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View Full Version : I'll admit it. I was wrong about friction tuners....



mailman
09-01-2010, 02:49 PM
Until today I've been dead set against friction tuners. The only ones I had ever used were on my custom soprano. I found them to be infuriatingly difficult to use, and swore I would never buy another uke that had them.

While at UWC2010 I had several other folks play this uke. While he was trying it out, I mentioned to UKISOCIETY that I was having big problems learning to use friction tuners. He looked at them and immediately recognized them as being of inferior quality. Apparently this particular style has been known to be awful.

Recently I read good things in the UU Luthier's Lounge forum about the friction tuners sold on eBay by "taisamlu", a seller from Taiwan. I found his auctions, bid on a set of four tuners, and won the auction. The total cost to me, including shipping from Taiwan, was only eleven dollars and change.

Today I got them installed on my soprano. What a difference! Now I understand what other people have been saying all along....friction tuners aren't bad, they're just different. I now have no trouble at all working with my friction tuners.

If you are like I was, and hate friction tuners, maybe a higher quality tuner will solve your problems, too. I highly recommend the friction tuners sold by taisamlu. The luthier who installed mine (for $10!) even commented about the quality and the engineering of them.

Hate friction tuners? Try a better set!

jtafaro
09-01-2010, 03:01 PM
I just replaced a set of gotoh plastic tuners on my Ohana SK15BL with precision tuners from Mainline ukes for 20 bucks plus shipping. The difference is like day and night.

haole
09-01-2010, 03:03 PM
Good friction tuners are better than bad geared tuners! For such a simple design, they vary a LOT in quality.

I always thought that taisamlu was just another one who deals in heavily-inlayed instruments of dubious quality. Glad to hear the tuners are good!

Lexxy
09-01-2010, 03:12 PM
Is it recommended to switch Geared tuners to Friction tuners? (Was just wondering how it would affect the uke)
And do i bring it to a luthier for a switch? Mine's a KPK concert, if that helps.

ukecantdothat
09-01-2010, 03:15 PM
It takes a big mailman to admit he's wrong... :nana:

UkeToaster
09-01-2010, 03:16 PM
let us not forget our good friends at kamaka who use friction tuners on sopranos and concerts! :)

uke5417
09-01-2010, 03:26 PM
Both Elderly and Luthiers Mercantile (and no doubt others) sell decent budget friction tuner sets for $8 to $10. I've gone through a dozen sets, sold as Gotoh, Grover and Whatever. The names seem to change, but all have been fine. They also sell nicer, more expensive ones, but I've never felt the need to spend that kind of money.

As a side note, I recently picked up a dulcimer for ten bucks that had a set of old uke tuners with Martin-style hex fronts, heavy, ringed metal spacers on the back side and the most gorgeous tangerine-colored knobs that one would have mistaken for amber were there no mold lines. I swapped them out onto one of my favorite ukes and was retuning the thing when one of those knobs just disintegrated in my hand. Must've been celluloid or something. Anyway, I still got a nice mountain dulcimer, on which I threw a set of the above-mentioned $8 tuners.

SuzukHammer
09-01-2010, 03:37 PM
Believe this or not; but, I got the Mahalo friction tuners to work and they hold the tune for at least a day on a soprano.

ALl I had to do was read a recommendation I found on this UU site and the problem was solved.

All I had to do was tighten the screws.

When I looked at the product, I thought no way can they hold a tune. They do with the right amount of elbow grease.

thejumpingflea
09-01-2010, 03:47 PM
Good for you. I like frictions for their light weight and look. A good set can be very accurate to tune as well!

cletus
09-01-2010, 03:50 PM
let us not forget our good friends at kamaka who use friction tuners on sopranos and concerts! :)

My '70s Kamaka baritone has friction tuners. They work just fine so far, but I have not changed the strings yet.
Friction tuners do look very cool to me.

mailman
09-01-2010, 04:03 PM
Is it recommended to switch Geared tuners to Friction tuners? (Was just wondering how it would affect the uke)
And do i bring it to a luthier for a switch? Mine's a KPK concert, if that helps.

I would NOT recommend switching from geared tuners to friction tuners. Doing so would leave several exposed screw holes in the back of the headstock where the geared tuners' mounting screws were.

I don't mean to imply that I prefer friction tuners over geared tuners now. I just no longer dislike friction tuners....

olgoat52
09-01-2010, 06:20 PM
gotoh sells a less expensive and more expensive friction tuner. Has anyone tried the more expensive one? I have been considering it. Need to find them with Amber knobs. Expensive http://elderly.com/accessories/items/GUKGB.htm
Less expensive http://elderly.com/accessories/items/GUKNW.htm

sukie
09-01-2010, 07:26 PM
After trying to like friction tuners for 2 years I have finally decided I don't like them at all. I've even argued here about giving them a try. I give up. ISH!

But, Mailman, I'm glad you have started to like them. That's what great about this world -- there's room for everyone's opinion.

mm stan
09-01-2010, 08:05 PM
It takes a big mailman to admit he's wrong... :nana:

I totally agree with what ukecandothat......
From that I hope we all can learn and benefit from it..sometimes you gotta think outside the box..
I'm guilty of the same thing too when I started..the learning curb and experience gained, probally still do..
For me too, I'm always still learning new things and to think things out, and not only in ukulele.

Pippin
09-01-2010, 09:08 PM
Friction tuners are more tradition-looking, but geared tuners are far more efficient unless you buy planetary-gear friction tuners. For me, I like the precision of geared tuners, but replacing them with friction tuners changes the "balance" of your instrument and that is something you might want to consider before the change.

clayton56
09-01-2010, 10:32 PM
Friction tuners are more tradition-looking, but geared tuners are far more efficient unless you buy planetary-gear friction tuners. For me, I like the precision of geared tuners, but replacing them with friction tuners changes the "balance" of your instrument and that is something you might want to consider before the change.

Friction tuners are the essence of efficiency

donzamacleod
09-01-2010, 10:45 PM
I have never had a problem with my geared tuners in fact my ukes stay in tune for days. I find friction ones ugly but thats my opinion.

Ingrate
09-02-2010, 05:24 AM
gotoh sells a less expensive and more expensive friction tuner. Has anyone tried the more expensive one? I have been considering it. Need to find them with Amber knobs. Expensive http://elderly.com/accessories/items/GUKGB.htm
Less expensive http://elderly.com/accessories/items/GUKNW.htm

1. Yes, I bought the Gotoh Deluxe tuners. They're much better than the standard Gotohs I replaced. Even when tightened down enough to hold tune, they're easier and smoother to adjust.
2. Mainland Ukes has what appears to be the same tuner for $20, looking at the enlarged online images.

jeff

UKISOCIETY
09-02-2010, 05:30 AM
... That's what great about this world -- there's room for everyone's opinion.

I disagree!

;)

UKISOCIETY
09-02-2010, 05:32 AM
I'm glad I was a bit of help with that. Thanks for the update.

olgoat52
09-02-2010, 12:07 PM
1. Yes, I bought the Gotoh Deluxe tuners. They're much better than the standard Gotohs I replaced. Even when tightened down enough to hold tune, they're easier and smoother to adjust.
2. Mainland Ukes has what appears to be the same tuner for $20, looking at the enlarged online images.

jeff

Interesting. I'll have to send Mike a note and see if he knows if they are the same as the expensive Gotohs. One of the ukes I was thinking about upgrading was a mainland. Wouldn't that be a pisser to spend half a hundred and end up with the same thing... Oh wait, I do that shit all the time. ;)

Ingrate
09-02-2010, 04:59 PM
Interesting. I'll have to send Mike a note and see if he knows if they are the same as the expensive Gotohs. One of the ukes I was thinking about upgrading was a mainland. Wouldn't that be a pisser to spend half a hundred and end up with the same thing... Oh wait, I do that shit all the time. ;)

Sadly, I ordered the Deluxe Gotohs from Elderly. I say this, because they were in a blister pack, and Gotoh was nowhere to be seen on the label. They're great tuners, but I'll try those from Mainland next time, for less than half the cost. The website images look nearly the same, except for a slight difference in the plastic handle.

mm stan
09-02-2010, 05:24 PM
Maybe Just a little different, Jeff..Remember most of the times you get what you pay for in quality...
However there are simiarities in design, with few components....wonder if the copyright has been expired???
MM Stan..