Tuner Selection, Staggered posts/locking pros-cons, and tonal differences

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by NuSkoolTone, Oct 13, 2005.


  1. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm in the process of building a parts-o-caster and doing some reasearch. I've read just about everything I could find on this forum and others, and was hoping to get some more input.

    I have a USACG alder body routed s-s-s and still need to get the rest.

    Here's what I have decided on:

    -USACG AAA birdseye neck w/dark indian rosewood, pearloid/MOP dots, SS frets. (Still deciding between 6105, 6150, or 6100, but that's for another thread) I also need to decide on the neck carve, something on the beefy side though. Will put on a bone or tusq type nut most likely.

    -Steel vintage bridge (Tenatively a a Callaham, but still researching)

    -Going to take my existing loaded pickguard off another strat to get a feel for what she sounds like, then order pickups I think will compliment best. Then she'll get a pearloid pickguard too.


    So what's left? TUNERS!

    Right now I am torn between Schallers and Gotoh klusons, maybe even locking. Pretty opposite sides of the spectrum.

    I have the schallers on my fender strat and like them, and have kluson copies on my LP classic and don't like the "feel" of them as much, not as "solid". However both seem to tune fine! So in a sense it comes down to TONAL DIFFERENCES.

    Here are the generalizations I've read:
    Klusons are the lightest, and allow the attack to be a little snappier, perhaps even woodier. Schallers are the heaviest, and add a touch of high end and sustain, possibly softening the attack as well. Sperzels seem to fall smack in the middle of these two, but based on my past experiences with the wheel falling out, and that the thin wheel kinda hurts my fingers (Aww poor baby!) I've never liked them so I think Sperzels are out. Here I am thinking Klusons because they might be woodier and may help balance out what some have called the "zing" of SS frets.

    Another variable is STAGGERED POSTS. If I have to have a string tree, I'd like one only, not two. Since the staggered heights can help the angle over the nut be more correct this is desirable. There is a version of the klusons that have adjustable/staggered posts I beleive, and I know the schallers can come staggered. However with staggered klusons, how much of a PITA is it to wind these things? I've gotten pretty good at winding string wraps and have my own method that seems to work pretty well, but am curious since all my experience is tuners with holes through them and not a split post. (My bass has split post and hasn't been a problem though)

    So now we come to the whole LOCKING idea. In general the string gets locked into place, a half turn or so and you're done.
    What is the TONAL difference between MULTIPLE wraps of string with a standard tuner to get to the staggered break angle vs. ONE wrap with the locking tuners? In general, I always felt that fitting as many wraps tightly down the post was the way to go AS LONG AS THEY DON'T OVERLAP! So while I don't wrap the whole string ala BB King, I do put quite a bit on there. Also, if the tuners are locking and NOT staggered, what do you do about the break angle? Does it kinda defeat the purpose if it's locking but not staggered or kinda make it not worth it? Or wrap anyway to get the string down lower to get the angle or does it increase the need for string trees? Hope tha made sense.

    There are so many variables. Other random thought are, I'm not interested in LSR or the steinberger tuners, I want to keep SOME form of a traditional look.

    Also, I like the idea of SEALED (but still open to otherwise) tuners so I don't need to mess with them. Are the gotoh Kluson type tuners just sealed and have the vintage look or are they the whole worm drive thing, but a little improved?(I figure that's what it is.) Also, if they're not sealed, how often do they need to be lubricated? How long do they last/get stiff etc? Also if I went the Kluson route, they seem to have staggered or locking, but NOT both! I've read wilkinson makes a plate you can put on the neck to stagger Klusons in Dan Erlewine's book, anyone have a link to who's got these?

    I know a LOT of this is personal preference, but wanted your opinons/experience with this!

    Thanks.
     
  2. baald

    baald Member

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    gee, until you mentioned a prediliction for sealed, i was gonna recommend the open-back sperzels. how much maintenance could they need? plus you get the advantage of tool-less, knobless, windless string changes and some degree of locking. I have heard good things about them and am getting them on my under-construction Koll. might still be worth considering.

    baald
     
  3. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    Haven't tried those, sounds interesting. Do they come in something besides purple or the dreaded satin? :D

    I went to sperzel's website recently, and it was pretty nondescript at best. You'd think they'd have in-depth articles about their technology(s), and what models they have available for those like me trying to make an informed decision!
     
  4. baald

    baald Member

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    looky here: http://www.tkinstruments.com/id75.htm
    about half way down the page. yes, you can get purple or satin if you *want*, but looks like they have polished finished too

    baald
     
  5. Killa-B

    Killa-B Member

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    I've got some adjustable height klusons, and they are pretty cool. I had been using sperzel trim lock tuners, and wanted a light tuner with the vintage tone. I, like you, wanted to avoid string trees as much as possible so I went for the klusons. I don't need to use any string trees with these machines. The height is very easy to adjust. The gearing has been improved over the older ones, and now the action is smooth and holds pitch better. Changing strings does take longer, but with 3 wraps on the wound strings and 4 on the plain strings everything works out great.

    I would tend to stay away from heavy tuners on a strat. I don't mind the massive hardware on the heavy short scale guitars though.
     
  6. Greg

    Greg Member

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    There's also Gotoh's Kluson-style locking, staggered-height tuners. I had these on a guitar, and I thought they worked great.

    Looks traditional, I would guess not much heavier than the regular klusons, fast string change. If I were to get new tuners, these would be at the top of my list.
     
  7. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    Looks neat, kinda like sperzels take on a gotoh locking kluson, but without the box case. How do they maintain their lubrication? Is there any maintanence with those?

    For what they are I might rather have the locking kluson, but I'm curious. I've read sperzels can be more solid and are less prone to backlash which is always a plus.
     
  8. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    Gotoh Kluson locking AND staggered? Sounds cool indeed! Where? I've looked but never saw any.
     
  9. pesocaster

    pesocaster Member

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    I have staggered Locking Sperzels on my Hamer Daytona.... keeps better tune than any of my other strats.... As far as tone goes... this has vintage vibe and tone to the bone...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    [​IMG]

    '64 Strat, staggered Sperzels.

    :)

    This is the best-sounding Strat I've ever heard - it got a lot better when I put the Sperzels on. OK, the Kluson copies on it before were not well fitted - just tacked loosely over the horrible gaping holes previously hacked through it by some idiot for mini Grovers - so it isn't a really fair test.

    But it still does sound great, and the tuning is unshakeable. I have the stagger set 4/2 (high to low - E, A, B, D, E, G), with the string tree pressing fairly lightly on the top two strings and tilted to 'split the angle'. I tried it the other way with no string tree and the top ones were too thin-sounding... there just isn't enough break angle even with the lowest heads at the far end, and I couldn't get the G low enough with anything except the shortest post either.

    [​IMG]

    The strings all come over the nut at the exact same angle, and the top two make the same angle at the string tree too... perfect.
     
  11. oxtone

    oxtone Member

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    I've used Sperzels on my Strat and Tele for years, and never had a problem with them. The only thing to take note of is if you tune down a step, you might break the string because Sperzels can put a kink in the string when you tighten it down.

    Other than that, I love the Sperzels - they stay in tune better than anything I've tried over 35 years of playing. I bought mine from Bob Sperzel at the NAMM Show. Nice guy...
     
  12. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    Bumpity. Who else has some experience with this?
     

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