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Thread: Kala Slothead Tuner

  1. #1

    Default Kala Slothead Tuner

    Hello all,

    My family and I got our sister in law the Kala KALA KA-ACP-CTG from the Ukulele Site for Christmas (https://www.theukulelesite.com/shop-...-slothead.html) with the full setup.

    Out of the 4 tuners, one feels and turns perfectly, 3 are very hard to turn and requires a lot of strength to tune. Can this be adjusted by the screw on the side of the slothead tuners or does it need some WD-40? I wanted to ask first instead of messing with it since itís a gift. Thanks! Happy Holidays everyone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    526

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    Sometimes you can add a drop or two of oil between the worm gear (cylinder that touches to the gear) and the gear on the back of the tuner itself on the tuning machines then work them around a bit. That is more of a general maintenance kind of thing and shouldn't be needed often on a good machine.

    That said, I tried out a Kala Eby-S soprano a while back that had similar looking tuners (same machine baseplate, different button).
    If it is indeed the same tuning machine: In my opinion, there was a design flaw with them. Oiling or adjustment of a screw won't fix it. When looking at them see if the posts on the tuners (where the string goes through) are leaning towards the direction of the fretboard. If so, they are rubbing against the metal on the tuner bushing (little metal ring that sits down in the wood that the tuner post goes through) and binding. That makes them hard to turn. Ideally, the fit between the bushing and post are a lot better and there is no lean. That said, the tuners did work...they were just hard to turn due to that problem. It was more noticeable on some strings than others. If I had decided to keep the uke, I thought I might replace them with my normal Grover geared tuners. The screw holes do not match up with those though, so it would've required some filling of holes and re-drilling.

    All that said, that looks like a really nice uke. Other than the tuner issue (I could've lived with it), the Kala I had for a bit was really well built and sounded nice too. That's my only personal experience with Kala.
    Last edited by jer; 12-19-2017 at 07:36 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Northen California
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    Unfortunately, I had the same experience with the same Kala model in a tenor size. The tuners worked fine until the strings got close to pitch and the tension increased. I tried a bit of oil on the bearing surfaces and even some graphite powder in the holes for the posts. Didn't help. I concluded that the tuner posts were bending and therefore binding because the holes in the slot head stock were drilled too large. I returned it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Pensacola, Florida
    Posts
    792

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    I have two Kala Slotheads, both Baritones. The tuning machines work fine for me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    5,064

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    I'd email them & explain, it's just possible that it got sent out accidentally without being set up properly, they are very good normally, according to the people who have bought from them on here.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    under the palms in tempe, az
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    Quote Originally Posted by Croaky Keith View Post
    I'd email them & explain, it's just possible that it got sent out accidentally without being set up properly, they are very good normally, according to the people who have bought from them on here.
    Andrew is great at returning emails, so if you email or call him directly you’re sure to get a reply, especially this time of year.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    4

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    Interesting, I just received exactly the same Kala from the same store with the same setup for my wife. The tuners are a little stiffer than some on other instruments I own, but they are very smooth. Nothing I'm concerned about, and I figure they'll break in a little more during the first restringing.

    My Amahi was also a little stiff, so I added very small drop of light gun oil with a needle oiler to each of the friction points on the tuners (worm roller and shaft) and this helped them greatly. I've done this fore years with used and vintage instruments.

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