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View Full Version : Gotoh Planetary Tuners.....Second Thoughts



Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-19-2013, 12:12 PM
Yes, I'm having second thoughts about these. I'm sitting at my bench with a new set of Gotoh planetary tuners (in black) in front of me. Next to it is a crow which I am about to eat……

My initial impression is that these are superbly crafted and finished tuners. (These are nothing like the Gotohs I was using years ago. In fact, I've never seen any tuners quite like these.) Even the nuts and washers are nicely machined and polished; not that clunky hardware look I was expecting. And as expected there are no seam lines anywhere. I haven't had them on a scale but they are also lighter (and a bit smaller) than I had expected. I don't have them mounted on an uke yet but they seem to operate very smoothly, about the smoothest I've seen really. And personally, I neither need nor want a tuning ratio higher than 4:1. On a quality machine head that works well I think it is the perfect tuning ratio. The only possible downside is that it looks like I'll need a maximum of 7/16" headstock thickness before I start running out of post. I'm used to a head stock thickness on my tenors of between 1/2" and 17/32" but that's something I can work around. No special tools or reamers are needed for installation, simply a 3/8" hole. I'll be trying these tuners out soon on an upcoming build and I'll have a better feel for them then. Right now though, these tuners and my ukuleles seem like a good match.
Now, anyone know of any good crow recipes? Maybe it's time to become a vegetarian…..

Doc_J
01-19-2013, 12:25 PM
Are these the same Gotoh planetary tuners David Newton pictured here?
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?75330-new-Gotoh-4-1-planetary-tuners-nice!&highlight=Gotoh+Planetary+Tuners

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-19-2013, 12:39 PM
I like them in black. They will not fit all of my applications but I do feel they definitely have their place.

Dan Uke
01-19-2013, 01:06 PM
I like them in black. They will not fit all of my applications but I do feel they definitely have their place.

You just increased the sales of these tuners!! You're like EF Hutton...when Chuck Moore talks, people listen

OldePhart
01-19-2013, 01:12 PM
Now, anyone know of any good crow recipes? Maybe it's time to become a vegetarianů..

This recipe looks delicious...

Heh, heh. Seriously, I may have to give these tuners a look. I really like friction tuners on my sopranos but I sure would like to get rid of the "ears" on my baritones....

John

weerpool
01-19-2013, 01:50 PM
thanks Chuck. this made my day. still cant stand the pEGHED lol.

mailman
01-19-2013, 02:24 PM
I'm glad to see such a positive initial review on these tuners, Chuck. I have been wanting these, but have been leery due to opposition from folks more knowledgable than I. I have never warmed up to friction tuners in a 1:1 ratio, and don't like the looks of "earred" tuners on sopranos and concerts....

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-19-2013, 02:43 PM
Just know that these may not fit every head stock. If yours is even a breath over 1/2" in thickness you could have trouble. Measure first and accurately!

BlackBearUkes
01-19-2013, 03:04 PM
I like the thinner headstock, to me it just looks better. With the addition of a head plate, strength is never a problem either. If some folks wanted to add these tuners to their uke but the head is too thick, they can always recess the gear box into the back of the headstock. This would be a drastic measure, but it does work fine.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-19-2013, 03:06 PM
You just increased the sales of these tuners!! You're like EF Hutton...when Chuck Moore talks, people listen

Don't get me wrong, I like all the tuners I use. Otherwise I wouldn't use them. They are all good depending upon the specific application. I've just added these to the list of the good ones. (And believe me, they aren't all good!)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-19-2013, 03:11 PM
I like the thinner headstock, to me it just looks better. With the addition of a head plate, strength is never a problem either. If some folks wanted to add these tuners to their uke but the head is too thick, they can always recess the gear box into the back of the headstock. This would be a drastic measure, but it does work fine.

Hah! We're thinking alike Duane. That was the idea I had when I said I could work around the thickness. I tried it on a piece of scrap. I like the lower profile.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-19-2013, 03:22 PM
I like the thinner headstock, to me it just looks better.

On smaller ukes I like a thinner headstock. On tenors I prefer something proportionally thicker. Half inch is minimum for me.

OldePhart
01-19-2013, 03:25 PM
Hah! We're thinking alike Duane. That was the idea I had when I said I could work around the thickness. I tried it on a piece of scrap. I like the lower profile.

I was thinking about that, too - and I agree, the lower profile looks nice. Thanks for checking that out!

Nicko
01-19-2013, 03:36 PM
Just know that these may not fit every head stock. If yours is even a breath over 1/2" in thickness you could have trouble. Measure first and accurately!

Don't they have a long version for head stocks up to 13.5mm thick?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-19-2013, 03:42 PM
Don't they have a long version for head stocks up to 13.5mm thick?

That would be nice, I hadn't looked into that. Thanks for the 411.

AndrewKuker
01-19-2013, 08:01 PM
That would be nice, I hadn't looked into that. Thanks for the 411.

Yes, model numbers with L at the end

Skrik
01-19-2013, 08:30 PM
What's the weight like, compared with geared and friction tuners? Would they overbalance a soprano?

AndrewKuker
01-19-2013, 08:50 PM
Would they overbalance a soprano?

No.

I just wanted to say that I applaud you Chuck for giving these a closer look. The all black is quite sleek. Sticking to a conclusion based on what you previously stated is never solid reasoning.

It's nice to see that the quality of your work is also reflected in your character.

japarts
01-20-2013, 05:29 AM
Yes, model numbers with L at the end

Yes, the measurements are in metric but UPT is for 10-12mm and UPTL is for 11.5-13.5mm. Google's convert tool (which is very handy) doesn't do fractions, but it ends up being 0.39-0.47" for the UPT and 0.45-0.53" for the UPTL.

Here's the diagram: http://japarts.ca/Content/News/unsized/UPT-Diagram.gif

EDIT: I should probably also mention that there is no difference in price between UPT and UPTL.

Barbablanca
01-20-2013, 07:00 AM
I am a vegetarian, but I couldn't resist having a look if people actually do eat crow and found these recipes (http://bertc.com/subfive/recipes/threecrows.htm).

As for the tuners, I usually avoid friction tuners (too much hassle from fiddles and ouds to consider them) but I am guessing that these tuners are a kind of hybrid between guitar style geared tuners and friction tuners, aren't they?

japarts
01-20-2013, 07:09 AM
As for the tuners, I usually avoid friction tuners (too much hassle from fiddles and ouds to consider them) but I am guessing that these tuners are a kind of hybrid between guitar style geared tuners and friction tuners, aren't they?

They use a system of gears called planetary or epicyclic where the central shaft is connected to the "sun" gear which turns a set of "planet gears" against an outer ring gear. It's totally cosmic, dude. Works much nicer than friction, though it requires more space. And money, to be honest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicyclic_gearing

TheCraftedCow
01-20-2013, 01:27 PM
How much extends out the backside on a 7/16 inch thick peghead?
How big is the diameter of the unit on the backside if someone want to countersink it for a thicker headstock?
How many other tuners will fit in a 3/8" hole if someone decides they want something different?

BlackBearUkes
01-20-2013, 04:08 PM
How much extends out the backside on a 7/16 inch thick peghead?
How big is the diameter of the unit on the backside if someone want to countersink it for a thicker headstock?
How many other tuners will fit in a 3/8" hole if someone decides they want something different?

If you look at the link that japarts gives on page 2, all the dimensions are there.
As for your third question, many of the guitar style tuners that are used on thicker headstocks by many companies and luthiers take a 3/8" diameter hole.

ksiegel
01-22-2013, 01:34 AM
My friend Michael Eck sent me these photos of the Gotoh planetary tuners he installed on his National. They work well, and the style makes them look original.

47897
47898
47899
47900

For what it is worth...



-Kurt

Kevin B
01-22-2013, 10:43 AM
The the steel stringed banjo world Gotah planetary tuners have been popular for a while. They are the first choice among some major builders of bluegrass style banjos.

wendellfiddler
01-28-2013, 12:37 PM
I just installed a set of gold ones (UPTL) with the Japarts black buttons and they are fantastic. Yes, they weigh more than pegheds and more than friction pegs, but a lot less than open geared tuners. So far, I'm fine with the weight. They look great -they're really much smaller than I had imagined - miniature planetary pegs! And how to they work? Amazingly well. Smooth, solid 4 to 1 action. Just perfect tuning action. I like pegheds, but always found them a little mushy - worth it for the light weight - but these have much better action. The gold plating is a little satin - which I like. The quality seems excellent to me. I've used planetary tuners on banjos for years - these work more smoothly than any banjo tuners I've ever had.

By the way, mine are the longer ones as my headstock runs from about 12 to 13 mm and it has a slight taper - no problem.

Hms
01-22-2014, 02:46 AM
I have just received my Beltona with Gotohs fitted.
They are incredibly smooth, really nice to use. 4 to 1 feels just right when tuning.
http://i97.photobucket.com/albums/l236/hms_012/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-01/th_B692E402-7AC2-449D-978B-A4BFA7E68401_zpsm4xnhq8q.jpg (http://s97.photobucket.com/user/hms_012/media/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-01/B692E402-7AC2-449D-978B-A4BFA7E68401_zpsm4xnhq8q.jpg.html)

Here is a breakdown of a set that explains how they work
http://savethebanjos.com/Planetary%20tuners%20article.htm

h

Cornfield
01-22-2014, 03:11 AM
I had them installed on my Kamaka Soprano last year. They are lighter and better looking than the stock friction tuners that Kamaka uses.
I have a Beansprout banjo uke that Aaron Keim built in 2008. He put Gotoh's as original spec. These tuners have been around for awhile.

Tim Mullins
01-22-2014, 05:31 AM
My Kamaka HF-2L came with the Gotoh UPTs. They're just right. Right look, ratio, size, weight and operation. I'm spoiled for anything else.

Steedy
01-22-2014, 05:38 AM
Since there's a little show & tell going on, here are the Gotohs that HMS installed on my KoAloha Concert:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b362/slawson3/005_zpsc8c2f248.jpg (http://s23.photobucket.com/user/slawson3/media/005_zpsc8c2f248.jpg.html)

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b362/slawson3/004_zps8d48f852.jpg (http://s23.photobucket.com/user/slawson3/media/004_zps8d48f852.jpg.html)

They're smooth and quick.

flyingace
01-22-2014, 05:54 AM
Chuck, I originally bought some to replace on an old white label kamaka I bought, the old friction tuners were terrible. I bought the UPT in chrome with ivory buttons... I learned quickly that I had to buy the UPTL LONG version to fit the headstock thickness... Now I'm stuck with a set of UPT regular shaft length and blew $80 at the time before they were easily available... only to learn from another UU'r that HMS was selling for $60 :( ugh.

That said, I LOVE them. I think they look great, have a traditional look but they just work! They are super light weight too!

resoman
01-23-2014, 05:14 AM
I found out last night you can adjust the Gotoh's for higher tension strings by screwing in the screw in the end of the button. Just like friction types. I strung up a mandolele I just finished and the 1st string is tuned E. The tuner wouldn't hold the higher tension so I gave the screw a turn and it held. Love these things and unless the customer wants something else, the Gotoh's go on.

Wildestcat
01-24-2014, 08:38 AM
Some months ago I retrofitted the black UPTL tuners to both my Beltonas. They are a major improvement over friction pegs, whilst retaining the traditional look.
Because planetary gears can contra-rotate (unlike worm & wheel gearing on conventional tuners), there is a frictional element to them, and the button screws may well need tweaking after installation to prevent creep. I'm very pleased with them, and also with the excellent service from Japarts. Josh keeps you well updated via email on the status of your order, and the stuff arrives on time.
The tuners actually ship from Japan direct to the UK and creep in under the UK customs import duty threshold, so no nasty surprises on delivery.

Yes, they are expensive - but so are Beltonas!
For the record, I use ordinary "Leader" geared tuners from Eagle Music on my own builds, where traditional appearance is not an issue.

Yehuheart
06-14-2014, 10:53 PM
Since there's a little show & tell going on, here are the Gotohs that HMS installed on my KoAloha Concert:

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b362/slawson3/005_zpsc8c2f248.jpg (http://s23.photobucket.com/user/slawson3/media/005_zpsc8c2f248.jpg.html)

http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b362/slawson3/004_zps8d48f852.jpg (http://s23.photobucket.com/user/slawson3/media/004_zps8d48f852.jpg.html)

They're smooth and quick.

It Looks fabulous, I wonder how HWS did this. I don't see any residual the original friction tuners left behind. No screw marks whatsoever. How is that possible. HWS filled up those screw holes and refinished the headstock?

Foxfish
09-18-2014, 09:16 PM
Hi guys, I love the look of these, do you think they would be up to tuning steel strings?
I am having a custom built baritone uke that will take steel & these just look the part!

Andy Chen
09-18-2014, 10:11 PM
I love the UPTs too, having installed them on my Blackbird Clara recently. But Pegheads have their place too, because they are sleeker, less chunky.

DownUpDave
09-19-2014, 12:44 AM
I have ordered a Pono ET-PC (cedar/ebony) and asked Andrew from HMS to install the all black UPT. I think the simple tapered headstock will look great with the minimalist appearence of the UPT. The black will blend into the ebony faceplate and be kinda stealth looking :cool:

ksiegel
09-20-2014, 05:05 AM
I finally got off of my butt and ordered the Gotoh tuners from Andrew; when they get here, I will be bringing them and my reso uke to a local luthier for installation. One of our local musicians installed the Gotohs on his National, and they work wonderfully - he always hated using the friction tuners on stage with the other musicians - said that they had to wait longer for him to tune his uke than they did for the banjo player - not that it mattered, since "a tuned banjo is an oxymoron"... (quote taken from stage patter...)

But he wouldn't install them for me, since he was worried about damaging the uke. So I'll just pay someone else to do it right he first time, rather than paying for someone to fix my screw ups.



-Kurt