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View Full Version : Advise or help with Kamaka (Schaller) friction tuners



Skinny Money McGee
09-27-2012, 12:53 PM
I am having one heck of a time tuning this Kamaka HF-1. The tuners are not smooth when turning. They are very jerky except for the the "E" string tuner. The e tuner is the only smooth one.

I have loosened all the tuners and hand tightened them to the point where they don't slip.

Also, should there be slop between the tuning knob and the barrel? You can tune these sharp or flat slightly without moving the barrel.

Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

Millbrook
10-01-2012, 02:28 PM
I have the same Kamaka soprano, and I agree that the tuners are finicky. Try adjusting them with a screwdriver instead of your fingers -- you can make finer adjustments to the tension that way.

stevepetergal
10-01-2012, 04:19 PM
If it's new, I'd call Kamaka and ask them what to do. If it's not new, I'd replace them with something else. I've tried out those tuners dozens of times and always found them way to herky-jerky for the price, and near impossible to adjust.

coolkayaker1
10-01-2012, 05:58 PM
I've tried out those tuners dozens of times and always found them way to herky-jerky for the price, and near impossible to adjust.

I agree with Steve. I have not had trouble with Gotoh or KoAloha frictions, though.

Skinny Money McGee
10-02-2012, 02:47 AM
I agree with Steve. I have not had trouble with Gotoh or KoAloha frictions, though.

From the looks of the pictures, looks like KoAloha uses the Gotoh UKA nickel plated tuners. (maybe they don't) I may go ahead a buy a set of Gotoh tuners. Anyone know where you can buy them in the US?

Stew-Mac carries Gotoh, but not the UKA, and won't order them. They said "if it's not in the catalog they can't get them"

----

Nevermind, found them on Hana Lina's website. Elderly has them too, but for 10 dollars more.

ancient
10-02-2012, 04:08 AM
I have a Kamaka HF-2 Concert uke that I really love. The friction tuners are not so good. Has anyone sent an email to Kamaka with complaints about these tuners?

Steedy
10-02-2012, 04:25 AM
The Schaller geared tuners on Kamaka ukes don't seem all that great either. Switching to Grovers might be an improvement.

Skinny Money McGee
10-02-2012, 06:18 AM
I have a Kamaka HF-2 Concert uke that I really love. The friction tuners are not so good. Has anyone sent an email to Kamaka with complaints about these tuners?

I have not talked to Kamaka, but plan on it as soon as I find a set of tuners that work and look good. Even though the Kamaka tuners look good, they are not very functional. I bought a set of Grover's that look identical, even though I haven't installed them, (and won't) they have the same slop between the barrel and peg. Interestingly my cheap Formica Martin OXK has Grover sta-tite 4W friction tuners that are very smooth. Might install these if I can find a decent looking button. http://www.ukuleleworld.com/friction-tuning-pegs-grover-4w-set-of-4-white-button.html


The Schaller geared tuners on Kamaka ukes don't seem all that great either. Switching to Grovers might be an improvement.

I have a Kanile'a tenor with the closed geared grover tuners. I think they are either the mini or the mid size rotomatics, and work very well. Just wanted to stick with some smooth friction tuners for this soprano Kamaka.

Skinny Money McGee
10-02-2012, 07:42 AM
Here's some more info on the Gotoh tuners vs Kamaka Schaller

The bushing that presses into the headstock looks to be different sizes. Unfortunately the bushing on the Kamaka looks to be 8.5mm vs 8mm on the Gotoh, which may require plugging and re-drilling the headstock to the Gotoh size.

I ordered a set of Gotoh deluxe tuners from Hana Lima and will see if the tuner shafts will work with the Kamaka/Schaller headstock bushings.

Looks like the shaft is 4.9mm on the Gotoh, not sure what it is on the Kamaka/Schaller. If it works, it could be a good inexpensive fix. The Gotoh tuners cost 47 dollars delivered.

Millbrook
10-02-2012, 12:24 PM
Pegheds model 8543A (http://www.pegheds.net/peghed-picturesdetails.html) planetary geared tuners can be fitted to a Kamaka ukulele, according to the link. I think Pegheds might look nice on a Kamaka, but they're expensive compared to friction tuners.

Skinny Money McGee
10-03-2012, 11:32 AM
Went down to Elderly today and had them install new Gotoh friction tuners with the pearl knobs. Wow, what a difference, I can actually tune this uke now.

We checked to see if the kamaka/schaller headstock tuner flanges could be used with the Gotoh's, but no dice. Totally different animal. Also the Kamaka flanges were just slightly larger but only by .25mm. The uke tech said it was no problem that he could build up the hole with some sort of glue and re-drill to the new size. Took about 1 hour and it was done.

The Gotoh tuners are very smooth. I couldn't be happier.

One other bonus, these Gotoh tuners are half the weight of the Kamaka/Schaller tuners.

RyanMFT
10-03-2012, 12:01 PM
Glad to hear it, I changed the tuners on my Kamaka soprano like you did, and it is so much better, and MUCH lighter. Sometimes I don't know what Kamaka is thinking....if they ever play their ukuleles because some things they do, like using Schaller tuners, just doesn't make sense.

Perhaps these are good on a Tenor, but they just kill a soprano IMHO!

Millbrook
10-04-2012, 06:51 AM
Thanks for the report and glad to hear the replacement tuners are a success. I may follow your lead on this at some point.

guitarsnrotts
10-05-2012, 08:11 AM
I ended up installing the Grover 4W's on my older Kamaka soprano and love them.

Skinny Money McGee
10-06-2012, 08:18 AM
I ended up installing the Grover 4W's on my older Kamaka soprano and love them.

The Grover 4W's are nice and half the price of the Gotoh's, except they don't have pearl button knobs. Only white and black. Elderly sells Ivoroid replacement buttons for the 4W's that look real nice. Kind of expensive, but really nice. Both the 4W's and the Gotoh's have two internal friction surfaces that don't use the wood headstock as the friction point, which is why they are so smooth.

Picture Grover 4w with Ivoroid buttons on old gold label Kamaka

Slingblab
02-17-2013, 03:21 AM
Does anyone have experience with replacing the Schallers with the Grovers on a new Kamaka HF-1? The Schallers are definitely a PIA and I'm looking for a replacement that won't require boring or filling, etc.

Fingers crossed.
Thx -SB

coolkayaker1
02-17-2013, 03:29 AM
Skinny. This thread is great. Thanks for posting your experience. I agree, Gotoh Deluxe are the ideal friction tuners. Kiwaya uses them as standard on their ukes.

pdxuke
02-17-2013, 04:48 AM
Kamaka looks like they are heading in the direction of using the new geared 4:1 Gotohs that look like standard friction tuners. Right now they'll put them on customs, but eventually go to this all together. I will probably have to replace the tuners on my pineapple, but may wait and have Kamaka do it with these new ones.

Skinny Money McGee
02-18-2013, 03:46 AM
Does anyone have experience with replacing the Schallers with the Grovers on a new Kamaka HF-1? The Schallers are definitely a PIA and I'm looking for a replacement that won't require boring or filling, etc.

Fingers crossed.
Thx -SB


Find a good guitar/uke tech and just do it. It helps the value by helping the playability (IMO). These are produced in such quantities, they will never be collector items like the old Martins are, however they are a higher quality build now then they ever have been. I like my 2011 HF-1 more every time I play it.

Skinny Money McGee
02-18-2013, 03:55 AM
Kamaka looks like they are heading in the direction of using the new geared 4:1 Gotohs that look like standard friction tuners. Right now they'll put them on customs, but eventually go to this all together. I will probably have to replace the tuners on my pineapple, but may wait and have Kamaka do it with these new ones.


You can buy the 4:1 Gotoh tuners right now. It's an easy job for a good tech to do and I'm sure there are plenty in Portland.

Slingblab
02-18-2013, 05:21 AM
You can buy the 4:1 Gotoh tuners right now. It's an easy job for a good tech to do and I'm sure there are plenty in Portland.

Well my uke is just one week in the house new :D so I'm debating on trying to get used to the Schallers (if that's possible) or doing as you did with the Gotoh's, with the required fill and drill. As you can understand I'm a bit apprehensive to do that with this Kamaka. I know an excellent Luthier here in Central CA who I will talk to this week.

I believe part of the issue right now is the new strings are stretching, necessitating daily tuning. I tune, lock the peg, and the next day they are slightly flat. I asked HMS to replace the stock strings with Worth CM's but instead they just put them in the case, so I still have the Kamaka stocks on the uke. Who knows, maybe by the time these strings season a little I'll be a Schaller expert. :)

Thanks for the advice and recommendations. I'll add to the thread as I progress.

pdxuke
02-18-2013, 05:41 AM
Find a good guitar/uke tech and just do it. It helps the value by helping the playability (IMO). These are produced in such quantities, they will never be collector items like the old Martins are, however they are a higher quality build now then they ever have been. I like my 2011 HF-1 more every time I play it.

Of course one never knows what will become a collector's item, but my own thoughts on these new millennium Kamakas are this:

1. I doubt Kamaka is close to putting out the number of ukes the Martin factory did in the 1920s
2. These builds are wonderful. From what I'm told the best they've ever been.

Both those things could make these current Kamakas highly collectible someday. Could. They are certainly great players today. But the Schallers take getting used to-- I wish they just used fancy Grovers.

EDIT: Oh, and I think there is an adaptor product that permits use of Grovers without filling the holes. I can't remember the name of the product, but I recall reading about it.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
02-18-2013, 05:47 AM
I had trouble adjusting the Schaller tuners on my HF-1 as well. Took me a while (like months) of small adjustments to get the tuners working well. Since then, though, no problems. With plenty of patience and attention, it should be possible find the "sweet spot" for Schaller tuners.

Skinny Money McGee
02-18-2013, 09:52 AM
Of course one never knows what will become a collector's item, but my own thoughts on these new millennium Kamakas are this:

1. I doubt Kamaka is close to putting out the number of ukes the Martin factory did in the 1920s
2. These builds are wonderful. From what I'm told the best they've ever been.

Both those things could make these current Kamakas highly collectible someday. Could. They are certainly great players today. But the Schallers take getting used to-- I wish they just used fancy Grovers.

EDIT: Oh, and I think there is an adaptor product that permits use of Grovers without filling the holes. I can't remember the name of the product, but I recall reading about it.


I'm sure your right about the total numbers of Martin vs Kamaka, but there are far more "New" Kamaka's out there then there are 1920's Martins, and the old Kamaka's are nowhere near the build quality of the new ones. They will never become a collectors item as long as I am alive.. lol. I think people generally have more knowledge and appreciation of quality ukes, therefore fewer will be trashed over the years. Imagine how many perfectly good Martin's were probably tossed in the garbage can over the years? hurts to think about it !!

and, you only have to add about .25mm coating of glue for the Gotoh deluxe tuners to fit, which is almost nothing. No adapter product needed.

Slingblab
02-19-2013, 07:41 AM
I had posted similar questions on the Flea Market Music Bulletin board about Grover tuners and just received a very interesting response regarding Gotoh tuners which I will add here:

"I have purchased a set of Gotoh UPT planetary tuners to replace the Schallers on my HF-1. I got them from Kamaka. These are what they are going to be using in place of the Schallers. They told me that they require a 25/64 hole to fit. I am having it done by a luthier this Friday. I know that wasn't the answer to your question exactly but may be another option."

I looked them up.
http://www.g-gotoh.com/international/?btp_product=uptuptl

jbm
02-20-2013, 05:32 AM
I am the person quoted in this post. I will try to get some pictures and details on Friday when I have this done and post the information. I have had my HF-1 for a couple of months now and have yet to get used to those Schaller tuners. I think it's possible that at this point there are good and bad batches of them. That may be the reason why some people don't have as much trouble as others.



I had posted similar questions on the Flea Market Music Bulletin board about Grover tuners and just received a very interesting response regarding Gotoh tuners which I will add here:

"I have purchased a set of Gotoh UPT planetary tuners to replace the Schallers on my HF-1. I got them from Kamaka. These are what they are going to be using in place of the Schallers. They told me that they require a 25/64 hole to fit. I am having it done by a luthier this Friday. I know that wasn't the answer to your question exactly but may be another option."

I looked them up.
http://www.g-gotoh.com/international/?btp_product=uptuptl

Slingblab
02-20-2013, 09:19 AM
thx jbm. Look forward to your input.

Slingblab
02-21-2013, 03:16 PM
I had posted similar questions on the Flea Market Music Bulletin board about Grover tuners and just received a very interesting response regarding Gotoh tuners which I will add here:

"I have purchased a set of Gotoh UPT planetary tuners to replace the Schallers on my HF-1. I got them from Kamaka. These are what they are going to be using in place of the Schallers. They told me that they require a 25/64 hole to fit. I am having it done by a luthier this Friday. I know that wasn't the answer to your question exactly but may be another option."

I looked them up.
http://www.g-gotoh.com/international/?btp_product=uptuptl

I emailed Kamaka a few days ago to inquire about the planetarys. This is the reply:

"We can send you a set of Gotoh keys. You will need to drill the hole slightly larger and the set is $90 plus shipping."

Made it sound easy. That is better than filling and drilling for sure. Being a woodworker hobbyist I'm considering. The trick is a drill press and to keep the headstock level and at a perfect right angle to the drill bit. Then center on the hole and drill. Yes, I'm apprehensive, but that's what a luthier would need to do. Any thoughts?

Skinny Money McGee
02-21-2013, 03:50 PM
I emailed Kamaka a few days ago to inquire about the planetarys. This is the reply:

"We can send you a set of Gotoh keys. You will need to drill the hole slightly larger and the set is $90 plus shipping."

Made it sound easy. That is better than filling and drilling for sure. Being a woodworker hobbyist I'm considering. The trick is a drill press and to keep the headstock level and at a perfect right angle to the drill bit. Then center on the hole and drill. Yes, I'm apprehensive, but that's what a luthier would need to do. Any thoughts?

Might be a good idea to post the question in the "Luthier's Lounge" where you will get professional advise. I believe most will advise to use a quality reamer instead of a drill press, like one of these. http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Reamers/Peghole_Reamers.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=103829

I would worry about the headstock climbing up the drill bit and causing damage.

jbm
02-22-2013, 03:18 PM
Had the Gotoh planetary tuners put on my HF-1 today. Done by a luthier. It required the holes to be reamed a little. Other than that no problems at all. They turned the HF-1 into a new instrument. It's so easy to tune and they are noticeably lighter in weight than the original Schaller tuners. Here are some pics: before, during, and after.

Slingblab
02-22-2013, 05:03 PM
Nice. Thank you Joe.

jbm
02-23-2013, 12:38 AM
Here's one more shot of the tuners before they were put on.

49289

Cornfield
03-12-2013, 11:46 AM
I ordered the new Gotoh tuners from Kamaka today

Skinny Money McGee
03-13-2013, 01:45 PM
I ordered the new Gotoh tuners from Kamaka today

Post some Picts when you get them installed

jbm
03-13-2013, 02:54 PM
Post some Picts when you get them installed

See post #30 of this thread for the Gotoh planetary tuners on my HF-1

Skinny Money McGee
03-13-2013, 03:16 PM
See post #30 of this thread for the Gotoh planetary tuners on my HF-1

I saw your pictures, they look great... I didn't know which Kamaka MrEWorm has.

Cornfield
03-14-2013, 03:09 AM
I saw your pictures, they look great... I didn't know which Kamaka MrEWorm has.

I bought an HF-1 in late December. I have never liked Soprano's (fat fat fat fingers) but I liked this one. The tuners just don't work that well.
I have a 2012 HF-3 with factory geared tuners that work fine. Also an early HF-38 with open geared tuners that work nicely now that I put some light oil on them.

Slingblab
03-14-2013, 05:23 AM
See post #30 of this thread for the Gotoh planetary tuners on my HF-1

I got mine from Kamaka last week. After much thought I've decided to install myself, followed by new Worth CM strings. I'm a fair woodworker and very patient (re: anal) so I believe it's doable for me. LOL. I've ordered a reamer to do the job, and read a ton of forum posts hither and yon about installing using step drills, reamers, etc. I will post pics as well after the install.

coolkayaker1
03-14-2013, 06:02 AM
I got mine from Kamaka last week. After much thought I've decided to install myself, followed by new Worth CM strings. I'm a fair woodworker and very patient (re: anal) so I believe it's doable for me. LOL. I've ordered a reamer to do the job, and read a ton of forum posts hither and yon about installing using step drills, reamers, etc. I will post pics as well after the install..

Sling, could you please post a link or give exact name and size to the reamer you ordered? Thanks, it'd help me.

Slingblab
03-14-2013, 08:14 AM
.

Sling, could you please post a link or give exact name and size to the reamer you ordered? Thanks, it'd help me.

http://www.allparts.com/search.asp?search=&keyword=LT-0815-000+LT-0815-000

It will arrive in a day or so and I can let you know my opinion before you buy if you'd like.

Kamaka says to just use a 25/64" hole. With that as a guide I will start at the back and ream just enough for the post to fit snugly, then ream from the front for the slightly smaller bushing to fit snugly. One other thing, these tuners can be had from japarts.com also, just be sure you get the longer version (UPTL) for the headstock on the HF-1. if you bought from Kamaka they will be the UPTL's. When they arrived from Kamaka the package had their internal part # on them so I called to confirm which version it was. It was the UPTL. I spoke to Andrew Kitakis (ukulelesite.com) and he confirmed that for me as well.

Skinny Money McGee
03-15-2013, 01:01 AM
http://www.allparts.com/search.asp?search=&keyword=LT-0815-000+LT-0815-000

It will arrive in a day or so and I can let you know my opinion before you buy if you'd like.

Kamaka says to just use a 25/64" hole. With that as a guide I will start at the back and ream just enough for the post to fit snugly, then ream from the front for the slightly smaller bushing to fit snugly. One other thing, these tuners can be had from japarts.com also, just be sure you get the longer version (UPTL) for the headstock on the HF-1. if you bought from Kamaka they will be the UPTL's. When they arrived from Kamaka the package had their internal part # on them so I called to confirm which version it was. It was the UPTL. I spoke to Andrew Kitakis (ukulelesite.com) and he confirmed that for me as well.

You may want to consider one of these instead http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Reamers/Peghole_Reamers.html?actn=100101&xst=3&xsr=103829 More money, but.... I would be afraid you might get what you paid for

Cornfield
03-20-2013, 03:16 AM
The HF-1, Gotoh planetary tuners and Worth CM are all at the local luthiers. Should be ready to pick up in a week. The luthier is very good but he is also very busy.

Cornfield
03-22-2013, 08:48 AM
I got it back today. The new tuners look great, better smaller and lighter than the originals. The luthier was impressed.

Anyone want a set of used Kamaka Schaller friction tuners?

Cornfield
03-25-2013, 06:34 AM
508875088850889

Photos of the new tuners on my HF-1

guitarsnrotts
03-25-2013, 01:34 PM
Installed the Grover 4W tuners on my older Kamaka and they work great.

Slingblab
07-21-2013, 07:42 AM
http://www.allparts.com/search.asp?search=&keyword=LT-0815-000+LT-0815-000

It will arrive in a day or so and I can let you know my opinion before you buy if you'd like.

Kamaka says to just use a 25/64" hole. With that as a guide I will start at the back and ream just enough for the post to fit snugly, then ream from the front for the slightly smaller bushing to fit snugly. One other thing, these tuners can be had from japarts.com also, just be sure you get the longer version (UPTL) for the headstock on the HF-1. if you bought from Kamaka they will be the UPTL's. When they arrived from Kamaka the package had their internal part # on them so I called to confirm which version it was. It was the UPTL. I spoke to Andrew Kitakis (ukulelesite.com) and he confirmed that for me as well.




http://www.allparts.com/search.asp?search=&keyword=LT-0815-000+LT-0815-000

It will arrive in a day or so and I can let you know my opinion before you buy if you'd like.

Kamaka says to just use a 25/64" hole. With that as a guide I will start at the back and ream just enough for the post to fit snugly, then ream from the front for the slightly smaller bushing to fit snugly. One other thing, these tuners can be had from japarts.com also, just be sure you get the longer version (UPTL) for the headstock on the HF-1. if you bought from Kamaka they will be the UPTL's. When they arrived from Kamaka the package had their internal part # on them so I called to confirm which version it was. It was the UPTL. I spoke to Andrew Kitakis (ukulelesite.com) and he confirmed that for me as well.

and now, the rest of the story...

Since receiving the Gotohs months ago, I procrastinated installing them on my HF-1. Call it apprehension (read - chicken) but nevertheless they were still sitting on the desk in the bag. That is until this morning. You see bout 3-4 weeks ago I purchased an '07 HF-2 on eBay which still had the original strings on it. Perfect condition, except this morning when I started to restring it I found that one of the Schaller tuners was broken. Someone had cranked too tight (probably with a coin) on one of the thumb screws and it must have been near broken. As I installed the new string and proceeded to finger tighten the thumb screw it broke. Now the thing would just turn endlessly and was useless.

Decision time. Shall I get another Schaller? Install the Gotohs, use a luthier? etc etc. As I pondered my choices I was mindful of some email correspondence I'd had over the last few months with a few a uke luthiers and they had advised me it was very doable for me. so...

I certainly wasn't going to order another Schaller tuner so I decided now was the time to jump in and install the new Gotohs. I grabbed my new reamer from Allparts Music, my bag of Gotoh tuners; laid the uke on a nice thick towel and went for it. I removed one Schaller tuner and tapped the old bushing out. With the Schaller out I put one of the Gotohs up next to the hole to get an idea of how much I would have to ream. I picked the uke up off of the towel and holding the neck in my left hand I set the uke straight up on my left leg (headstock about eye level) with the uke facing to my left. I held the uke firmly just below the headstock with my left hand and with my right hand I carefully and slowly with slight pressure worked the reamer FROM THE BACK clockwise in the hole. Going in a few turns - then back, in a little more and back, etc.. allowing the reamer to do the job without forcing it. As I worked the reamer I eyeballed it, lining it up with the Schaller in the hole next to the one I was working on. This helped me keep it straight when reaming. Although I noticed that the reamer itself seemed to stay fairly straight in and of itself. I checked numerous times as I reamed using the tuner itself as my guide. When the hole would just barely allow the tuner body to go into the hole I stopped reaming. I inserted the tuner from the back, inserted the bushing and washer through the front and finger tightened it. I then proceeded to the next tuner in the same manner until all four were done. I then carefully tightened the bushing/tuners snuggly (no need to crank on it) using a 10mm wrench.

I probably made it sound more complicated than it is, and said carefully too many times but was I trying to give a visual. The whole process took 1 hour. What an amazing difference when tuning. The Schaller tuning fight is over. At least on the HF-2. Now to order a set for the HF-1.

I must say Mahalo to Andrew Kitakis from HMS and Alan "Griz" Tagama from KoAloha for encouraging me to do the change out myself. I took some phone pics and was going to upload them but they're really lousy. I will follow up with good clear pics soon.