Replace friction tuners on a vintage Martin baritone ukulele?

Baskervils

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I have a vintage Martin baritone uke, but the friction tuners need constant tightening.

My question is this: Are new friction tuners susceptible to the same issue?

Also, is it madness to consider changing them to grover / peghead tuners? I realize that holes will need to be drilled into an expensive instrument, possibly killing the value. Still, this is for me to play more than display!
 
Nice ukulele. It would be great if you avoid altering the headstock to accommodate new tuners. I surprised that the stock friction tuners are proving to be a problem. Are the threads stripped in the tuning peg mechanism? What kind of strings are you using? This might be affecting string tension and thereby the tuners ability to remain tight. Also, are there washers in place that might be providing too little "grab" between the tuning peg and the headstck material?

BTW, what is the Telecaster next to the Martin. Looks like a Jupiter Creek Baritone...

Mike
 
Yes indeed! That is a Jupiter Creek. I've done quite a bit of work to it since. The Cavaquinho is a Giannini GCSM 10. Sold the banjo cav. It just sounded like a distorted cavaquinho!

I am using Aquilo strings. Nothing that should be providing such heavy tension that the tuners can't handle them. I think that they are simply worn out and need replacing.
 
I bought a
gibson baritone and one of the tuners was a mismatch. I couldn't find just one of the originals, so I replaced all 4 with some I bought off ebay. I left the original pressed bushing in and they fit fine and work great. much smoother than the originals. measure the shaft on the originals , you should be able to find a replacement with the right size. I think the ones I bought are Ping, but it was a while ago and I'm not sure.
 
That's wonderful! I'm glad to hear that it was a success. Yeah, it's time for these old clunkers to go.
 
I don't see any reason not to replace them if they are not working for you. If your point is to play and enjoy it, I think you should make it as playable as possible.

However, the Bari doesn't look heavily played and in general Martin used good tuners. There isn't much to "wear out" in friction tuners. A quick tune up on them might make all the difference in the world.

First, have you put any lubricating oil on the threads? After 50+ years, they can usually use a bit of lubrication. That would involve taking out the screws and pulling the buttons off. Then use a good quality lubricant inside the threaded hole. Just a bit and make sure no oil gets on the wood. You could then put a bit of oil on the threads of the screw and screw it in and out a few times by hand. I suspect that sometimes screws need to get a little deeper into the threads and there may be a little gummy lubricant or even a bit of rust below in the threads keeping them from really locking in a bit deeper.

Also, to increase the screws ability to hold, I often place a thin brass washer between the button and the headstock. Depending on the type of tuner, it can increase the friction between the tuner and the headstock, creating a better hold.
 
I don't see any reason not to replace them if they are not working for you. If your point is to play and enjoy it, I think you should make it as playable as possible.

However, the Bari doesn't look heavily played and in general Martin used good tuners. There isn't much to "wear out" in friction tuners. A quick tune up on them might make all the difference in the world.

First, have you put any lubricating oil on the threads? After 50+ years, they can usually use a bit of lubrication. That would involve taking out the screws and pulling the buttons off. Then use a good quality lubricant inside the threaded hole. Just a bit and make sure no oil gets on the wood. You could then put a bit of oil on the threads of the screw and screw it in and out a few times by hand. I suspect that sometimes screws need to get a little deeper into the threads and there may be a little gummy lubricant or even a bit of rust below in the threads keeping them from really locking in a bit deeper.

Also, to increase the screws ability to hold, I often place a thin brass washer between the button and the headstock. Depending on the type of tuner, it can increase the friction between the tuner and the headstock, creating a better hold.

Thanks a million! I will give this a go.
 
Glad to help! It has made some of my unusable tuners perfectly usable again!

Again, keep the oil off the wood. I take the tuner out of the headstock for this. Let us know how it goes!
 
Bit off topic but here's a few shots of my Jupiter Creek Telecaster Baritone. I have it tuned GCEA. I replaced the original bridge with one of the older Tele styles so I could fit the "ashtray" cover. I think it adds a nice vintage look and also changes the quality of the tone when in place. Rob Dick makes very nice instruments.

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