How to Buy the Correct Tuning Machines for Your Guitar

How to Buy the Correct Tuning Machines for Your Guitar

Are your strings going out of tune quicker than they used to? Or are you finding it harder and harder to get your strings perfectly in tune, you turn the tuning machine and it makes no difference, then all of a sudden it jumps to way past the note you wanted. If so, then it’s time to invest in a new set of quality tuning machines, but what should you buy and why? Let’s find out!

Type of guitar

Starting with the absolute basics, does your guitar have six-a-side tuning machines, such as a strat, tele, etc., does it have three-a-side tuning machines like a Les Paul, SG, most acoustic guitars, etc. or does it have something else, such as four on the top, two on the bottom?

Now that’s sorted let's move on to…

501D6 Non-Locking Guitar Tuning Key Pegs 1:18 Ratio


Some guitarists like to stick with the same style of tuning machines as originally used by the manufacturer, while others like to personalize their instrument and create something unique. Which option you choose will depend on your personality and the guitar to some degree.

To lock or not to lock?

If you’re upgrading, maybe you would like to install some locking tuning machines. These are now available in a vast range of styles and some look exactly the same as traditional tuners but with the advantages of locking technology. Therefore, your tuners will match the style of your guitar perfectly but have even greater tuning stability.

What are the advantages of locking tuning machines?

Locking tuners will give you improved tuning stability as well as making your string changes much quicker. They usually feature a pin or some other retaining mechanism that clamps each string in place, this prevents them from slipping as you play.

However, due to their design, they are usually heavier than standard tuning machines. Therefore, they could have some effect on your perfectly balanced guitar. Or, even worse, if your guitar is already headstock heavy, they will make the problem worse.

What are some of the best replacement tuning machine options available?

If you own a Fender, Squire, or similar six-a-side tuning machine guitar, you can’t go wrong with the Guyker GK-434SP 6 Right Hand In-line Guitar Tuning Key Pegs.

They are available in silver, gold, or black to match any guitars hardware, with either matching handles, or go for the white options for an added touch of class. Their 1:18 gear ratio and reliable, robust locking system will ensure that you get your guitar in tune, quickly and efficiently, and that it stays that way.

Or, if you prefer a more traditional tuning peg, check out the GK-501D6 Non-Locking Guitar Tuning Key Pegs. They offer the same quality and gear ratio as the locking tuners, but are lighter to maintain the balance of your guitar.

However, if you’re bored of having the same old tuners as everyone else, how about these Guyker GK-109 3R/3L Guitar Tuning Pegs Gear Ratio - 1:21 Tuners  to make your headstock really stand out. Or why stick with the same boring colors when you can go for a bright blue set of tuners such as these Guyker GK-D-05SP Dopamine Color Guitar Locking Tuning Machines or to brighten up your day, how about pink, such as these Guyker GK-D-502SP 3R/3L Dopamine Color Guitar Locking Tuning Machines.

The choice is yours, stick with traditional designs and colors or make a splash and create a guitar which is 100% yours! Either way, a new set of tuning machines will get you in tune quicker and keep you in tune for longer, so it’s a win-win however you look at it.

It’s now time to make an order, so let’s finish off by finding out…

What should I keep in mind when ordering tuning machines?

If you want an easy life, it’s vitally important to make sure that the tuning machines you are buying have the same shaft diameter as the set you are replacing and that the number and position of the holes are in exactly the same place.

The shaft of your new tuning machines needs to fit perfectly through the holes in the headstock of the guitar. If it is slightly thinner this isn’t a huge issue because the screws and the nut holding it in place should stop any movement. However, if it is thicker, you will need to re-drill all the holes in your headstock, which is a task best avoided if possible. Unless you are very careful, you could crack the lacquer around the holes or worse still crack the wood. Therefore, to avoid all this hassle, make sure that the shafts of your new tuning machines are the same diameter as your old ones.

The number and position of the holes is slightly less of a problem, but still best avoided if possible. If your new tuners have the same screw-hole layout then it is simply a case of screwing the new (or even old if you prefer) screws back into place. If they are not, then you will need to create new pilot holes using a punch and then screw the screws into place. If you’re in luck the design of the new machine heads might cover up the old screw holes. If not, then you will need to apply a small amount of wood filler using a cocktail stick to each hole and leave it to dry. Then, use a car touch-up pen in the same color as teh rear of your headstock to do a simple repair. If it requires more work than that, then you will need to fill in the holes, sand them down, and respray the back of your headstock, which is obviously best avoided.

In conclusion, picking new tuning machines should be looked at in the same way as cutting a piece of wood, measure twice, cut once. Therefore, if you make sure that the shaft diameter and the number and position of the holes are exactly the same, you should have a very simple modification that will give you tuning stability for years to come.


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