One of the Graph Tech Ratio Tuners won't hold tune - I can see it moving as soon as I let go of it.

GradySeasons

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2024
Messages
13
Reaction score
6
Location
California
I've got a Kala Maca-T (not original owner and Uke has been played very little) that has the Graph Tech Ratio Tuners (Tune a-lele). The tuner for the A string will not hold it at A. I get it set tuned to A and then as soon as I let go of the tuner, I can see it slowly moving backwards out of tune. It's not completely loose, but just will not hold tune like the other 3 tuners. Any suggestions or does it just need to be replaced. If so, does anyone have a source for just buying one, instead of a set of 4, which will cost about $30? This is a video of what it looks like
What about switching the current A tuner to G, for less tension? Just a thought.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:
Unfortunately, the Graph Techs have been a polarizing issue in the uke world.

Here‘s a thread that goes into it:


Long story short: If they work, they‘re wonderful. But they tend to be fragile and fail regularly. A set of decent friction pegs will set you back $20-$30, so if you have to replace your tuner with a full set, at least you’ll have three spares if others fail!
 
Contact GraphTech, they're very conscientious. I wouldn't doubt that they will replace it even if you aren't the original buyer.
 
Contact GraphTech, they're very conscientious. I wouldn't doubt that they will replace it even if you aren't the original buyer.
I contacted them via email and they wrote back saying there's a 1-year warranty only and they could sell me a single tuner, but then they don't say how much it would cost so I had to write them back again. I bet a single tuner and shipping will cost about half or more of what it would cost to buy a whole set from Amazon. Pretty disappointing, since my Kala is only a few years old and barely has any miles on it and their cheap tuner is already bad.
 
That's the thing about warranties - when a company sells an item with a warranty for x amount of time, that works. When x + y amount of time has passed, if the company says that the warranty is "x amount of time", then by god they are scum buckets! When I buy a cell phone, it gets x months warranty. If it screws up within that time, they will replace it... with a refurbished unit. If I want it replaced NOW, then I have to pay for an advanced replacement (computers and printers are/were the same way.)

Your used Kala looks great, but that really doesn't mean that the prior own didn't change stings often, torque the tuner down often, or have other things going on. GraphTech are plastic, and plastic degrades in both extreme temps, and in constant temps. I've had geared tuners where the plastic buttons cracked and fell apart within a year, for no discernible reason. I've got a banjo with Star planetary tuners (I think from Stew Mac), one of which won't hold, after a few years of non-use. it isn't under warranty, and I wouldn't expect StewMac to repair or replace the tuner regardless, once it hits a year old, abused or not.

You are saying "Pretty disappointing, since my Kala is only a few years old and barely has any miles on it and their cheap tuner is already bad." but what I'm reading is that 75% of their inexpensive tuners are operating perfectly after the warrranty period expired.

Remember that a) cereal is sold by weight, not volume, and b) YMMV. If you don't like the GraphTech tuners, replace them with something you do like.

-Kurt​
 
Last edited:
That's the thing about warranties - when a company sells an item with a warranty for x amount of time, that works. When x + y amount of time has passed, if the company says that the warranty is "x amount of time", then by god they are scum buckets! When I buy a cell phone, it gets x months warranty. If it screws up within that time, they will replace it... with a refurbished unit. If I want it replaced NOW, then I have to pay for an advanced replacement (computers and printers are/were the same way.)

Your used Kala looks great, but that really doesn't mean that the prior own didn't change stings often, torque the tuner down often, or have other things going on. GraphTech are plastic, and plastic degrades in both extreme temps, and in constant temps. I've had geared tuners where the plastic buttons cracked and fell apart within a year, for no discernible reason. I've got a banjo with Star planetary tuners (I think from Stew Mac), one of which won't hold, after a few years of non-use. it isn't under warranty, and I wouldn't expect StewMac to repair or replace the tuner regardless, once it hits a year old, abused or not.

You are saying "Pretty disappointing, since my Kala is only a few years old and barely has any miles on it and their cheap tuner is already bad." but what I'm reading is that 75% of their inexpensive tuners are operating perfectly after the warrranty period expired.

Remember that a) cereal is sold by weight, not volume, and b) YMMV. If you don't like the GraphTech tuners, replace them with something you do like.

-Kurt​
I understand what you're saying, but my Kala was basically new and been unplayed when I got less than a month ago. The previous owner bought it and never learned to play, so it sat. Additionally, the early Graphtech Tuners were known (as I've since learned) to have the exact issue that I am experiencing and my Kala falls within that time period, so I was hoping they would stand by their product as I know they've since corrected the problem - that is probably why 75% of them are working fine. One more thing, after 2 emails to them asking for a price, they still have not told me how much a single tuner costs, but they did say it would be $5-8 shipping. This is my first experience with their customer service and it hasn't been great. If they had initially responded and said, sorry it's out of warranty, but it will cost X to send a replacement, I wouldn't nearly be as annoyed with them. I shouldn't have to chase them down for a price of a single tuner.
 
Additionally, the early Graphtech Tuners were known (as I've since learned) to have the exact issue that I am experiencing and my Kala falls within that time period,
I'll agree with badhabits. I see that the Maca -T isn't available either on the Kala or TUS sites - I'd contact Kala, and make the statement that the GraphTech tuners in that time period seemed to be having these issues, and ask about replacements.

Also, did the original owner send in the registration card? If not, fill it in with your name. You can - without claiming to to be the original owner - just send a copy of the card, and tell Kala when you bought the instrument.

Just say ""I bought this uke, this is what is happening, is there anything you can do for me?" Just leave it at that.

Myself, I'd get a set of Gotoh UPT tuners and replace the GraphTechs, or get a set of geared tuners. (I personally prefer PegHeds, but replaced the friction tuners on my National with perfectly matching gold Gotoh UPT tuners,)
-Kurt​
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom