Vintage tuners for better sound?

Ribsspare

Member
Hi, I am thinking of building a strat style guitar from USA custom company where they give you the neck and body.

I was wondering if the vintage tuners have better tone? Or should I stick to locking tuners? I do like locking tuners though. But won't mind the old style.

I realize tone is a subjective thing so any input is appreciated. Also I might add, would there be a noticeable sonic difference of the heavy locking tuners vs the lighter vintage tuners?
 

scienceguy

Silver Supporting Member
I'll step out there and say tuners have no effect on your tone. At least I haven't noticed any, nor do I want to.
Let the games begin!

:hide
 

bc-cosmo

Silver Supporting Member
Not sure about tone--how would you prove it?--but there can be a weight/balance difference which influences the feel of the guitar. The balance of Teles can be negatively affected by heavier Sperzel-type tuners--I've remedied neck-diving T-type guitars with lighter vintage style tuners.

Strats are inherently well balanced, though, so the heavier headstock should be fine.

The Gotoh locking Kluson style tuners are the best compromise in my opinion--look vintage but lock up tight.
 

ianb

Member
Check out Gotoh vintage staggered Kluson-style tuners, either locking or non-locking. Little difference in weight, both have great tone, smooth tuning, and are stable.
 

27sauce

Member
I have an old Junior that has had 3 sets of tuners since I've had it(10 years), and in the last 6 months I've had all three on. Vintage Grovers, Vintage Kluson, and modern Kluson.
The reason I changed 3 times in 6 months was because I DID notice a difference. I went with the Grovers first but hated what it did to the mids and top end. The RI Klusons with the steel posts were pretty close to the original Klusons with brass, but a bit heavier. The old ones need new buttons and are a bit sticky, so I've gone with the modern Klusons.

I play with IEM's and can hear every detail of my tone, night after night. The Grovers absolutely sounded different than the Klusons, so yeah, locking tuners are going to sound different. It may not be enough for you to care, I just noticed with mine because I was so used to how it sounded.
 
For those who disagree that the tuners make a sonic difference, go clamp something heavy onto your headstock and play for a while- then report back.

A set of full sized Grovers weighs the better part of a pound. By comparison, a set of open-backed Waverlies weighs less than half as much. I have switched out Grovers for Waverlies on an acoustic, the difference was night and day. By comparison, changing the material of the saddle and nut (which everyone seems to insist is a huge improvement) was almost insignificant. I've discussed this with a few luthiers who feel the same way.

I don't think that heavy vs. light tuners are subjectively "better", but there will certainly be a sonic difference. My personal preference is for light tuners; I like the sound better on most guitars, but more than anything I hate the feel of neck-heavy guitars. Gotoh makes a set of vintage-style Fender 6 inline tuners that look much like the originals, but they're locking. I have them on a Tele and love them.
 
IMHO, this is nuts
No the nuts are the things on the bridge side of the tuners. They have an effect on toanz. Tuners physically can't because of the nut.
For ultimate toanz, consider what color felt washers you use under your strap buttons. Black ones will give you a darker toan. Conversely, white ones are best for a Tele because of the inherent brightness of them:sarcasm
 

bsuite

Supporting Member
I have an old Junior that has had 3 sets of tuners since I've had it(10 years), and in the last 6 months I've had all three on. Vintage Grovers, Vintage Kluson, and modern Kluson.
The reason I changed 3 times in 6 months was because I DID notice a difference. I went with the Grovers first but hated what it did to the mids and top end. The RI Klusons with the steel posts were pretty close to the original Klusons with brass, but a bit heavier. The old ones need new buttons and are a bit sticky, so I've gone with the modern Klusons.

I play with IEM's and can hear every detail of my tone, night after night. The Grovers absolutely sounded different than the Klusons, so yeah, locking tuners are going to sound different. It may not be enough for you to care, I just noticed with mine because I was so used to how it sounded.
:munch
 

Chris Scott

Member
The sonic difference between die-cast and stamped steel tuners is real, you just will need to decide if you like it or not.

I know many are rolling their eyes, and that's understandable, but I've proven this to myself many times over. It's really pretty simple - you change the amount of mass on a vibrating object, and that object is going to yield a different sound.

Will you like it? ...maybe. Got an archtop with full-size Grovers that's a bit top heavy? ...swap them out for some vintage-style keystone button Gotohs, and you'll be loving it 2X.

Diecasts on a Tele or Strat? ...Gotoh saf-t-posts w/ reducer bushings, and you won't even see the old screw holes on your Am Std Strat.

Will you, or anyone else for that matter, hear a difference once the rest of the band kicks in?

...:omg


Edit; There's one other thing - I was just checking out the double-neck thread, and I'll bet most of those instruments are WAY too top heavy - I know the Gibson's are, as if they've got Grovers, that's over TWO POUNDS of tuner on there.

The orig. tuners for those things are WAY lighter, and swapping them out will make a huge difference in seated-position playability.
 
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