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

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by clay49, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. RicardoDiazHimself

    RicardoDiazHimself Member

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    It's physics to be honest. No need to ask.
    People will tell you a locking nut and locking saddles don't hold tuning better than a 50s strat trem "if you know how to set them up".
    Come on... It answers itself.

    Even if you have just one full wrap on your regular post, a locking tuner will be better for tuning. The science behind it is not even half a wrap or so on the post, so it doesn't stretch, slip, move, etc
     
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  2. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    A properly cut nut will eliminate 90% of any tuning stability. Unless the guitar is made from a rubber tree.
     
  3. Wee Jock

    Wee Jock Member

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    I changed mine on 3 guitars about 2 months ago.

    Haven't stabbed myself with a string-end since.

    Haven't noticed any change in tuning stability but mine were all pretty good beforehand.
     
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  4. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    Sounds almost like my experience. I got one set because they were on a guitar already. I was ambivalent about having so few winds...until i tried it a while. Then I just caved and put them on everything.
     
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  5. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    My experience is similar to everyone else's here:

    1. I'm a latecomer to lockers. Got one set on a whim (here in the emporium) around a year ago; liked em so much, now I have lockers on two ...I've seen the light!
    2. Lockers offer no "fix" to anything, period. It's simply more convenient and easier to string. When is that ever a bad thing?
    3. Zero drawbacks. None, zippo, nada.
    4. Been said 100s of times: tuning stability is not at the machines. Check the nut, and the nut holding the guitar. These two are the chief culprits to tuning instability.

    Edward
     
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  6. hudpucker

    hudpucker Member

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    That's certainly not applicable in every case. e.g. Hipshots, Sperzels and Gotoh vintage lockers are relatively light while Schaller and Grover locking tuners are quite heavy. You can, however, shave many grams of weight from Schaller/Grover lockers by installing plastic tuner buttons.
     
  7. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

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    I think they are more reliable for most players. I've installed a trillion strings and so have a good routine that works well on non-lockers, and I know how to stretch strings properly, so I do not need locking tuners. When I do use them, I find I can be quick and sloppy (like most people, really) and can get away with it. Honestly, the biggest downside with locking tuners, for me, is a little more weight in the head, which is a slight negative.
     
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    No tuning stability difference, all tuning stability is your nut and saddles. Graphite lock lube, smooth out retainer burrs, and so on. Gibson headstocks suffer from high 17deg headstock angle, high angle from the nut to the D & G tuner locations due to open book shape -- get an Epiphone or a Tele).

    As for speed of tuning, there's a youtube video of an ex-roady for several pro bands who shows how to restring fast. Look for it. The basics are you bring the string to the post, wrap it 3 (wound strings) or 4 (smooth strings) times around the post, then thread it through the hole, pull tight, then crank the tuner knob up to pitch. Keep the wraps neat, don't overlap them or the high e-string will weaken and break there.

    And don't try any crazy knots.

    Focus on the nut. If you upsized strings to get 'toanz' then the bigger strings are binding in your nut and causing all the tuning issues. If you replace nuts, make sure you know what you are doing, I've seen a lot of people get in $50 of trouble for a $2 nut.

    .
     
  9. Halo of Convenience

    Halo of Convenience Member

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  10. RicardoDiazHimself

    RicardoDiazHimself Member

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    If you check the tuner post under a microscope you will see how the winds compress and don't return at the zero point. Even on bends.
    Yes, most problems happen at the nut and saddles. But winds on tuners are a problem spot too.
    So the thing with lockers is not having even one full wind. Half a wind is enough.
     
  11. tjmicsak

    tjmicsak Member

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    I never met a bad tuner, but I have had bad nut slots.
    With good well filed or fanned (if needed) nut slots that have some sort of lube such as graphite, chap stick, or any other means that works, I have never found an issue with a "bad" tuner.
    Gear ratio can be an issue for actual fine tuning, but I've never seen a decent tuner that slips.
    Aside from the already mentioned nut and lube details, the way a string is wound is important.
    Split Fender tuners the strings get cut to length based on the tuner two posts away and then wrapped- for the last you just use your fingers to measure two posts distance off the top last tuner (or a bit more if you go back across the slot twice after a half wind)
    Gibson or other 3&3 side tuners the strings get cut to length based on the next tuner up the headstock, then inserted and wrapped. This is recommended to provide an exact three wraps around the post.
    Sometimes the high E on a Fender split post needs a second loop through the slot and then wrapped
    Tune, then stretch each string up and down one by one and re-tune. Go through all six strings about 4 times and that should be leaving them with little to no change on stretching them.

    That's it and doing these things on a good set up guitar makes the type of tuners a non issue- at least as far as tuning.
     
  12. Nsomniac

    Nsomniac Supporting Member

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    I like my locking tuners a lot. They're more stable for me, but I suspect that my be because either a) I'm not foolproofily skilled at regular stringing, or b) my locking tuners are better quality than my regular tuners have been.
    String changes are just so convenient, I'd use them even if stability was exactly the same.
     
  13. donnievaz

    donnievaz Member

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    Your Strat's tuning stability is because of that roller nut, not the tuners. I'd venture to say that 95% of tuning instability issues are caused by the nut. Unless the tuners are pure crap they're probably not the problem.

    If you have tuning issues with a Floyd, something's wrong with it.
     
  14. woof*

    woof* Member

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    No, an 80’s fad that didn’t pan out.
    Any typical Kluson or Grover will hold tune as well as anything. Tuning machines don’t “slip”
    Cool thing about locking is easier string change if you can’t learn to string up a guitar normally.
     
  15. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    I like the split posts 3x3 on an LP style guitar, because the winds can be coiled down the post away from the slot, to a lower departure angle headed up to the nut slots. Just above the headstock face, really. This by itself seems to stabilize tuning on these guitars. It makes an average nut work great and a really nicely cut nut is just superlative.

    But beyond that, I find lockers are resistant to quick and tiny micro-adjustments as to pitch. Something about the lockers, where you get nothing and then "boom" you get a big pitch shift. I'm the kind of player who does like to monkey with the tuning machines as I play, making tuning changes on the fly as I work through the guitar part. The G and B mostly. I've had 5 of my guitars in lockers for 12 years now and I'm still grumpy when I play these - the rest of the fleet is slot head machines and I'll take them over the lockers, any time.
     
  16. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Wait ...what?? Am I understanding that you're saying with lockers they are not as responsive --or too abrupt-- at the tuning key as opposed to non-lockers?

    If that is what you are referring to, then you have different ratio gearsets. Simple example that one sees everyday: a non-locking 18:1 Fender machine feels and behaves identically to a locking 18:1 Fender machine. Once the string is at pitch, either will feel and behave exactly the same provided the gear ratio is the same.

    Edward
     
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  17. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    I think this "ratio" stuff is vastly over emphasized.

    What you want is a smooth and controllable feel as you apply load to the tuning machine button. The splits (Gotohs especially) have a roller bearing kind of feel to them, and the lockers (whether Schaller or Sperzel) tune UP to pitch initially in a beautiful way but when you try to back off a string that's gone a wee bit sharp, they unload "bam" all at once like loosening a frozen wheel bolt with a breaker bar. All the lockers do this regardless of their stated ratio. The credo is "set it and forget it" and I understand some players want things "simple" like this.

    I remember driving an old vintage pickup truck with a huge steering wheel and a favorable steering gear ratio. Trouble was, the steering box was simply worn out and though the advantage I had to steer with was great, the "correction" in the direction the truck took was all fits and starts. Ratio cannot fix the inherent crumminess of these die cast style machines.
     
  18. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Respectfully, I think you are mixing matters, Boris.

    The steering box reference you make is exactly the point: cheapie diecast machines work like crap because that is what they are; junk. Irrespective of gear ratio, poor-quality machines (or a worn steering box, natch), have lots of gear lash (slop), turn inconsistently, and are the very antithesis of smooth operation, let alone anything resembling precision.

    Now compare two quality-made tuning heads, identical in ratio, the only difference being locking and non-locking. Both will be smooth to pitch, will turn in a linear fashion, and will respond to fine movements at the key. This is why I had made the reference to Fender tuners because they actually do make identical machine heads with the only difference being locking/non locking. I know this with strats, and countless other Fender owners who've made the change know this.

    Finally, while not even stellar machines, the stock Fender lockers not only feel identical to their non-locking counterparts, they tune down to pitch no worse than their non-locking brothers. In fact, like many here know, tuning down to pitch is not as good as tuning up to pitch, but even the decent Fenders will tune down to pitch without issue. OT: the Gotoh 510s (of which I have had on two former acoustics and three present acoustics) are --IMHO-- vastly superior in precision, have zero gear lash that I can detect, and are rock-solid-reliable to tune down to pitch. This is by virtue of design and precision manufacture, not because they are non-locking machines. That said, I've never had issue with the decent Fender lockers on two strats (which, again I repeat here for emphasis) feel/operate no differently the original Fender no- lockers that they had replaced.

    Edward
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  19. AprioriMark

    AprioriMark Supporting Member

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    This conversation again.

    Locking tuners make it easier to both change strings quickly and to not have wraps, which are points of potential binding. Yes, this can be done with split shaft tuners, just not as quickly and easily.

    I use more non-locking than locking, but you'd better believe that I'm taking guitars with locking tuners on the road. There's no reason for me to have extra potential issues.

    -Mark
     
  20. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    I kind of wanted to know what you were saying, but good lord... paragraph breaks my dude. They make reading easier.
     

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