Rattling metal tuner buttons


Jul 3, 2009
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I have a Kala KA-ATP-CTG, a tenor ukulele with a slotted headstock and backwards facing geared tuners. It has an issue with two of the chromed metal tuner buttons often coming slightly loose and rattling with the vibration of the uke while playing, which is both audible and annoying. Other parts of the tuners seem to be fine, nothing else is loose and the rattling is obviously caused by the tuner buttons rattling against the shafts. The tuner buttons do not have any screws to tighten them, as you can see from some example photos of the same model. I can temporarily fix the issue by pressing the tuner buttons lightly inwards or pulling them outwards, which seems to jam them in place for a while, but does not provide a permanent solution. Now looking for any tips how to remedy the problem or try before considering any costly repairs!
I maintain our school collection of ukuleles... a group of 28 hard used ka-15s sopranos that are often given less than appreciative care by our 4th-8th graders.

This happens frequently... it is a thing for sure!

I have tried various ways of repairing them... but have yet to "fix" one of these tuners successfully...

So I replace them.

Kala will send you free replacement tuners if still under warranty... Email them and they will send you new ones Fast!
I went online and bought 8 tuners to about $10... Ours are out of warranty now, alas... and swapped out the tuners. The buttons are not an exact match but we can live with that.

I have since found out that Kala also sells these... I will buy from them next time!

But I've tried bending and tapping and pliers and have yet to find a way to repair them... I suggest replacing!

Uke Pile.JPEG
Wrap some cotton thread around the shaft and up against the button to make a fillet at the shaft and button joint. Tie the thread off tightly and saturate it with thin ca glue so the glue wicks into the thread and button shaft joint.
Maybe try wrapping a single layer of plumbers tape around the button screw and reinserting it? Or, get a set of tiny washers to place under the buttons?
I had the same problem with those Kala branded tuners on my KA-ACP-CTG

I used thin superglue to glue them in place using just a couple drops on each. All four were loose. I think thin superglue is necessary to enable it to flow between the button and the shaft. I got this idea from Dan Erlewine's posts and videos at StewMac.

I also had that problem with one metal button on a cheap guitar. In that case I waited until the button had loosened up enough to come off. I used a couple of drops of regular superglue. That repair is still holding after more than 5 years.

My Kala tuners were hard to turn from the factory. I think that may have contributed to the buttons becoming loose and I probably should have lubricated them before using. When I glued the buttons I lubricated the gears with a small dab of petroleum jelly. The one that came loose again is still harder to turn than the others.

Thin superglue is available from StewMac. It is expensive due to shipping costs. I bought mine from Hobby Lobby. Unfortunately they have discontinued it. At the time those wee the only sources I could find at the time.
kkimura beat me to it on the suggestion.

I’m a bit late to the party but for future reference, Loctite Super Glue. About $3.00.
It appears there is some confusion by some of the above posters.

The tuners on this instrument are open gear tuners with metal buttons which are pressed or crimped on with no screws involved.

(link to TUS listing)

Thin super glue, sometimes called wicking viscosity superglue is necessary to penetrate all the way down the length of the shaft to the bottom of the hole in the button as, even when loose there is little clearance between the shaft and the button. I did research Loctite's offerings and it appears that their 406 super glue is this viscosity, but it costs much more than $3.00 and must be ordered.

For the repair on the tuner where the button came completely off I used regular viscosity superglue from the dollar store 4 tubes for $1.00.
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