Locking Tuners: Better than standard at holding tune???

clay49

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,556
Just wondering what the prevailing opinion is on locking tuners (for a Les Paul), as to whether they are better at achieving more consistent at holding tune as opposed to non-locking. I guess that maybe they shorten the time of the strings settling in because there is much less string to “settle in” (given that there are not multiple wraps around the tuning post???).

Please post your real-world experience. Thanks.
 
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Jabby92

Member
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3,398
Nah, not worth it IMO. If you know how to properly string a guitar, you should see next to no benefit with locking tuners. The thing is, if you start buying/installing them on every guitar it gets pretty expensive and if you know how to re-string well its not even that much faster to use them. They're also a bit heavier (not by much) and look kind of ugly I find, depending on the type.
 

Benz2112

Supporting Member
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4,526
The only effect they have on tuning stability is preventing slippage in a wrap, which is really no more effective than the design of a split shaft tuner, because there is no excess string wrap to deal with when stringing up one. A sealed non locking tuner can be just as good as long as you do a good job with wrapping them. The big bonus with a locking tuner is that they make string changes really easy, instead of dealing with the wrapping involved with sealed tuners, or the aggravation of the two high strings with split shafts.
 

erikzen

Member
Messages
1,602
I’m sure you’ll get a range of answers as there multiple combinations of tuner brands and types and different guitars.

I have a Strat Plus Deluxe with stock locking tuners. It has the best tuning stability of any guitar I’ve owned. It’s probably the best quality guitar I have. It also has a roller nut.

I have a Kramer with a Floyd Rose with a locking nut that is a total pain and doesn’t stay in tune any better or worse than other guitars.
 

wetordry

Member
Messages
4,533
Don't even have to find my readers or turn the lights on.
Enough for me, past that....they work well too.
 

doublescale1

Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck
Silver Supporting Member
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5,577
totally agree on the Split-Post tuners being as fast and effective as any locking tuner, BUT, if you're not playing a Fender with them, you have the old wrap&lock posts (Fender/Gibson etc...).
also totally agree that making string changes faster/easier it the big advantage, one well worth the price of admission if you've ever struggled threading a high E string through a difficult bridge then wrap it on a tuning machine backstage in a dark "dressing room" between sets, or heaven forbid, in the middle of a set because you didn't bring a backup guitar for just such an emergency. it's pretty much a personal value kind of decision.
 

Stratburst70

Member
Messages
5,495
As others have said, locking tuners make restringing much faster (handy during a gig) but I haven’t noticed a huge difference in tuning stability.
 

C-4

Member
Messages
13,355
I was just speaking with another guitar player last evening about locking tuners.

I have them on all of my guitars stock, but for my Gibsons.
I have decided to put them on 2 of my Gibsons, which I play out all the time, but I have no trouble using regular Klusons and Grovers.
 
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Messages
11,148
All locking tuners do is clamp down on the string so you can use fewer windings on the post. They do not necessarily offer better tuning stability as their gear ratios are generally the same as their non-locking counterparts. I will take non-locking every time.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
13,912
I don't agree with the notion that non locking holds as well. I know how to wrap strings, been doing it since the early 70s so i'd have to be an idiot to not have it down by now. I get the bending the ends thing to fill the hole better on the top 4 strings and all that good stuff. But no matter how i do it lockers just allow less sting movement. It's just physics. Of course there are always going to be things that cause some people to find them no better for reasons they may be missing. One good example is self locking posts which are probably one of the most popular since they are drop in for fender vintage style. What a lot of people no doubt miss and can cause them to not hold any better then non locking is this....if you allow the post to self lock you will not see a lack of stretching and heres why. The string tension is what pulls the post into locking. But f you do it like that the problem is the post will continue to pull into a tighter lock as you play and do so for weeks or even the life of the string. And what that means is the post is slightly moving always until it is tightly locked to the point playing or bending can no longer allow any more movement. The fix? Just lock the post manually using the top slot which most think only needs to be used to unlock them when changing strings. You tune the new strings up a bit then inset a coin (in the U.S. a penny works perfect) in the top slot and turn it clockwise hard till it won't turn any more. At that point the post is firmly locked and will not move further. Stretching the strings after tuning up will take FAR less stretching which is proof that they hold better. Especially with tremolo use which on a regular tuner will allows movement in the wrap however slight. I have no doubt many if not most don't do this and it WILL make them little or even no more able to retain tune than split posts. In other words, at least some of the negative opinions on lockers are due to user error. If you don't use em right you don't reap the rewards ! Thats one issue but my point is there can be reasons some believe lockers are no better. Wrapping lockers too much is another one. If you leave too much slack and allow wraps like a non locking tuner u are also compromising thier benefits. Whether they're worth it to you or not is another subject altogether. I like them in all fender style guitars regardless of model, but i find them particularly useful on strats for obvious reasons. I DO like a good set of split posts too because many of them are much smoother and more accurate than many lockers, partially due to the fact they can charge premiums for lockers yet compromise quality, where as with non lockers they have to be quality because they don't have anything else going for them. Some of the squier CVs i have had amazingly good ones which i almost didn't want to replace they were so good. But in the end i had to have lockers for stability. The gotoh licensed fender vintage lockers are not great when it comes to accuracy and smoothness. The gotoh HAPs are, but you pay more. Worth it tho.
 

Bossanova

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,396
Just wondering what the prevailing opinion is on locking tuners (for a Les Paul), as to whether they are better at achieving more consistent at holding tune as opposed to non-locking. I guess that maybe they shorten the time of the strings settling in because there is much less string to “settle in” (given that there are not multiple wraps around the tuning post???).

Please post your real-world experience. Thanks.
My experience is yes, I prefer locking tuners, but for other reasons: easy string changes, etc. if you have a guitar that won’t stay in tune, they won’t cure it.
 

marshall2553

Supporting Member
Messages
1,629
I love how fast restringing is with them. Most tuning problems I've had were due to a poorly cut nut or not getting the string wrapped/locked on the post correctly. Though I did have one set of non-locking Klusons that just would not stay in tune. I replaced them with another non-locking set and they've been fine. I think locking tuners are more of a convenience than a necessity. If I could get split post Klusons for my Les Pauls I'd be ecstatic.
 

aussie_owner

Member
Messages
3,038
I’m sure you’ll get a range of answers as there multiple combinations of tuner brands and types and different guitars.

I have a Strat Plus Deluxe with stock locking tuners. It has the best tuning stability of any guitar I’ve owned. It’s probably the best quality guitar I have. It also has a roller nut.

I have a Kramer with a Floyd Rose with a locking nut that is a total pain and doesn’t stay in tune any better or worse than other guitars.
I have an American Professional Strat with stock non-locking tuners and a bone nut. Trem is set for full float, and it stays in tune regardless of how much I use the trem.

I have two guitars with locking tuners, string changes are faster but tuning stability is no different from my other guitars. Personally, I think the nut and how you wind the strings around the posts have more effect on tuning.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,021
Stretch your strings when you first put them on, and you won't have to worry about strings "settling in". Also make sure to keep your nut lubed (graphite powder works well for this).

If you have a vibrato (or as Fender calls it, a tremolo) and use it frequently, then a locker tuner makes more sense, as you'll constantly be changing the pressure on the tuners. But for most people, it's just going to be an added hassle you don't need.

Usually what causes a guitar to go out of tune (if you properly stretched the strings and don't use your vibrato) is changes in humidity. As the humidity changes, the wood will swell and contract, and cause you to go out of tune. This is why, as much as anything, you have to retune mid show. You generate a lot of heat and humidity on a stage under those lights. A set of locking tuners won't fix that.

Of course there are some real crap tuners out there. And if your old tuners are no good, then ANY new set of tuners will be a massive improvement on tuning stability. But most tuners are designed to hold a steady tune under normal circumstances without the need to lock them down.
 




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