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Thread: My new (oooold) uke...

  1. #1

    Default My new (oooold) uke...

    Hey everyone!

    I recently bought an old ukulele from some fella on ebay, for just £11. It's old, and tatty, but its sounds pretty good for £11! The problem i have is that it has really really really crappy friction tuners, which stay in tune for.... hmmmm... about one strum!

    I know it's nothing special, and it still probably wont be anything special when I finish, but I want to clean it up. Like sand it down, recoat it and stuff.

    Here are some pictures of it:

    I want to replace the friction tuners with geared, and I just wanted to know how hard it is to re-drill the holes slightly bigger?

    As you'll also see from the pictures, the frets are weird... lol
    They're like square, because they're so old. Anything I can do? I cant even tell what they're made of.

    Any other suggestions will be really helpful thanks


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Toronto, ON


    It's not that hard, but those are cool old wooden friction tuners. Also, I wonder if the tapered holes are already "just right" for peghead heared tuners. Someone was selling them at Fleamarketmusic at a good price

    Still there... (about 2/3 of the way down the page)

    Frequently Played
    National Triolian
    Godin Multi-Uke
    Kala 5-String
    Martin Style 2
    Koaloha Sceptre
    Other Instruments
    Harmonica, Lap Steel, Flute, Guitar

  3. #3


    Do people ship to the UK on

    I do like the look of the tuners, but they're just plain poop! lol

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Stockholm, Sweden


    My advice would that you take it to a violin shop and let them ream the holes and, if necessary, sell you new wooden tuners. Cheap, stylish, light, works perfectly - what's not to like?
    Building blog -
    Music and atrocities -

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Portland, OR


    Cool uke! Congrats!!

    Another vote for pegheads or new friction tuners. The uke'll feel better in your hands (more balanced) and friction tuners will maintain its handsome, aged style. Any luthier should be able to open the holes up a bit if necessary.
    -Ralf Youtz

    My videos are here.

    The future is unwritten.

  6. #6


    Cool thanks guys! Glad you put me off geared, I don't want to ruin its charm!

    What would you say about sanding it out down and re-finishing it? What sandpaper would you suggest I use? And also what would I coat it with?

    Thanks for all your help so far

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Honolulu, Hawaii 5min away from waikiki


    Aloha Joe,
    That sure looks like a really vintage uke, I wonder if it's better to keep it original and get another uke...think about that one..
    These friction takes time to get used to...but once you do, you won't mind them too much...
    My opinion is I wouldn't change those tuners on that uke... but if you're might have to replug the holes and
    redrill them out if they are too big.. simpler and cheaper to get another ukulele..Good Luck whatever you do..MM Stan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    El Cajon, California


    peg dope... it's used to give violin pegs a little extra slip and grip...
    Eric C. Vossbrink

    "They may have said Wow! that sucks, but at least they said wow!"

    New Wave Ukulele
    On Facebook

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    South coast of England


    Looks like a uke that has been loved and played. That peg dope sounds good ....
    health, hope and ukuleles

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Hahamog-na, CA


    Keep it whole I say! I love the wood pegs on my Martins.
    The poor man's violin dope is a dark crayon and maybe some chalk dust. I saw this tip on the hangtag of an Oud at a shop: take the pegs out, draw on the friction part with a child's crayon, then maybe rub some chalkdust on there too.
    I used the crayon trick on my old Martin, and the pegs don't bind any more. Too much and the peg is too slippery, I guess that's where the chalk dust comes in, I just used a touch of black crayon and it worked wonders.
    Sopranos: 3
    Concert: 1
    Tenor: 2

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