Fender Vintage Tuners Technique


Hi All,

Does anyone have any tips for stringing fender vintage tuners?

My high e and b string often want to slip out of the hole while winding.



I stick the string in the hole, bend the string to 90 degrees at the bottom of the slot, use my right index finger to then hold the string against the post, and then tighten the tuner with my left hand.


I learned this from a guitar tech:

Cut the string with 2-3" extra length past 'its' tuner post.

With needlenose pliers, make a 90 degree bend in the string, with about 1/2" of string past the bend.

Insert the end of the string vertically into the hollow channel in the center of the tuner post..

The part of the string with the bend should then fit into the slot in the tuner post.

Wind up the slack, keeping tension on the string. Make sure the winds do not overlap.

With the plain strings, I like to see 8-10 wraps. 3-5 wraps for the wound strings. Thinner strings get proportionally more wraps.

Works for me. (And now I see it works for JDJ as well)
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It takes practice. You need enough of the string to go into the hole, plus three or so winds.
You cut the string first. After you've done a bunch you invent a "measuring" system. I can't give you the formula. After its in the bridge, I hold the string in the nut slot and past the tuner..then eyeball it and cut. After 30 some odd years it gets easy :)


To pre-cut an effective length, I measure two and a half tuner lengths longer, a little more for the plain B and E string. Then use the same method that JDJ mentioned. Those sharp 90 degree bends (one from the hole, one from the split toward the bridge) make the process much easier and it holds much better. Once you get the hang of it it's a snap.


Silver Supporting Member
I stick the string in the hole, bend the string to 90 degrees at the bottom of the slot, use my right index finger to then hold the string against the post, and then tighten the tuner with my left hand.

This + 1


Just recently I started wrapping the strings around a few, by hand, after inserting, and before winding. Way easier than trying to peg-wind from the start: I could rarely keep the pressure up(boing goes the new coil).

Use your fingers to measure the wrapping-length. I use 2-4 past the post, depending on the string. You want a good break angle, nearly consistently. I seem to recall reading that the 4th string's break angle is supposed to be the model for the rest.

I recommend crimping the string with your thumbnail or other soft-edge. Pliers will weaken the metal at the bend, and risk a snap, later.


Start with the high e. It's hardest, and you wanna be mentally fresh. Keep your hands clean and very dry. Perhaps wipe your posts with a damp rag of alcohol or naptha, to clean and degrease them, but Don't get any solvent inside the machines.


Silver Supporting Member
I've got an '81 (last of the '70s-era) and an '82 (first of the Dan Smith'era), and both have what I refer to as the "flathead screw" tuners (what everyone else calls "slotted tuners", I guess). There's definitely a learning curve, but it's not too bad. If you're new to this tuner style, DO NOT try changing the high strings first; the wound strings are more forgiving, and they make a good practice tool for getting the hang of it. I remember one day killing a few formerly brand-new high-E strings while trying to teach myself, and it was a painful lesson, but not so bad in the grand scheme. After all, it was a far smaller price to pay than if I'd switched out the tuners and modded my original Strats (an idea which crossed my mind for about thirty seconds). Give yourself a couple extra inches of slack after you cut the string; this way, you can try a few times before giving up and throwing the string away in disgust lol. Once you get it, it becomes second nature, but it can cause temporary headaches. Just try to avoid throwing your vintage axe across the room...and yes, I did avoid ThAT! :D

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