalize your inner feelings.
what i have found is many like friction tuners from their grace, their beauty on an instrument, and their ease of function, on many of them.
now that i am setting out to build instruments it's hard to ignore this issue of grace.

Nickie
09-27-2015, 12:16 PM
This isn't the first time I've read a dialogue about these things. And I know it's not gonna be the last.
My Kala (a little on the heavy side) has geared tuners, and is well balanced, and I love em. It tunes dead solid perfect, real easy.
My Ohana, a lighter uke, has friction tuners. I don't love em, and I don't hate em. It was a b---- to learn to tune with them. I'd replace em with planetarys, but the uke has a buzz that can't be fixed, so I don't wanna spend any money on it.
The friction tuners do look a lot better.....

Andy Chen
09-27-2015, 02:58 PM
If ukuleles came only with friction tuners, I'd never have picked up the instrument.

spongeuke
09-27-2015, 08:24 PM
Not only prefer friction tuners, but prefer wooden ones when set up right.

phil_doleman
09-27-2015, 11:56 PM
Friction pegs for me. No need for over-engineered geared pegs on a low tension instrument with nylon strings. I gig regularly and have never had an issue with them. Soprano ukes with heavy, metal, sealed gear tuners straight off a guitar? Yuk.

It's all well and good saying 'technology marches on', but you could say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. People who are finding that friction pegs aren't allowing them to tune properly, or stay in tune, might well have awful, cheap friction pegs. I've had awful, cheap geared pegs that I could say the same about.

Most of the desirable, holy grail ukes, such as vintage Martins and Gibsons have friction pegs.

It's not just the geared pegs, but that combined with the tendency towards tenors (and I've even hear uke players talking about sopranos as if they're toys), high-tension strings, electronic gadgetry, etc. saddens me a little, as they seem to be turning gradually into small guitars, and losing the charm that the ukulele has.

Hippie Dribble
09-28-2015, 01:30 AM
Friction pegs for me. No need for over-engineered geared pegs on a low tension instrument with nylon strings. I gig regularly and have never had an issue with them. Soprano ukes with heavy, metal, sealed gear tuners straight off a guitar? Yuk.

It's all well and good saying 'technology marches on', but you could say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. People who are finding that friction pegs aren't allowing them to tune properly, or stay in tune, might well have awful, cheap friction pegs. I've had awful, cheap geared pegs that I could say the same about.

Most of the desirable, holy grail ukes, such as vintage Martins and Gibsons have friction pegs.

It's not just the geared pegs, but that combined with the tendency towards tenors (and I've even hear uke players talking about sopranos as if they're toys), high-tension strings, electronic gadgetry, etc. saddens me a little, as they seem to be turning gradually into small guitars, and losing the charm that the ukulele has.

Hear! Hear!

83856

Mivo
09-28-2015, 02:09 AM
I speculate that the tenor trend is (in part) a result of the contemporary music of the past few decades or so. There's a lot of exposure to guitar-y, mellow sounds, and, for lack of a better term, "aural roundness". Exposure shapes preferences. But I may be way off with that theory. :)

spongeuke
09-28-2015, 02:14 PM
Friction pegs for me. No need for over-engineered geared pegs on a low tension instrument with nylon strings. I gig regularly and have never had an issue with them. Soprano ukes with heavy, metal, sealed gear tuners straight off a guitar? Yuk.

It's all well and good saying 'technology marches on', but you could say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. People who are finding that friction pegs aren't allowing them to tune properly, or stay in tune, might well have awful, cheap friction pegs. I've had awful, cheap geared pegs that I could say the same about.

Most of the desirable, holy grail ukes, such as vintage Martins and Gibsons have friction pegs.

It's not just the geared pegs, but that combined with the tendency towards tenors (and I've even hear uke players talking about sopranos as if they're toys), high-tension strings, electronic gadgetry, etc. saddens me a little, as they seem to be turning gradually into small guitars, and losing the charm that the ukulele has.
It does seem that way, even travel tenors are showing up. Sometimes I'm the only reentrant tuned soprano in the group. I fear the ukulele is loosing it's happy voice to the little guitars.

strumsilly
09-28-2015, 05:34 PM
Friction pegs for me. No need for over-engineered geared pegs on a low tension instrument with nylon strings. I gig regularly and have never had an issue with them. Soprano ukes with heavy, metal, sealed gear tuners straight off a guitar? Yuk.

It's all well and good saying 'technology marches on', but you could say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. People who are finding that friction pegs aren't allowing them to tune properly, or stay in tune, might well have awful, cheap friction pegs. I've had awful, cheap geared pegs that I could say the same about.

Most of the desirable, holy grail ukes, such as vintage Martins and Gibsons have friction pegs.

It's not just the geared pegs, but that combined with the tendency towards tenors (and I've even hear uke players talking about sopranos as if they're toys), high-tension strings, electronic gadgetry, etc. saddens me a little, as they seem to be turning gradually into small guitars, and losing the charm that the ukulele has.
And the vintage Martin tenor I had had the worst friction tuners I've ever used[it also had a pin bridge which I also dislike, though they look nice] . I tried everything to get those suckers to work, even got new fiber washers from Grover. Finally gave up and installed grover open geared tuners, which worked like a charm, werent heavy, and were not expensive.I am not opposed to friction tuners, but I've never had to adjust any geared ones and have had to fiddle with lots of friction ones. I did have a banjo uke with some wood pegs, and they were great. small sample though.

coolkayaker1
09-29-2015, 12:50 AM
No, Ashley Chantel, you are not the only one to like friction tuners. I do, too.

Since we're two peas in a pod, I sent you a UU friend request.

jimavery
09-29-2015, 01:33 AM
I much prefer friction tuners. They just look right, especially on Soprano ukuleles (my favourite too).

My tip (which I've mentioned before but bears repeating) for accurate tuning with friction tuners is when you re-string your ukulele, leave an inch or two tail at the peg rather than trimming the strings all the way back. This tail then acts as a visual indicator of how far you are turning the peg.