Are a Graphite Nut & Locking Tuners Really Necessary?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Hootad Binky, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. Hootad Binky

    Hootad Binky Member

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    Almost finished fixing up my electric, wondering if a new graphite nut:

    [​IMG] ($7)

    and locking tuners:

    [​IMG] ($135 for set of 6)

    are really necessary? My guitar tech swears by them. My strings do go slightly flat after a lot of string-bending.
     
  2. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Nut, probably.

    Locking tuners are a convenience. They don't affect tuning stability.
     
  3. Hootad Binky

    Hootad Binky Member

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    Are Sperzels not necessarily better then?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If not, why do people buy them? Not being sarcastic, I just don't know much about tuners or nuts ;)

    And what about tuners that you're supposed to insert the end of the string into and then only turn 3/4, so as not to bunch up the string on the tuning peg?
     
  4. Structo

    Structo Member

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    Sperzels do add stability because you are only giving the string about 1/2 wrap around the post.
    So you don't get string stretch there.

    They also usually eliminate the need for string trees as the posts are staggered down towards the high E string.

    The only gripe I have is when you are trying to zero in on your nut slots and you can't really unwind the strings enough to move them off of the nut for filing.
    But when I know I will be doing that I go ahead and give the post 3 or 4 wraps.

    So if you are using a vintage six screw trem the graphtech nut and Sperzels go a long way in helping stability.

    I just wish that they could make it in white vs black.

    I make my own bone nuts now and I think you can make those well enough to eliminate binding if you cut the slots carefully and use lube on the slots.

    I use Big Bends Nut Sauce to lube saddles, nut slots, and string tree if you have one.
     
  5. Hootad Binky

    Hootad Binky Member

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    So if you don't have a tremolo bridge, they're not really necessary. I'll look for a better nut anyway; thanks for the advice!
     
  6. Hootad Binky

    Hootad Binky Member

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  7. MartinC

    MartinC Member

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    Yes to the above ... good locking tuners (eg sperzels) will help to maximize tuning stability.

    On any guitar, trem or no trem, I would personally choose locking tuners and a Tusq nut to get as much tuning stability and ease of use as possible. Go for graphite if you're comfortable with that.
     
  8. devilrob1979

    devilrob1979 Member

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    Those look like Gotoh Magnum tuners which are a HUGE pain in the ass. I'd go Sperzel or Schaller before those.
     
  9. hawkeye17

    hawkeye17 Member

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    I disagree. In my experience with many guitars over many years with and without them, locking tuners help tuning stability. There's a good reason guys like Suhr and Anderson use locking tuners on most of their production guitars(without graphite nuts too), they help intonation and make stringing quicker at the same time.
     
  10. mike@switchback

    mike@switchback Supporting Member

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    My vote, no. My preference varies between different types of guitars, but if we're talking about a strat, I prefer regular Kluson style to Sperzels in pretty much all respects. String changes are slightly quicker with the Sperzels, but only a tiny bit. And you can get staggered Kluson style now, which take care of the string tree issue. And if the nut is cut properly, the material has zero affect on tuning stability, IMO. Especially since you can lube it separately anyway. A six-screw trem with regular nut and Klusons can stay in tune exceptionally well if everything is set up right - nut slots cut right, strings stretched and strung properly, etc. If it's a more modern guitar, then Sperzels don't look quite as 'wrong' and I don't mind them as much. They come in lots of different finishes and styles too, which is nice. And I agree with whoever said $135 is WAY too much.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  11. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I guess they're more foolproof than non-locking tuners, but if you know how to properly string non-locking tuners, there's little to no difference that I've seen.
     
  12. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    I have a strat with locking Sperzels and a delrin nut. The trem floats (Hipshot Contour). It stays in tune for everything but radical Vai-esque dive bombs abd even then it's just a bit out.
     
  13. dotlikeimpact

    dotlikeimpact Supporting Member

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    On my tele I just switched to Gotoh locking Kluson style tuners. What a better tuner.
     
  14. arthur rotfeld

    arthur rotfeld Member

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    Check out an Earvana nut. I have no endorsement or anything, but I'm putting them on lots of guitars. I think it's made of Tusq or something similar, not sure. Strings don't get caught up in them, and of course the intonation at the bottom of the neck is great.

    In my experience, tuning problems are almost always due to folks not stretching strings at installation.
     
  15. franksguitar

    franksguitar Member

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    I had locking Sperzels on a Tom Anderson pre production model I used to have and Sperzels are excellent for keeping in tune with a graphite nut I have on all my strats with tremolos
     
  16. Hootad Binky

    Hootad Binky Member

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    Cheers! Followed up on that (decisions, decisions)... ;)

    Gotoh Magnum:

    [​IMG]

    Sperzel:

    [​IMG]

    Schaller:


    [​IMG]


    Here’s how the Locking Tuners work

    [​IMG]

    The tuner lock knob is loosened, and the string end is inserted into the hole in the tuner’s shaft.



    [​IMG]

    The string is pulled much more taut than with a conventional tuner, as the goal is to have approximately ¼ to ½ wrap of the string on the tuner shaft when the string is tuned to pitch. More than ½ wrap can create the tuning instability problems associated with multiple string wraps.



    [​IMG]

    While holding the string in place, the locking knob is turned to lock the string in place in the tuner shaft.



    [​IMG]

    The string is tuned to pitch with the tuner button, and the excess string is cut. Repeat these steps with the remaining strings.



    [​IMG]

    You will find that the strings require less "stretching" with locking tuners. This is due to the fact that most of the "stretching" of the strings necessary with conventional tuners is actually "seating" the multiple string wraps.

    Sperzel Sound Lock Tuners

    Sperzel Sound Lock tuners have the same precision tuning gear mechanism as the Locking tuners. The differences are in the vintage style open housing, and the Sound Lock feature that locks the strings in a different manner.



    [​IMG]

    The Sound Lock tuners have a split shaft, and a hole in the shaft similar to vintage tuners of the past. In the case of the Sound Lock tuners, the hole is off center, slightly to the side of the shaft. This aids in the string lock up, producing a "friction lock" and eliminates the need for multiple string wraps. ½ to 1 full wrap of the string on the post is all that is needed with the Sound Lock tuners.



    [​IMG]

    Insert the string end into the hole in the tuner’s shaft. The string will go all the way through the tuner shaft, coming out the rear of the tuner. This feature is very convenient when "restringing on the fly" where cutters may not be handy.



    [​IMG]

    Bend the string so that it lies across the slot.



    [​IMG]

    Hold the string in place while tuning the string to pitch with the tuner button. Trim the string end at the rear of the

    tuner.



    [​IMG]
    Repeat these steps with the remaining strings. As with the Locking Tuners, the strings will require much less "stretching" as multiple string wraps are not needed.

    http://www.specialtyguitars.com/sperzel.html
     
  17. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    I have Sperzels on one of my Strats and Schallers on the other. They are both nice, but I prefer the Sperzels because they seem to grip the string a little better, especially the unwrapped ones. I will add that these locking tuners are great for the above mentioned reasons and the fact that string changes are super fast. If I break a string during a set (which is very rare for me), I can have another on in no time at all, just feed it through, yank it tight, and tune up.:D
     
  18. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    My opinion--if you have a vibrato--yes, if not, no locking necessary.

    I put Sperzels on my Gretsch and love them.

    I've never had a problem with a Tele staying in tune with Klusons.
     
  19. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    I don't find locking tuners to do much good even with tremelo. I used to use them, and one day I finally figured out it was me where any tuning problems were, I went to the old fashioned Fender style and haven't looked back. I'll take the Gotoh Kluson copies any day. I've not tried the Gotoh lockers, but don't see a need too. My strats stay in tune through all kinds of trem abuse.
     

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