5 Best Guitar Tuning Machines That You Might Need

5 Best Guitar Tuning Machines That You Might Need

Tuning machines, pegs, or keys as they’re sometimes called, are essential pieces of guitar hardware that ensure our instruments offer reliable intonation for extended periods.

Whether the stock tuners on your guitar began to degrade, you need a few replacement sets for an upcoming tour, or simply want to upgrade your guitar’s tuning pegs, we as guitar experts are here to help you choose the best machine heads at diverse price points.

If you’re not an overly tech-savvy guitar player, we warmly recommend reading our buying guide before the individual reviews. Without any further ado, let’s start from the top. 

#1 Guyker GK-509SP 3R-3L Guitar Tuning Pegs Lock String Tuner

Let’s start with one of the best-rounded tuning machine options in the contemporary market. Guyker is internationally renowned for making highly versatile, easily adjustable tuners, and GK-509SP represents the brand’s commitment to excellence well.

These are robust tuning machines available in chrome, gold, and black color options while the base is made of heavy-duty metal in all cases. GK-509SP pegs are considerably more durable relative to the industry’s average and as such are ideal for guitarists who constantly make steep jumps between tunings.

There’s more than just looks to the beautiful handles of GK-509SP; Guyker’s artisans have purposefully made them with dust and corrosion-repelling casting materials to ensure optimal longevity.

The 1:21 gear ratio is ideal for fine-tuning, allowing users to comfortably hunt for perfect pitches on every string. The only potential downside of Guyker’s GK-509SP is that this set is a bit on the pricier side, but as far as value is concerned, these are among the best tuning machines in the current market.

guyker tuning machine

#2 Guyker GK-109 3R/3L Guitar Tuning Pegs

The GK-109 tuning machine set is more than just a cheaper alternative to GK-509SP, although they do share more similarities than differences between each other.

Like Guyker’s flagship model, these machines rock a 1:21 gear ratio, Imperial-style tuning handles, and a full set of accompanying hardware complete with threaded bushings, ferrules, and mounting screws.

GK-109 machine heads are made of high-quality materials and can fit most mainstream guitar models made by Gibson/Epiphone, Ibanez, Gretsch, and Hamer.

guyker tuning machine

#3 Fender American Pro Staggered Stratocaster/Telecaster Tuning Machine Sets

Here we are looking at a set of Fender-made staggered tuners for Strats and Tellys, rocking a quick-action 1:14 gear ratio, dual-pin mounting systems, and a classic closed-back design.

Available in chrome and gold variants, these tuning machines are as gorgeous as they are versatile. Each set comes with a complete set of installation hardware and can fit most Fender and Epiphone guitars from the American Professional & American Standard series.

The main draw of these tuning machines lies in their “staggered post” construction. The posts meant to keep the lowest two strings at bay are purposefully made taller while the remaining four are shorter, passively improving the string break angle and optimizing the guitar’s intonation capabilities without complex locking systems.

#4 Wilkinson WJ01 EZ-LOK Gold Tuners

We recommend Wilkinson WJ01 EZ-LOK tuners to all guitarists who love Fender American Staggered pegs but don’t own a Strat or a Telecaster. These machine heads are designed to fit most 3-by-3 headstocks with 10mm holes and boast similar specifications to Fender’s flagship tuning pegs.

Design-wise, WJ01 tuners are flat-sided and have a closed back to protect them against dust and small pieces of debris. Their 1:15 gear ratio is almost as good for fine-tuning as our recommended Fender staggered tuners, although these sit at a fixed 45-degree angle.

#5 Gotoh SD91 MG-T Vintage Style Tuners

One of the biggest names in the guitar machine space, Gotoh boasts over 1,000+ unique models. We’ve handpicked the SD91 MG-T for its stunning design, ease of installation, and powerful specs.

SD91 tuners are made for electric guitars exclusively, and if you’re ordering from the brand’s official site, you’ll be able to choose from 10+ exquisite button styles. Similar to Wilkinson’s WJ01 EZ-Lok, Gotoh’s SD91 tuning machines have a gear ratio of 1:15.

What makes these tuners special is Gotoh’s famed Magnetic Lock system that keeps the strings firmly in place no matter how forcefully they’re stretched.

How We Ranked the Best Tuning Machines

When choosing the best guitar tuners in the contemporary market, we followed our tried & tested 5-point ranking system comprised of the following criteria:

Ease of Use & Installation

The vast majority of guitar players know (or could quickly learn) how to use and replace basic guitar machines. More complex models like Gotoh SD91 may take a while to set up and get accustomed to, which can be a bother even to more seasoned players.

We picked tuning machines that can serve you right out of the box, knowing that many players won’t have 30-60 minutes to spare when their pegs give out in the middle of a show or a recording session.

Quality of Construction

Replacing a set of stock pegs with poorly made machines is, in our humble opinion, a waste of money. We recommend machine heads that are made of accurately refined, high-quality metals that can last years if not decades if given proper maintenance.

Specifications

There is no such thing as “best” specifications for guitar machines. Every guitar model is different, and we chose models that are diverse enough to fit most acoustic and electric guitars. The only exception is Fender’s Staggered tuners because they’re meant for Telecasters and Strats, which are coincidentally available in an array of different styles.

Price

A good set of tuning machines is not necessarily the most expensive one. We chose models for players with different budgets and exclusively recommended the finest representatives of entry-level, mid-tier, and boutique peg replacements.

Wrapping Up

Picking a set of replacement machine heads can be a daunting experience for inexperienced guitar players. We shortlisted five models we deem the “best” based on their quality, design, and versatility but advise you to browse the catalogs of leading guitar brands like Fender, Guyker, Wilkinson, and Gotoh in case you are searching for more specific models. And the dimensions should fit your guitar.


If you like this article, please share it!

Be sure to join our FB Group Guyker Guitar Parts & Accessories Community to share your ideas! You can also have connections with like-minded guitar players, Guyker updates as well as discounts information from our FB Group.