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Thread: What are the BEST locking tuners?

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    Default What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I've got a Strat and I'm thinking about putting some locking tuners on it (I've never owned a guitar with locking tuners). My guitar doesn't have a ton of tuning problems, but it definitely has room for improvement, and I want a guitar that stays in tune as good as it possibly can.

    So I've got a few questions about locking tuners...

    1. What are the best locking tuners for the money?

    2. What are the best locking tuners overall?

    3. What is a "tuning ratio"?

    4. When you are stringing a guitar with locking tuners , do you have to string them differently than regular tuners?


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    Fuzzy. Guitars the guy who invented fire's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    There is no real best...I've had good luck wiht both the classic Sperzel's as well as the locking Kluson style tuners that (I think) gotoh makes.

    The ratio is how many times you have to turn the tuning key to get a full turn out of the tuning peg...example. 18:1 ratio means you have to turn the tuner 18 times to get a full turn out of the peg. A higher ratio is usally a better made key that is often more accurate as well.

    When stringing a guitar using locking tuners you wrap FAR less of the string on the post...all lockers differ a little in that reguard...
    Proudly Klon free!

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    i have a bunch of Sperzel's but one one set is on a guitar right now... i love how much faster string changes are with them... i plan to use my spare sets soon...

    i like the set that came on my Godin... i'm not sure who made them but they have a thumb knob ontop of the tuners shaft... not like the Sperzels that have the wheel to turn on the back of the tuner... they are kind of cool looking tuners

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    Tone Member Stringer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by the guy who invented fire View Post
    There is no real best...I've had good luck wiht... the locking Kluson style tuners that (I think) gotoh makes.

    The ratio is how many times you have to turn the tuning key to get a full turn out of the tuning peg...example. 18:1 ratio means you have to turn the tuner 18 times to get a full turn out of the peg. A higher ratio is usally a better made key that is often more accurate as well.

    When stringing a guitar using locking tuners you wrap FAR less of the string on the post...all lockers differ a little in that reguard...

    I have the gotoh Klusons and love them. You need to keep a penny handy to lock and unlock them. For a strat, on the D, I still wrap once or twice before locking, since it is hard to get it to pull tight. A lot depends on the headstock angle.

    While, in general, a higher ratio is better, it can be a pain in the arse once it gets too high (hard to tweak).

    A couple that I DON'T like (though they could definitely work for someone who is not me): the Planet Waves ones (WAY too heavy and the built-in string cutter is a ridiculous gimmick), and the Steinbrenner gearless (they look cool, but they are also heavy, and a 40:1 tuning ratio will drive you nuts if you are anything like me.
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    Mojo's Minions KeeperOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I put the Sperzels in my MiM and loved them so much I actually put them in my Floyd guitar as well!!! (which I now keep unlocked while in search of a new non-locking nut ).

    That said, I would be extremely interested in trying those Grover ones, for some reason I always felt the Grover tuners felt the most "solid" to the touch.
    (Nothing to do with how good they hold their tuning, just a feel thing)
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    Thumbs up Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I've had good luck with the locking Schallers, and they look more traditional than the Sperzels, which I also like. The tuning ratio is 16:1 - my favorite.

    They're fairly reasonably priced from Warmoth, which is where I got my last two sets:

    http://www.warmoth.com/hardware/tune...=guitar_tuners
    Last edited by jhale667; 07-20-2008 at 07:28 PM.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    The obvious answer is "Sperzels". I have a couple sets of Sperzels. I wouldnt reccoemnd them for strict vintage applications on a Fender. They are too heavey and just throw off the vibe.
    In custom made Strats with buckers they are pretty nice. Remeber not to overtorque the tuning "dials"cause they are fixed within the tuner flange,or something, and it aint that hard to 'tweak it out of the fitting', which wont render the Sperzels useless, but it will eff them up to a degree....its so easy to do- Ive done it to at least some of all my sperzels gears on my guitars.
    Don't discount the aftermarket Sperzel locking copies like 'Allparts' , i think,which are less expensive and very good quality.
    Last edited by jerryjg; 07-20-2008 at 08:18 PM.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    Jerry is right about the Sperzels changing the tone.
    To me, that was one of their biggest improvement though.
    The added mass just added sustain and a bit fuller sound to the guitar.

    That was perhaps what I liked the best about them
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue_Fingers_Jay View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by That90'sGuy View Post
    Not all guitars are created equal, so make sure it sings and if it does, you'd be silly to pass it up.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by KeeperOS View Post
    Jerry is right about the Sperzels changing the tone.
    To me, that was one of their biggest improvement though.
    The added mass just added sustain and a bit fuller sound to the guitar.

    That was perhaps what I liked the best about them
    Quite right..but it won't be "vintage".For vintage ya want Klusons.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I bought a set of these for a "Hipshot themed" strat.
    Haven't installed them as I dont have a neck yet so can't
    say as to their effectiveness, but they are lighter than the Sperzel's
    and Schallers that I have and the workmanship and chrome is beautiful.
    Last edited by Will S-T; 03-03-2010 at 03:55 PM.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I've had guitars with Sperzels, Schallers, and Grovers. My godin montreal came with some "Godin" stamped locking tuners that are pretty decent as well.

    My favorites are the Schallers. They win out due to their higher gear ratio over Sperzels.

    Sperzels are very good as well though, very solid feeling tuners.

    Grovers are...a little disappointing. their shafts are a little too tall, and their self-locking mechanism doesn't work so well on the plain strings. There's plenty of better ones out there.

    The godins are decent as well...though I hate the idea of any locking tuner where the thumbscrew is removable from the tuner itself. Its extremely unlikely that you'd lose one of those things, but the chance that it could happen is the thing that bothers me the most .

  12. #12
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I have owned about all of them so, I am not the usual person on here just posting what I have on my current guitar. Schaller is the best quality for the price and far better quality and more solid than Sperzels. I have had a handful of problems with Sperzels.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I like Schallers over Sperzels, but I currently own only Sperzels. The Schallers look prettier to me and feel more solid, but the Sperzels are perfectly serviceable once you get past their quirks.
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    Quote Originally Posted by jhale667 View Post
    I've had good luck with the locking Schallers, and they look more traditional than the Sperzels, which I also like. The tuning ratio is 16:1 - my favorite.

    They're fairly reasonably priced from Warmoth, which is where I got my last two sets:

    http://www.warmoth.com/hardware/tune...=guitar_tuners
    +1 - these have been my favorite too.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I have had Sperzels on my Strat for a few years now and I am more than happy with them. The tuner ratio is really not a big deal and even though my Strat has a Shaller Floyd I rarely use the fine tuners as it is just not nessessary.

    I have repaired a couple of sets of Shallers where the owners lost the lock pins from inside the tuner posts or they had become damaged and would not lock properly. I use a 4d trim nail and cut it to length with a dremel and then round the ends on a grinder.

    Works like a charm.

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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    I have a set of Sperzels on my 57 RI Strat. Heavilty modded Strat, with Wrmoth Brazillian RW fingerboard, Texas Hots, graphite nut and saddles as well as Sperzel locking tuners.

    I set this guitar up to use the whammy more and so I need all things to help it stay in tune better. The graphite nut & saddles as well as the locking tuners do the trick. I don't know about others, but with these you slide the string through the hole, screw it down, clip off the excess and tune. Your done. Easy, fast and fairly accurate. With Sperzels you do have to consider string gauges. If you plan on running very heavy strings for drop tuning and things like that, you may not be able to get a real thick string through the hole. I use 11's thru 49 with no issue, but if you plan on going a lot heavier you might want to try the string guage first to see if it will fit. Other than that they are great machines.
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    if you want light the gotoh kluson style is the lightest i know of at 5.65 oz vs the sperzel at 7.09. ive used gotoh, grover, schaller, and sperzel with good luck. didnt really like the planet waves for some reason

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    Mojo's Minions J Moose's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    Is it the Sperzels that come stock on some of the Fenders?

    I really hate those things, specifically the thumbscrew. The few sets I've had were nothing but problems... mostly related to the thumbscrew. Crank 'em down too much and you screw up the tuner. Not hard enough & the tuning stability is WORSE then non-locking of any type... I've had strings go completely slack, like it was broken and it just popped loose of the clamp.

    And you haven't really lived until you've changed a string on a dark stage and had one of the thumbscrews fall off & roll away, never to be seen again which renders the guitar useless. If there was more room to wrap on the posts at least you could get through...

    Hate 'em.

    The tuners on my PRS are nice, and I just got some Kulson style lockers for my Tele build that look like vintage tuners but lock from the top. Haven't finished the build yet but they look good. At least they don't have that stupid thumbscrew... not sure what brand they are.
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    Ultimate Tone Member 3th3r's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    A couple of days ago I replaced the Gibson Deluxe tuners that came with my LP Studio with Gotoh Vintage Locking tuners, and so far I like the change.

    I don't know if the Gotohs are the best, but I like them better for four reasons:

    1. The Gotohs have no play at all; as soon as you turn the knob, the tuner starts winding. With the Gibson Deluxe there was a tiny bit of slack, which made back-winding innacurate.

    2. The Gotohs have higher gear ratio, so it easier to fine-tune the string.

    3. The Gotohs are slightly lighter in weight.

    4. I like the smaller, less boxy look, purely for easthetic reasons.

    I had to purchase adapter bushings because the headstock holes were too big for the Gotoh bushings. The Gotoh bushings are made for the old style tuners, like the ones in the Historic and Custom Shop gibsons. I also replaced the fugly, snot green knobs with some Uncle Lou knobs (these are similar to the ones in the new Traditional Les Pauls).

    Here are some pics that show the Gotohs; I left one of the Gibson Deluxes for comparison:



    Last edited by 3th3r; 07-21-2008 at 02:49 PM.


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    Super Toneologist JordanM82's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are the BEST locking tuners?

    Love the Sperzel's on my Carvin, solid, good ratio, great sound...

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