Am I the only one that likes friction tuners best?

GVlog

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People who don't like friction tuners obviously haven't had to contend with pure peg tuners. :)

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kissing

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I've used good quality Friction tuners before.
Still hated them compared to geared.

It's not so much 'quality' or 'staying in tune' that bothers me. It's the rotation ratio.
I like to fine-tune up quickly. Having friction tuners of any type really gets on my nerves.
 

kissing

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Yeah, my Flea has the pegheads.
I love how they work. Sort of midway between friction and geared.
4:1 turn ratio.
 

KevinV

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I'm comfortable with both styles, and don't mind either as long as their quality tuners. Aesthetically, I like the friction tuners, or if they're geared, I like the open geared rather than sealed. Just my preference.
 

iDavid

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I have struggled with friction tuners and swore that I would never get another uke with them.

However, I wanted a concert uke and was heard great things aobut the KoAloha Concert, so I got one.

The friction tuners work extremely well on this uke. It stays in tune better than ANY instrument I have ever own and it is not hard to fine tune it.

The KoAloha is SOOOOO light, that geared tuners would make it nose dive like crazy.

It is an amazing instrument and the friction tuners make it work.
 

Craig Robertson

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Ashley, you're not alone here in your choice. I have friction tuners or pegheds on all my ukuleles...no matter what size. Best quality Grover or Gotoh are the way to go. I dislike being out of tune. I seldom get into strings/tuners/whatever discussions, but you should know that I give my ukuleles a beating in performance and they hold their tune.
 

Harold O.

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My local shop has ukes on the wall (I put most of them there!) and I make a point of playing each one whenever I stop in. That way, when someone comes in and shows interest, the instrument will be nearly tuned for a good first impression.

That said, there's an Ohana concert with friction tuners that frustrates me every time I go in. The uke sounds great when in tune, but it refuses to stay there. I've cranked the screws, loosened/retightened the strings, and have been chasing the thing for a couple of weeks now.

All the geared ones are fine.
 

KevinV

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I make a point of playing each one whenever I stop in. That way, when someone comes in and shows interest, the instrument will be nearly tuned for a good first impression.

That's a really good idea. I should start doing that at my local store. I've seen folks take a uke off the wall, presumably for the first time, give it a strum and then cringe at what they hear...back to the wall it goes.
 

Harold O.

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That's a really good idea. I should start doing that at my local store. I've seen folks take a uke off the wall, presumably for the first time, give it a strum and then cringe at what they hear...back to the wall it goes.

I think it's due to the small size. Also, as we know from our own instruments, they play more consistently with time. Strings need to stretch into final form, get used to being used, and the tuners/wood/everything else needs to broken in. Most of my home ukes play well with minor adjustments - that's where I got the idea, happy to pass it along.
 

byjimini

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Chipping in the with shop comment, I was in a small (and by small, I mean broom cupboard) music shop in Whitby, North Yorkshire UK. The guy had several lovely-looking ukes, made from exotic woods etc, that normally you'd have to import. Shame then that he puts them high out of reach and won't let you play unless you're "seriously looking to buy".

No wonder they're still there years later, miserable old sod.
 

Pukulele Pete

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I'm also a fan of friction tuners. Geared tuners do not belong on a soprano. It's like putting geared tuners on a violin,they don't belong there.
I know someone will respond " you can get geared tuners on a violin " . Friction tuners look natural on a soprano , for me the looks of the ukulele has alot to do with whether I like it or not. I really do not like the look of geared tuners on sopranos or concert size ukes.
 

ichadwick

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Am I missing something or am I just crazy? :p
Yes.
On both counts.
Friction tuners are archaic relics, like marsupials, dinosaurs and typewriters.
Evolution moves onwards. Geared tuners are the future.
Love friction tuners like you love pelycosaurs, rotary presses and Samuel Johnson.
But accept the inevitable: geared tuners are to ukuleles what word processors are to typewriters.
The future beckons. Luddites pull you into the past.
Come with us to the new world...
 

Chris Tarman

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Yes.
On both counts.
Friction tuners are archaic relics, like marsupials, dinosaurs and typewriters.
Evolution moves onwards. Geared tuners are the future.
Love friction tuners like you love pelycosaurs, rotary presses and Samuel Johnson.
But accept the inevitable: geared tuners are to ukuleles what word processors are to typewriters.
The future beckons. Luddites pull you into the past.
Come with us to the new world...

I'm sure all the successful marsupial species appreciate your calling them "archaic relics". Evolution isn't an inexorable march toward "progress". If something works successfully and fits into its ecological niche, it doesn't NEED to evolve.
 

obxtom

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The ones on my new Ko'olau are pretty smooth. They are more expensive than geared tuners. /QUOTE]

Would that be a KS or KC Ko'olau?
 

TwoLegPete

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first time post here... but I couldn't let this one go...

I'm 100% in the friction tuner camp, for several reasons:

playability: geared tuners get in the way of my left hand when I play certain chords (esp. G, G7, E7, Fm, F#7, Fmin7, Bdim...). This seems to be less of a problem with larger instruments, i.e. tenors and baritones, as there seems to be more space between nut and tuners.

weight: geared tuners shift the balance of the instrument towards the head - this means your left hand has to carry more weight and is less relaxed when changing chords or moving around the fretbord.

looks: this is certainly subjective, but I can't stand the looks of (g)eared tuners... it makes the uke look like an ugly mongrel... or a toy-guitar

style: friction tuners and wooden tuning pegs have been the ukulele-tuners of choice for more than a century. Nunes, Dias, Kumalae, Kamaka, Martin, Gibson, Gretsch, Favilla, National, Dobro, Regal, Harmony... they all put (up to this day, if they're still in business) some sort of friction tuners on their ukuleles, even though geared tuners have been known since the early 19th century. Most of todays builders (not factories) still use friction tuners. To me, ukuleles have friction tuners like violins have wooden tuning pegs and pianos have black and white keys.

A few words on what some people consider disadvantages:

they don't hold the tuning: I have six ukes with friction tuners ranging from $20 to $1200 and none of them ever had the slightest problem with holding the tuning. Am I doing something wrong?

they're difficult to (fine) tune: it's more difficult to learn to use them, but once you've got the feel for it, it's as easy as pie. Good friction tuners run smooth and allow for minute adjustments. I'm able to tune my ukes as accurately as my electronic tuner or my ears permit.

they're outdated: can't argue with that - acoustic instruments are outdated, too, so why bother?

The biggest problem in my view is that cheap friction tuners suck. The best friction tuners, in my opinion, are Gotoh Deluxe ($45), followed by Grover Champion ($25). If you look at the prices, it becomes clear why you generally don't find them on entry-level ukes.

If you have problems with friction tuners, try the following:

* think positive. Friction tuners are cool.
* adjust them properly (or have someone experienced do it for you). Tighten only so fast that they hold the tuning, not more.
* treat your uke to a new set of good friction tuners
 

StereoJoker

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I'm going to revive the peghead comment. Would some of you friction-lovers turn toward using pegheads, since they look all right and they don't stick out terribly? (I can't comment on their weight because I've never tried 'em out.)
 

TwoLegPete

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Friction tuners are archaic relics, like marsupials, dinosaurs and typewriters.
Evolution moves onwards. Geared tuners are the future.

evolution will send geared tuners to their adequate ecological niche: the arthritic, the numb fingered and the neo-fordists ;-)

Come with us to the new world...

brave new world... what's next? genetically modified koa for better sound?

But accept the inevitable: geared tuners are to ukuleles what word processors are to typewriters.

so you're playing friction tuner, not ukulele?
 
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TwoLegPete

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I'm going to revive the peghead comment. Would some of you friction-lovers turn toward using pegheads, since they look all right and they don't stick out terribly? (I can't comment on their weight because I've never tried 'em out.)

first of all - I've never tried them.

But I have ambivalent feelings towards them. Pegheads look OK to me, and from what I've heard, they seem to work very well. But ordinary 1:1 friction tuners already do the job to my complete satisfaction. And I have a couple of issues with pegheads:

1. price - they seem to sell for around $100
2. durability - I don't trust these tiny mechanics inside the pegs. How long will they last? I prefer mechanically simple solutions.
3. they're fake - they pretend to be traditional violin tuners, but they're high tech miniature mechanic tuners. I prefer things that are straightforward about what they are. I don't like silicone tits either - I'd rather go out with the girl with the small real ones.

If I'd buy a uke that already had pegheads, I'd probably leave them on. I'd rather have pegheads than (g)eared tuners. But if I had a luthier build a uke for me, I wouldn't want to have them, even at the same price.