Changing Strings Part 5

by admin on December 7, 2010

Keith Holland:  Hi, I'm Keith Holland from the Guitar Hospital. I'd like to spend a second here to talk about tuning gears on a guitar. Some inexpensive guitars will have inexpensive tuning gears on there. You may want to replace them with better gears. This is a Breedlove guitar, and Breedlove uses very good materials throughout the guitar. These are open-back tuners. And where they might look inexpensive to some people, actually, they're very good tuners. The machining on these is very precise, and there's a little adjustment to be made on these from time to time. You'll see on the back of the tuner, on the cog here, there's a screw.

So when you change the strings on a guitar, you want to just check and make sure that nothing is loose. If it's a little bit loose, you don't want to over tighten but you just want to make sure that that's nice and snug in there.

Also, on the tuners made... The Schaller tuners or Grovers, sometimes Gotoh tuners that are encased, they will have an adjustment down here on this end and those can loosen up. That's a more critical... You want to be careful when you adjust those, because you can over-adjust them very easily. You just want them, not even snug, just to a point to where they're not moving around in there, that's important.

So there's a screw on the end of those that kind of adjusts the way that sits in there. There's a little Teflon ring in there that you don't want to compromise. So that's important, to not get those too tight. That's my tuning gear rant.

We were discussing tuning gears earlier. And I'd like to say something else about tuners that are, maybe, important. If you do have a guitar that you like the tone of a lot, anything that you change on that guitar can change the tone. And tuners are important to tone, so if you change your tuners to a different mass of tuner...

Let's say that you go from these light, unenclosed tuners to, maybe, a heavy Schaller tuner. The tone of the guitar is going to change drastically. What you've done is, you've added mass to the head-stock. And the head-stock, when you hit the string, it's actually vibrating, it's actually moving a little bit. Anything that constricts that movement will change the tone of the instrument.

So it's important that, if you like the tone of your guitar but your tuners aren't working well, you choose something that's an upgrade to your tuner but is very similar in weight, and similar in materials as well. So that's an important thing to know about tuners.

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