Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Upgrading tuners or other minor tweaks

  1. #1

    Default Upgrading tuners or other minor tweaks

    I had a dodgy tuner machine head, so I splashed out on some Grovers with an 18:1 gear ratio.

    It is a fairly inexpensive uke and I absolutely didn't need them, I could have just bought the same 14:1 gear ratios that were on beforehand. But, they really made a noticable difference to the sensitivity and smoothness of the tuning.

    Does anyone else make any tweaks to their 'off the shelf' ukes?

    Also, are any of the even more expensive tuners worth the money?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    1,387

    Default

    I'm a fan of KoAloha ukuleles, but not their standard friction tuners. They always get Gotoh UPT tuner upgrades.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006 (Living Waters)
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018 (Blackwater)
    Blackbird Clara - 2019 (Oasis Bright)
    Cocobolo concert - 2019 (Worth Brown)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    2,205

    Default

    I’ve replaced Grover 2 tuners with Grover 6s on several ukes (mainly Magic Fluke Co. Instruments). They work better.
    SOPRANOS: • 1920s Gibson UKE1 (Olympian label) • 1930s Martin 2M • Ohana SK-28 ‘Nunes’ • Flea koa • Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany • Famous FS-1
    CONCERTS: • Martin C1K • Enya Nova U (blue) • Ohana CK-50WG (solid cedar top) • Firefly maple banjolele • Makala MK-CE
    OBJETS D'ART: • Vintage 'Mauna Loa' c. 1925 soprano • Kahuna "Felix the Cat" soprano • Woodrow "Steelers" soprano

    Raleigh Uke Jam:

    My YouTube page

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    6,180

    Default

    Yes, I do, but I don't mess around with the expensive ones. Fleas and Flukes are like workshop projects for me.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    778

    Default

    I try to avoid getting any ukes with friction tuners. That said, if I like the uke I simply replace the friction tuners with the Grover 14:1 ratio (usually required reaming the holes larger, which I do with a nice reamer I got from Stewmac years ago). Those are good enough for me, but the extra precision of you 18:1's would be really nice too. If I had an uke with really bad geared tuners that some oil and such couldn't help out I'd likely replace those with Grover too.
    I also tend to customize my setups at the nut slots and saddles...and polish the frets at the least. The last uke I bought from a seller was from MIM, so no fret level was needed. Nut slots and bridge were great too. Her setup is good.
    I also put graphite from a pencil in the nut slots on any instrument I get. It helps with tuning stability.

    With your last question...If you mean are any of the tuners even more expensive than your Grover 18:1 worth the money? To me, absolutely not. That's already a high gear ratio. I can't imagine needing anything to fine tune more than that. I just want a tuning machine that functions well and looks decent. I am fine with the 14:1's so doubtful I'd even go for the 18's.
    Last edited by jer; 03-05-2020 at 10:24 AM.

  6. #6

    Default

    Interesting.

    Yes. I was just looking at Waverly's, Rubner and even some Gotoh and other tuners and wondered whether they were dipped in unicorn dust?

    Obviously, even cheap tuners will do the trick, but then so will one ukulele and I have three

    I just windered what it was that more expensive tuners offered that made them cost so much?
    Last edited by Strumaround; 03-05-2020 at 08:15 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1,223

    Default

    I was a huge tinkerer on guitar, changing tuners, pick ups capacitors. I’m tempted with some of my ukes. I just bought some new Grover open back tuners for a Pono tenor to change out the Derjung which are really fine. Not sure I will bother. I have done some fret filing on Ukes and would love to learn more about filing nuts and tweaking action. So far, I just keep buying new ukes and a time is soon coming where I need to thin to start trying different instruments. It’s always fun to tinker.

    I do want to try some Gotoh UPT on a Uke. I’m not big on leaving holes in the back of head stock. May just look for next Uke with UPS. I do hope thT Graphtech get their planetary tuners figured out. Definitely a place in the mass market of beginner to mid range for these IF THEY DONT FAIL.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Catskill Mountains, NY
    Posts
    6,180

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Strumaround View Post
    I just wondered what it was that more expensive tuners offered that made them cost so much?
    Offhand, I'd say it's the material, construction, and labor cost. My new Enya has one tuner that turns roughly. It's harder to turn and inconsistent, but not always. If adjusting the screws doesn't help, I'll take it apart and see if there's a problem. Top quality components and precision manufacturing and assembly add to the cost.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    the we(s)t coast, Canada
    Posts
    735

    Default

    Honestly, I feel like 14:1 is too high for my preference. I like the 4:1 of UPTs. The 6:1 of the Graphtechs sounds interesting though. I'm not a huge fan of friction tuners, but I have them on one ukulele - I had them upgraded from Gotohs to Grover 6s, which seemed marginally better.

    As for other tweaks, probably the most I've done was on a cheap Ammoon, uke which I sanded down the saddle, drilled some holes in for side fret markers and oiled the fretboard. Cheap ukuleles can be fun to test/hone your skills on and see where your personal limits are.

    Other than that, the most I've done to my nicer ukes is to lightly file the bottom inside corner on a few pointy nuts. Not sure why they often make nut corners so sharp. I don't tend to do much else to my nicer ukes than change strings and oil the fretboard/bridge if it looks dry.
    Glenn

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •