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Machine Head

Postby SecretSam » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:39 am

Dvvv dvvv dvvvvvv
Dvvv dvvv da-dahhhh (flat 5 to IV)
Dvvv dvv dvvvvvvv
Dah dah

(Name that tune ...)

Having resolved pickups, amp and overdrive, my next GAS is for a new set of machine heads.

The local gurus recommend Gotoh, which doesn't narrow it down much because their catalogue is huge.

A couple of questions for you all:

What is a good gear ratio ? Is 1:21 much better than 1:18, and is 1:18 much better than 1:16 ? What is the minimum ratio that I should consider ?

Are the height-adjustable poles reliable ? If I echew the whammy bar, does a locking tuner make much difference ?

Any favourite models (of tuner, I mean, obviously)?

Your collective wisdom will as always, be gratefully received.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:52 am

What's the problem with the old ones?

(Apart from being old ones [choose your words carefully]).
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Re: Machine Head

Postby SecretSam » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:16 am

They feel a bit gritty* And they are slightly higher than they should be.

I should explain: this is a strat-a-like that I bought in a junk shop for the equivalent of thirty quid. It seemed to have been bolted together from an old body and a newer neck. The body and bridge are good, and the neck is also good: compound radius and slightly wider than it should be.

After replacing the pickups and electrical hardware, and a good setup, I absolutely love it.

But the tuners are a bit crunchy and the nut could do with an upgrade.

So that's why.

So far, the work done on it cost about 12 times what the guitar did, but it really is worth it. It's the best playing, most resonant strat I have ever had my hands on. And the mojo is beyond accounting.


*Was 'gritty' chosen well enough? Alternatives could be crunchy, intermittently stiff, not very smooth, primitive, uncouth or grinding. Yes I can live with the old ones, but ....
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Re: Machine Head

Postby zenguitar » Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:26 pm

First of all, you are considering replacing the tuners for a genuine reason. Well done :thumbup:

Gotoh are highly reputable and, as you have discovered, have a very large range covering every possibility.

Even with notionally similar tuner designs, there are variations in how they are attached, the number and location of mounting screws in particular. So remove one of the old tuners so you can compare it to the detailed drawings of potential replacements to identify the best option. If you haven't already found it, Gotoh have an online pdf catalogue which you can download that has detailed drawings. Here's the link...

https://g-gotoh.com/catalog-download/?lang=en

Height adjustable posts are reliable.

Any of the 3 gear ratios you asked about are fine. 1:16 was traditional in the 50's and 60's, 1:18 is more recent, 1:21 is a more modern option. Higher ratios theoretically offer more "accuracy" at the expense of more time spent winding the string onto the post. My view is that if you have problems tuning accurately, the problem lies somewhere other than the tuner.

Unless you have a very good reason (regularly dive-bomb until the strings are completely loose), a locking tuner is an expensive gimmick that doesn't grip the string as well as a standard non-locking post. Eltham Jones used to have a very clear explanation of the engineering behind this, but I can't find it there at the moment. However, it is worth reading his piece on re-stringing as it does give a little extra info, you can find here...

http://www.edgeguitarservices.co.uk/rout_serv/restring/

Oh, and the tune was banned in guitar shops when I was growing up. Smoke on the Water.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Machine Head

Postby blinddrew » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:18 pm

As well as Gotoh you could consider Grover and Schaller. Across my guitars I've got a mix of branded and OE tuners and I do find the Grovers and Schallers to be a bit nicer to use.
I don't have any Gotoh's though.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby SecretSam » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:35 pm

Hi Andy

Thanks yet again for the expert advice. That will save me about fifty quid.

(The difference between the 1:16 381 series, and the higher-ratio 510 series, plus fifteen quid off for the lock)

And yes you are right about the tune. Machine Head, side 1, track 1. See what you get if you set off a flare gun near soft furnishings and a rock band.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby SecretSam » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:43 pm

Hi Blinddrew

Thanks very much for the suggestions. I put schallers on a Yamaha bb5000a bass about twenty years ago. It stays pretty much in tune from one week to the next.

The bloke who does guitar teching in these parts has a bit of a downer on them for some reason. Says they aren't as good as they were, etc etc. Well, neither am I, so we don't need to hold that against them.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby Luke W » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:49 pm

blinddrew wrote:As well as Gotoh you could consider Grover and Schaller. Across my guitars I've got a mix of branded and OE tuners and I do find the Grovers and Schallers to be a bit nicer to use.
I don't have any Gotoh's though.

:thumbup:

I put together a Thinline Tele a few years back and I'm trying to remember whether I used Gotoh or Grover, it definitely began with G... Either way I get on with them far better than the original ones on my Strat.

I've got Gotohs on my acoustics and certainly have no complaints.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby Dynamic Mike » Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:18 pm

SecretSam wrote:
Any favourite models (of tuner, I mean, obviously)?


https://tinyurl.com/y3v8qxtn or https://tinyurl.com/y4eojwyq

Pretty, Pretty good & pretty cheap :thumbup:
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Re: Machine Head

Postby SecretSam » Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:57 pm

Those are very pretty indeed. The screw holes are in a different place to the ones already there, but that might not be a showstopper.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:50 pm

SecretSam wrote:They feel a bit gritty* And they are slightly higher than they should be.

Yup, perfectly reasonable.

I've used Grover Schaller and Gotoh over the years and all well designed and made. If you were to choose any one of them they would do the job well. I can't say I've got a favourite except the Grovers had an annoying habit of shedding screws if you didn't keep an eye on them.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby adrian_k » Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:01 pm

SecretSam wrote:Hi Blinddrew

Thanks very much for the suggestions. I put schallers on a Yamaha bb5000a bass about twenty years ago. It stays pretty much in tune from one week to the next.

The bloke who does guitar teching in these parts has a bit of a downer on them for some reason. Says they aren't as good as they were, etc etc. Well, neither am I, so we don't need to hold that against them.

My brother (professional luthier for 30 years or so) has stopped fitting Schallers, they really are not as good as they were. Gotohs are good and reliable.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby CS70 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:18 pm

SecretSam wrote:Dvvv dvvv dvvvvvv
Dvvv dvvv da-dahhhh (flat 5 to IV)
Dvvv dvv dvvvvvvv
Dah dah

(Name that tune ...)


Strictly with fingers and not a pick.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby Dynamic Mike » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:42 pm

SecretSam wrote:Those are very pretty indeed. The screw holes are in a different place to the ones already there, but that might not be a showstopper.
Only downside to Duesenberg is they don't take debit or credit cards, just PayPal! Stuff is dispatched pretty quickly though.
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Re: Machine Head

Postby Murray B » Mon Nov 23, 2020 8:24 pm

I learn so much from the collective wisdom in this place.

Thanks Andy for sharing the link

http://www.edgeguitarservices.co.uk/rou ... /restring/

It also covered tuning here too and not falling into the trap of trying to make your chords sound perfect but accepting there is a balance and dealing with it... made me think that one as I'll mess with the fine tuning quite a lot to get it sounding as good as it can for the key I'm playing in.

Also all my gigging electric guitars have locking tuners - I've never had any trouble but I might put more of a wrap round the post than I have in the past having read the article.

:clap:
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