Locking Graph Tech Ratio tuners

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by scolfax, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. scolfax

    scolfax Member

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  2. scolfax

    scolfax Member

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    crickets!

    Oh well, I really really love hipshot open gear locking tuners but might get these instead for my new American Standard Strat.
     
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  3. FallsRockShop

    FallsRockShop Member

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    My only concern on these would be for players that use non-standard gauge strings. I'm sure they were designed for 9s or 10s....but what if you play 11s or 13?
     
  4. yacht_rocker

    yacht_rocker Supporting Member

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    Yeah I saw these as well. Color me interested depending on the street price.
     
  5. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    I am currently evaluating a set of these on my USACG Strat and I am not very impressed with them. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of a set of Hipshot locking tuners that I will use as replacements for the recently installed Ratio locking tuners.

    Dimensions & weight:

    I was surprised at how heavy the set felt as I removed them from their retail case. While I didn't weigh them side by side with the Gotoh lockers that I removed to make way for the Ratio's the difference in weight was substantial. The weight was less noticeable once installed but still noticeable.

    They are a good bit bigger than the Gotoh's and noticeably bigger than the Hipshot locking tuners I have installed on my '87 PRS Classic Electric. They stand off the back of the headstock farther than the Hipshot tuners, the tuner body is a bit bulkier than the Hipshot's, and (of far greater importance) the string peg is longer from the front face of the headstock to where the string passes through the peg (this with the mounting adapter plates installed - more on these in a moment). This reduced the break angle for the low-E and the A strings causing string buzzing behind the nut. The only solution was to add 5-6 winds per string to restore the correct break angle. Surprisingly this became an issue on a couple of the strings held down by string trees due to the drastic string angle from tree to post. Here again adding string winds around the string post was the only option. Once installed the string hole on the post sat a hair under 2mm further away from the front of the headstock than was the case with the Gotoh's or Hipshot's. The added string winding sort of negated the quick string change benefit of a locking tuner.


    Mounting hardware and fit:

    In order to maximize installation compatibility Graph Tech uses aluminum mounting adapter plates that lock to the base of the tuner body and each adapter plate set (4 types are included with each set of tuners) provides one or more screw mounting holes that match different brand tuners. This, in theory, provides a drop-in fit for Fender, Schaller, Gotoh, etc. brand tuners without the need to drill new mounting screw holes.

    In practice things weren't so tidy. First, the plates are unfinished, raw aluminum unless ordered with plating to match the finish of the tuners. Second, the plates have a much larger footprint than the base of the tuner so an overlap is visible all the way around the tuner body where it mounts to the back of the headstock. Third, because of this over-sized footprint the mounting screw lug(s) on the mounting plates are large enough that they do not allow for an in-line set of 6 tuners to align properly without first filing down the screw holes lugs so that they leave space for the next plate.

    The neck of the tuner body is a loose fit for the holes in the headstock. Many tuners I have installed flare the neck close to the tuner body and this helps center the tuner in the hole. The Ratio tuners are not flared in this area and so centering then consistently from tuner to tuner is difficult.


    Fit & finish:

    The black finish on the set I received was of very high quality and each tuner was labeled using what appeared to be laser etching - very sharp looking product (if a bit larger than other tuners). The locking wheels functioned smoothly and consistently from one tuner to the next.

    Unfortunately the set I received exhibited inconsistent tension from tuner to the next with a couple of them exhibiting a very rough feel when turning the button. So despite having an ideal gear ratio for that string it was difficult to get the tuner to settle into proper pitch. Given Graph Tech's service reputation I've no doubt that they'll resolve this issue for me.

    Unfortunately - regardless of how the rough geared tuner issue is handled the Ratio locking tuners with be coming off of my custom Strat in favor of a set of Hipshot locking tuners. The idea behind the Ratio tuners is a good one and it works quite well IMO. I just don't think that the product is ready as-is. Hopefully some of these concerns will be addressed over time. I'd like to have another go with these tuners but improvements will have to be made before I'm willing to give them another try.

    That's my $0.02 on the matter. :)
     
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  6. Adagietto

    Adagietto Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the review. They looked interesting when first announced. I'll stick with the Hipshots -- got 'em on several guitars and love them.
     
  7. scolfax

    scolfax Member

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    Yeah that review was useful. Never had similar complaints about Hipshot tuners.
     
  8. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    I'll be providing detailed feedback to Graph Tech in a couple of weeks. The Ratio tuners seem more like a proof-of-concept prototype than a finished product. I'd really like to see this idea get traction. It's no small improvement over the standard fixed ratio tuners we're accustomed to using.
     
  9. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Member

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    Your description sounds a lot like the Hipshot 'universal mount', but I can't find anything on the Graphtech site besides screw-tab and two-pin models. Did they drop the mounting arrangement you have?
     
  10. muku

    muku Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the detailed account. I saw these in Guitar Player magazine and have been wanting them.
    I have always wanted more gear travel for tuning E and G strings. I hope that Graph Tech, or other tuner makers, give us some higher ratios.
    I wonder what a fixed 25:1 tuner would be like?
     
  11. football

    football Supporting Member

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    Will you please let me know if you're aware of Graph Tech ever addressing the issues you brought up about these tuners? Thank you.
     
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  12. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    I never received any clear information from GraphTec regarding issues discovered during my evaluation of the product. I have, however, read positive reviews following my eval and made the assumption that some changes were made for the better.
     
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  13. MrDoty

    MrDoty Supporting Member

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    I’ve got them on my tele. They are nice tuners but I don’t really notice them as being much better than say my schallers on my Strat. The concept in real life isn’t that important. Did we have trouble getting in tune before?
     
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  14. Deaj

    Deaj Silver Supporting Member

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    In a perfect world, and with all other factors being equal, having a gear ratio at each tuner that allows for the same pitch change for the same turn per tuner (example: whole step change per 1/4 turn for each tuner) would make for faster tuning once muscle memory is set. Alas, the reality did not prove the concept when I had a set installed.
     
  15. Tone Meister

    Tone Meister Supporting Member

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    I'm using a set of 3x3 and mine haven't exhibited any of the problems outlined above. They are heavier than most tuners, yes, except for maybe real Schallers, but I'm not weight sensitive. I find I can tune precisely very quickly, and the higher ratios on the larger strings makes minute pitch changes a breeze. So far nothing not to like.

    It remains to be seen how well they hold up over time. I'm used to installing one set of tuners and playing the guitar for 30 years without ever thinking about tuning keys again.
     
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  16. Adagietto

    Adagietto Supporting Member

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    Nothing has lured me away from Hipshots yet.
     
  17. TonePilot

    TonePilot Supporting Member

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    I put them on my Les Paul. Don’t really notice a difference when tuning.
     

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