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Ataraxia
07-29-2011, 07:13 AM
Does anyone own a Mainland soprano with geared tuners and a Mi-Si installed? I'm looking for some first-hand experience with 'em. I contacted Mike and he was very helpful in answering my questions, but I'm looking for everyone's opinion on this..

My thinking is this... If I have a Mi-Si installed then it might balance out the weight of the uke and of course let me play live (main reason for getting it, duhh lol). As Mike had mentioned however, the Mi-Si is fairly lightweight and it may not make much of a difference. My other concern is over how all the extra weight might affect the acoustic resonance on such a small instrument.

Any thoughts?

cheekmeat
07-29-2011, 07:31 AM
I have a Mainland Mahogany Soprano with a Mi-Si. I have friction tuners, but I think I can speak to this somewhat. The Mi-Si does not seem to have any effect on the balance of the uke. Even with a chord sticking out of the bottom I have had no balance issues at all.
The uke sounds great acoustic or amplified.
I wouldn't worry about it.

Ataraxia
07-29-2011, 08:01 AM
Thanks! I just noticed that the Mi-Si requires a quick charge. I actually prefer a passive external p/up instead, so I guess it's now a non-issue. I had considered the friction tuners, but I've never had any luck with friction pegs. I've played guitar for a long time and I'm used to sealed geared tuners that never require any maintenance.. I don't want to have to tweak the screws. Also, something about the idea of a tuner rubbing against the wood on my ukulele rubs me the wrong way :(.

There's no arguing that they look GREAT on a headstock though! I wish pegheds weren't so expensive!

OldePhart
07-29-2011, 11:21 AM
Thanks! I just noticed that the Mi-Si requires a quick charge. I actually prefer a passive external p/up instead, so I guess it's now a non-issue. I had considered the friction tuners, but I've never had any luck with friction pegs. I've played guitar for a long time and I'm used to sealed geared tuners that never require any maintenance.. I don't want to have to tweak the screws. Also, something about the idea of a tuner rubbing against the wood on my ukulele rubs me the wrong way :(.

There's no arguing that they look GREAT on a headstock though! I wish pegheds weren't so expensive!

I wouldn't let the charging thing bother you. I have a MiSi in a Mainland tenor and it holds its charge for weeks and weeks between uses. I didn't use the pickup for about three months then used it around Christmas after forgetting to charge - worked fine.

John

Ataraxia
07-29-2011, 01:10 PM
Thanks John! That's certainly something to think about then. I've heard the MiSi sounds great.

Does anyone have one of their sopranos with geared tuners? How unbalanced do they make the ukulele? I have a Makai soprano with open geared tuners that balances around the 10th fret and I consider that to be perfectly acceptable. The Kala Travel soprano however, is atrocious in terms of balance. What should I expect with the sealed geared tuners on the Mainlands?

If it were enough of a weight difference, then I may consider going with the friction pegs.. it's just that I'm the type of person who worries about everything... having to tighten the screws to proper tension, the possibility of stripping one of the screws, the tuners rubbing against the headstock, humidity causing it to go out of tune.. blah blah blah

I really don't understand why friction tuners are still being used in 2011, it's a bit crazy... I find it akin to people using beepers. I feel that Kanilea is going in the right direction by offering open geared tuners and bridge pins.. IMO, who cares if it looks like a small guitar? I'll take function over appearance anyday.

roxhum
07-29-2011, 01:53 PM
I really don't understand why friction tuners are still being used in 2011, it's a bit crazy... I find it akin to people using beepers. I feel that Kanilea is going in the right direction by offering open geared tuners and bridge pins.. IMO, who cares if it looks like a small guitar? I'll take function over appearance anyday.

That is funny because I don't understand what all the fuss is about friction tuners. They are easy to use and so much lighter than the geared. Days of playing can go by and I don't have to adjust them and I never get out a screw driver unless I am changing the strings. Just a simple tap and they are tuned rather than twisting and twisting a geared tuner. I don't understand why anyone wants those big heavy ole geared tuners on any ukulele. (-: I don't even own a geared tuner ukulele anymore. Sold my Mainland because they were geared tuners. Anyone wanting to sell a Mainland soprano with friction tuners pm me.

blulegend
07-29-2011, 02:08 PM
Modern friction tuners don't rub on the wood. There is a tube with teeth that sits snug in the hole. Then the tuner goes through and creates friction the the tube.

Ataraxia
07-29-2011, 07:32 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but..


The best friction tuning pegs also require a bottom recess, and do not depend on the friction between the knob and the headstock to hold the tension of the ukulele string, but have two friction chambers to hold the strings. Examples of this are the Grover 4's

That's from Ukulele World. It would imply that unless you're using more expensive pegs like the Grover 4's then they still make contact with the headstock and require the friction from the wood making contact with the tuner. I've disassembled my friction pegs when I removed them to install geared tuners, on mine at least, there was no tube in the mechanism.. just some metal teeth that make contact with the inner surface of the holes in the headstock.

Ataraxia
07-29-2011, 07:47 PM
That is funny because I don't understand what all the fuss is about friction tuners. They are easy to use and so much lighter than the geared. Days of playing can go by and I don't have to adjust them and I never get out a screw driver unless I am changing the strings. Just a simple tap and they are tuned rather than twisting and twisting a geared tuner. I don't understand why anyone wants those big heavy ole geared tuners on any ukulele. (-: I don't even own a geared tuner ukulele anymore. Sold my Mainland because they were geared tuners. Anyone wanting to sell a Mainland soprano with friction tuners pm me.

I understand that they're vintage and that's why most people like them, but as with most instruments, they'll eventually all be replaced with better technologies. Kanilea, Chuck Moore, LoPrinzi (some), and DaSilva (peghed geared) use open-geared tuners on their sopranos. I would imagine that if some of the most respected builders are willing to use the better tuners, then the other K-brand companies are just trying to remain traditional for the sake of aesthetics.

Consider this: How many posts do you see about people replacing their friction pegs for new tuners, not geared mind you.. but new friction pegs. I've read about so many cases where people say it's been necessary to put on new friction pegs, either because the screw gets stripped or because the washer loses friction. Geared tuners are for life, you never have to adjust them or even think about them... never mind replacing them. Using a screw for so many years is bound to wear out the screw head, buying replacement screws is a small thing but it's also so unnecessary and stupid when there are better technologies available.

Also, as far as weight is concerned.. the friction tuners on a Kamaka weigh far more than many open-geared tuners that I've used. I am happy that you like your Mainland though :), is it one of the Mahogany models? How unbalanced was it with the geared tuners before switching? Did it make the uke uncomfortable to play?

roxhum
07-30-2011, 04:27 AM
Also, as far as weight is concerned.. the friction tuners on a Kamaka weigh far more than many open-geared tuners that I've used. I am happy that you like your Mainland though :), is it one of the Mahogany models? How unbalanced was it with the geared tuners before switching? Did it make the uke uncomfortable to play?[/QUOTE]

Well maybe I just have never used a good quality open geared tuner. I sold my Mainland because I prefer super lightweight well balanced ukuleles and the Mainland was heavy from what I assumed was the geared tuners. Currently I only have ukes with friction tuners. I don't know anything about vintage or looks. I just know the ukes I have preferred have been light, they haven't been heavier in the neck because of heavy tuners and that meant friction tuners on the ones I have personally experienced and tuning them is a non issue for me. In fact when I do have a geared tuner it kind of throws me off because I am not used to having to turn the knob so much to accomplish what I accomplish with a tap on the friction tuners. I thought the geared vs friction was a preference issue and I didn't realize that the friction tuners were considered old fashion.
My Mahogany Mainland was not uncomfortable to play but in comparison to my Black Bear with friction tuners it was not nearly as comfortable to play. It was noticeable heavier on the head end of the uke and not as balanced.

Ataraxia
07-30-2011, 04:52 AM
I'm sorry, of course it's certainly a matter of preference. I just have a hard time understanding why people choose them. I hear you on many of the things you've mentioned and completely agree that a heavy headstock can make an ukulele very uncomfortable to play. It also seems that almost all of the famous (modern) soprano players I know choose geared tuners.. Shigeto Takahashi, Iwao.. So I had assumed that it was because friction pegs were far too unreliable for stage and travel. I would have no problem getting friction tuners if I knew I would never have to replace any of the screws or the tuners themselves.

Skitzic
07-30-2011, 05:54 AM
I have a Mainland soprano with geared tuners and I don't think it feels unbalanced. It's not perfectly balanced like my Loprinzi, but it's not difficult to hold.

roxhum
07-30-2011, 06:59 AM
I have a Mainland soprano with geared tuners and I don't think it feels unbalanced. It's not perfectly balanced like my Loprinzi, but it's not difficult to hold.

Hi Skitzic, The geared tuners are fine on the soprano. I just prefer the lighter friction tuner. I spoke up in defense of the friction tuner because I was surprised to read that the friction tuners were outdated or inferior. It is all preference and I often think what you first learned on may weigh you in one direction or another.

roxhum
07-30-2011, 07:02 AM
I'm sorry, of course it's certainly a matter of preference. I just have a hard time understanding why people choose them. I hear you on many of the things you've mentioned and completely agree that a heavy headstock can make an ukulele very uncomfortable to play. It also seems that almost all of the famous (modern) soprano players I know choose geared tuners.. Shigeto Takahashi, Iwao.. So I had assumed that it was because friction pegs were far too unreliable for stage and travel. I would have no problem getting friction tuners if I knew I would never have to replace any of the screws or the tuners themselves.

I just had to jump in because I like the friction tuners and I have zero problem with them. I had never heard that they were outdated or inferior. That was news to me.

Ataraxia
07-30-2011, 08:50 AM
Well they certainly apply a more basic mechanism to stay tuned. I think they're fine for many players, especially on sopranos. I come from a background of guitar and I certainly would never use friction pegs on any steel-stringed instrument. I suppose I'll eventually have to get used to friction pegs if I ever want to own a Kamaka or KoAloha soprano though.

I appreciate your input and opinion! Every day is a chance to learn something new, I'm just stubborn and set in my ways :(.

Skitzic
07-30-2011, 09:47 AM
Hi Skitzic, The geared tuners are fine on the soprano. I just prefer the lighter friction tuner. I spoke up in defense of the friction tuner because I was surprised to read that the friction tuners were outdated or inferior. It is all preference and I often think what you first learned on may weigh you in one direction or another.

I know. :) I was just throwing that in there quick because I have played sopranos with geared tuners that were just awkwardly unbalanced. This is not an issue on my Mainland soprano.

Ataraxia
07-30-2011, 09:56 AM
Skitzic: Thanks for the valuable input! I know that you had recommended the Mainlands to me before and I'm definitely looking at getting one now. Did you choose gold hardware? It looks nice but I wonder if it would wear off and look cheap in time. Hard to tell.

Skitzic
08-01-2011, 04:51 AM
Skitzic: Thanks for the valuable input! I know that you had recommended the Mainlands to me before and I'm definitely looking at getting one now. Did you choose gold hardware? It looks nice but I wonder if it would wear off and look cheap in time. Hard to tell.

Both of my Mainlands have gold hardware. The soprano is less than a year old, but I have a 2009 tenor with gold hardware and it's still looking good.

What buttons are you thinking about? I really love the amber buttons. They look great with the red cedar and the mango. The pearl buttons are sharp too. At some point I'm going to swap out the black buttons on my tenor for pearl, just because I think they're prettier.

OldePhart
08-01-2011, 11:43 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but..



That's from Ukulele World. It would imply that unless you're using more expensive pegs like the Grover 4's then they still make contact with the headstock and require the friction from the wood making contact with the tuner. I've disassembled my friction pegs when I removed them to install geared tuners, on mine at least, there was no tube in the mechanism.. just some metal teeth that make contact with the inner surface of the holes in the headstock.

The inner "teeth" on the shaft are actually there to KEEP the outer tube from turning in the wood (they are pressed into place, sometimes with a nut to hold them tight, and the teeth keep the whole assembly from rotating. If you disassemble the knob end you will usually find either a fiber or plastic washer and a washer with ridges - that's the actual friction mechanism. That's true even on the inexpensive tuners. The primary difference between the inexpensive and expensive tuners is the size and quality of the parts (i.e. you will usually find a delrin washer in the more expensive turners instead of fiber - delrin tends to operate smoothly and last forever).

John

OldePhart
08-01-2011, 11:47 AM
Heh, while we're on the subject...

I hadn't played my tenor in a few weeks. I pulled it out and was so annoyed that I had to put two or three turns on the A and G tuners to bring the strings back to pitch. I guess I've gotten used to just touching the friction tuners on my other ukes.

John