View Full Version : Replacing tuning machines

09-11-2011, 07:39 PM
So I've had my Koa Pili Koko tenor uke for about a month now. Two days ago, I replaced the rosewood saddle with a bone one (SO MUCH BETTER!) and decided that I'm officially not satisfied with the tuning machines on the KPK. Yesterday, I ordered a new set of Grover tuning machines from StewMac (http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tuners/Ukulele_tuners/Grover_Ukulele_Tuning_Machines.html -- gold with black knobs).

When the tuners come in, does anyone have any advice to share with me when I change them out?

Thanks, in advance...
- Sean V.

09-11-2011, 07:53 PM
Pretty much straight forward. Remove the 2 screws, pull the tuner rearward. On the faceplate bushing, I had to push them out from the backside with a flat tip screwdriver, carefully. Hope the new bushings are the same size for a press fit. Good luck.............................BO............... ..............

09-11-2011, 08:04 PM
I just posted this yesterday when i switched from Grover's to a nice set of Waverly's,....but not because the Grover tuners didn't work well. The ones you ordered will be fine,...but on my soprano the ones on there with the solid metal buttons were just too darn heavy. Because of the fairly thick headstock on mine, the regular Grover uke tuners had too short a post. I think my uke had longer post guitar tuners on it instead, and the button choices are one! (all metal)

Also, i wanted to combine the other ebony appointments i made (nut, saddle, and bridge pins) with a nice tuner having ebony buttons also. So that's why i switched.

Anyway,....i went over a lot of what i ran into,.....with some pics and tips you might find useful.


09-11-2011, 08:06 PM
Based on the pictures I found of your uke, the screw mounting holes for the existing tuners are offset vertically, while the Grover holes are in line vertically, so you may have exposed holes (filled or unfilled) from the old tuners when you're done. You may want to remove just one of the existing tuners and set one of the Grovers in without drilling new holes so you can see what it will look like. Drilling new pilot holes is not difficult (though care is needed) but you'll want to see the results first.

09-21-2011, 01:39 PM
Hey, thanks for all the advice guys. The new Grovers are in! My co-worker, who obsessively mods his guitars, did the job for me. He kept the existing ferrules, because he said that the Grover ones would've required him to drill the holes a little wider. The pegs fit just fine in the existing ones and the gold color matched decently enough. As for filling the old holes, I'm gonna just leave it as is for now, since I don't plan on selling the KPK anytime soon and they don't bother me. You also might think the tuners might look a little off in the photos, but they are a bit deceiving because the KPK headstock is not a symmetrical shape.

The tuning machines themselves are a really great upgrade, as they now keep my Worth Clears consistently tuned. Totally worth the $24! Now, between my recent bone saddle upgrade and the tuners my KPK is pretty much exactly as I want it to be. Woot!


Sean V.

mr moonlight
09-21-2011, 10:45 PM
Doesn't look like you have too much room there, but I just put the screws back in my old holes rather than fill them. When I got my Kala, I swapped the saddle, threw on some Gotoh tuners and set it up just how I like it. I recommend filling the holes with something. It will help keep moisture out. A little clear nail polish or a little dab of epoxy will do the trick.

09-22-2011, 08:35 AM
Ah, great suggestion, Mr. Moonlight! I shall do that... Many thanks.

09-22-2011, 02:30 PM
One thing I do recommend is if the existing tuners have front bushings you make sure they aren't bonded to the finish before pushing them out. Discovered the hard way (Kiwaya KSL02) that sometimes manufacturers install the tuners before the finish has fully cured and pushing out a bushing can lift the finish. Unfortunately, sometimes the bushings are knurled and won't rotate.

If the bushing for the new tuner has a wider "footprint" on the front of the headstock than the originals I recommend using a sharp blade to cut the finish around the old bushing right at the edge of it. Then, when you push it out it won't lift the finish even if it was installed when the finish wasn't cured. The new, larger, bushing will cover the circle you scored. I wish I'd known enough to do this when I upgraded the friction tuners on my Kiwaya to a better grade of Grover friction tuners - as it is I've got a tiny chip in the finish that just barely shows if you know to look for it. The bushings on the new tuners are large enough to almost completely cover the chip, but not quite. If I'd known the finish was bonded to the old tuners I'd have scored the finish and it wouldn't have lifted, then the new bushings would have completely covered the scored area. oh well.

Of course, if the bushings on the new tuners aren't large enough to cover the area, you obviously don't want to score the finish!