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Thread: Replacing Tuners on 1950s Martin Tenor

  1. #1
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    Default Replacing Tuners on 1950s Martin Tenor

    I love my Martin tenor but hardly play it because the tuners are a drag. Meanwhile I have a vintage Martin soprano O that came with waverly tuners (I have the originals) and the little thing is a joy to play.

    After reading this blog post http://crawlsbackward.blogspot.com/2...rs-on.html?m=1 and giving it a good think, I plan on buying some Gotoh UPT planetary tuners. I have the Gotohs on my Blackbird Clara and they are great. Any words of wisdom before I take the plunge?

    I understand the value of the tenor may be affected but I got this Martin at an incredible price and I just want to play it and enjoy it. For example, I got the Martin soprano style O because, not only was it less expensive than the other styles, I wouldn't have to fuss over it and keep it locked up in a case forever.

    I'm looking at ordering my tuners here: http://www.japarts.ca/Gotoh/Gotoh-Products-UPT.asp

    So let me know if you've made the leap or have advice. I'll post more as this project moves along, which will be slowly.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Martinlover; 06-24-2017 at 04:50 AM. Reason: Make links work

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Central IL & Fox Valley, IL
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    No words of wisdom...go for it.

    And thank you for increasing the value of mine with one less original Martin tenor in the world. 😝
    Martin Sopranos: 0M: 30, 64 ---
    1M: 22Dit, 23Dit, 24Dit, 49, 55--1K 26
    2M: 22, 23Dit, 23Dit, 49, 60, 12 --- 2K: 25, 12
    3M: 25, 48, 55x2, 12(ch) 3K: 29
    The Gibsons: Styles 2&3 28;1&2&3x3 27;UB1 25
    Tonk American 28; Favilla 55; Smeck Vita 30; Kamaka Gold Deluxe 60
    Kiwaya Thinline KS-0P Soprano; Gretsch American 30
    Covered Bridge Honduran Hog tenor
    Pono Maple Tenor, BE Acacia Bari & MS Sop

  3. #3
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    Have you tried replacing the washers or tightening the screws? teflon washers are like 15 cents a piece. Gptohs are pretty nice if you are changing though.

  4. #4
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    I do use a screwdriver to tighten and untighten depending on the humidity and season. But when I play with a group, this is a nuisance. I could try washers but I am fundamentally lazy and want the ease of the Gotohs.

  5. #5
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    Gotohs are really nice for sure. It'll make it a lot easier. For myself, I could care less if tuners are original. For me, it's all about the feel of the neck and low actioned fretboard.

  6. #6
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    You'll have to ream out the tuner holes from the backside to allow room for the Gotoh UPTs to fit. It is an easy job. You'll need a tapered reamer. Just go slow with it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhenDogsSing View Post
    You'll have to ream out the tuner holes from the backside to allow room for the Gotoh UPTs to fit. It is an easy job. You'll need a tapered reamer. Just go slow with it.
    I did it to mine,and I would rather buy one with gotoh UPT already installed, it would be a plus for me. . I think these original tuners with the fiber washers are the worst of the Champions. [this is the 2nd one I've changed] I used a step drill bit and went easy by hand. doesn't need much.
    there is no substitute for LOVE

  8. #8
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    I may have a local luthier install the Gotoh tuners. The thought of drilling makes me a little nervous. But I may change my mind and make it a real DIY project.

  9. #9
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    A hand reamer, used slowly and carefully from both sides of the headstock, makes me much less nervous than high powered handtools for enlargimg tuner holes. Have done successfully on a dozen different guitars, ukes and mandos.
    Last edited by Ukecaster; 06-25-2017 at 04:08 PM.
    John

  10. #10
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    Those are great tuners, but what I've read is they are heavy for a soprano. I think that peghed are the lightest you can get and they look great. I think we someone posted the weights of various tuners, or it can be found with a Google search, if your want to compare.

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