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Thread: Kamaka Friction Tuners

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    517

    Default Kamaka Friction Tuners

    I bought a mid-70s Kamaka 6-string that has the original friction tuners, and got it all cleaned and set-up with fresh strings. It's fun to play and sounds awesome, but the strings lose tension and the uke goes slightly out of tune each day. After more than a month after setup I assume that the strings are well-stretched by now. Also the tuners are tightened up and already take effort to move, so I am very reluctant to tighten them any further. What else can be done to get some better tuning stability?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Cleveland Ohio
    Posts
    78

    Default

    I gave up on friction tuners fairly early into my ukulele journey.
    Gotoh UPTs make tuning an act of simplicity.

    Oscar-Schmidt Taropatch (1920)
    Cordoba Concert
    Oscar-Schmidt Soprano (1920)
    Cordoba Tenor (low G)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Posts
    259

    Default

    Try tightening the tuners ever so slightly. It takes some tweaking to find the point where they are just tight enough to hold the string in tune.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Chester, VT
    Posts
    335

    Default

    Go for the Gotoh tuners - they are amazing, easy to retrofit and a joy to use. I have them on my Opio.
    Kamaka pineapple soprano gold label - 1950s
    Kamaka custom soprano, gold label. 1960s?
    Koaloha tenor 2011
    Koaloha Opio long neck soprano. 2016
    Braddah, Mele, concert 1997
    Braddah, Mele, tenor late 1990s
    Bruko #6 soprano, flat back, pre 1980
    Gretsch NYC - old and beat up camp ukulele - fixed up as a player.
    Luna tenor - laminate and to use as a loaner.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,854

    Default

    I've had those tuners on a Kamaka. You can smooth out their operation by adding small fiber or paper washers just below the plastic buttons.
    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Sweet Home Osaka Japan
    Posts
    868

    Default

    Matt says that we have to tight the screw every time we tune on old Kamaka in his book.


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