i've been having some problems with "economy" guitar and mandolin tuners, from different sources.  it seems like i'm losing too many of them to gear failure.  the little gear just strips out on a tooth, and then it skips. this has happened about 6 times during my still short time building.

    there have been times when i feel it may have been me putting too much stress on them (experimental bass builds and such), but some of them haven't even held up in regular tunings!  my mandolins, for example, have never had any crazy tunings or string arrangements, but it happens on them too.  

    is this a problem others have?  is it inherent to "economy" tuners?  i guess it's not really too big of a deal, as stew mac replaces them without problems, and cbgitty replaces them upon return of the faulty ones.  but it still leaves some broken or useless tuners laying around the shop.  if i could find a source for those little gears, it would be the cheapest and easiest fix for me.  anyone got one?

    it does make me think about upgrading to better tuners though.  anyone recommend a good middle-of-the-road tuner?  i prefer open gear.


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Yup Hot Sauce I've had similar issues. Especially on mandolin strip or 3 on a strip guitar tuners. Usually, in my case, it happens when I didn't drill the holes exactly in line or slightly off center. This causes the tuner to sit at an angle which messes with the gear. I've started using Ping tuners for some instruments which are about $12 for the 4 pack a bit more for guitar. A little more than Stew Mack or CB Gitty economy but so far they work great as mid grade tuners. 

the CB Gitty open tuners are great, though as Jim says the drill hole seating is critical, also over-tightened or high gauge strings can cause problems, i tend to use strat style  tuners these days, they're a little pricey but stay solid ! (-:

thanks for your replies guys!  i appreciate and will be checking out those recommendations.

thought it might be the way they were seated too, so i picked up stewmac's mandolin peghead drill jig a while ago.  kind of expensive, but it does makes mandolin construction a lot easier.  

since i don't use strip tuners on guitars, it works for them too.  just clamp it and use one hole at a time, placed where i want it.  keeps the holes nice and straight.

the problem is encountered less often now, but it does still happen...   

people buying a set to fix up an old guitar probably don't run into this as often as us builders, who go through so many.

time to take it up a notch in the tuner area!  

 Hi , Hot Sauce .  Are you installing your tuners so that when the string pulls on the shaft, it it moves the bottom part of the shaft into the gear ( the "correct" way)  OR so that string tension will pull the bottom of the shaft away from the gear (the "wrong way")   ??   You shouldn't be having this problem even with economy tuners.  


machine and gear towards the body of the instrument, every time.  

i've tried everything from budget to high end tuners over the years, and found that even grover tuners can fail for ,usually, one of two reasons.

aside from the actual tuner gears failing, the number one cause is usually the drill hole not being perfectly straight.

echoing what jim says, even the creme de la creme of tuners can be undone with off angled seating.

Had the same problem. yes, tuner holes should be exactly perpendicular to the headstock otherwise you get twisting and stripping of gears.


well, a friend gave me some ping mandolin tuners that he didn't want, figured i'd see if the gears were interchangeable with the ones on my stew mac economy tuners...

they aren't.  but i do like the look and feel of the pings (matches my scalloped tailpiece models) so i guess i'll switch out the tuners completely today.  

the post hole distance appears the same.  which is great, because i'd hate to not be able to use my stew mac jig anymore.  however, i can get ping tuners cheaper than "economy" tuners, just without bushings.

thanks for all the advice and suggestions!  

Wow lots of problems. So fay I guess I have been lucky. I use either Gitty's economy open back tuner or Saga economy open back tuners. I have not had a gear strip yet, but I'm using a 24"scale which will be less torture than a base length. I just cant imagine striping one of those brass or steel gears. 

I've always had good luck with the open gear econo tuners but just last night I had the same thing happen to about five of them, one right after another... on different gits and with different gauge strings. Never had it happen before. Maybe a bad batch/production run?

chomp chomp

I will check with my supplier to see if I can get the gears separately.


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