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Crappy tuners on brand new Gibson!...

#1 User is offline   Digory 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:24 PM

My first post here so hello to you all!

I have been a Gibson electric owner my whole playing life (about 25yrs), les pauls, 335s etc, and loved them all! Up until a few years ago I never really played serious acoustic so always had budget/mid-price acoustics such as Yamahas, Epis, etc. I'm now getting on a bit (38yrs lol!) and getting more into acoustic playing so I decided a while back to save up for my first high quality acoustic.

After a LOT of research and many hours of playing everything in my local shops, I kept coming back to a Gibson Aaron Lewis Southern Jumbo. Just something about the sound, playability, feel, asthetics that felt perfect for me... we all know that feeling when we fall for a guitar! So I bought it. (Nothing to do with Aaron Lewis buy the way, I didnt mind Staind back in the day but I'm no big fan... its just a fantastic reissue of a 1951 SJ!)

So I got it home, along with a new set of strings, played it for a bit, then started changing strings as the factory ones were a bit dead. And straight away I noticed the tuners were completely shot!! This guitar is a VOS model so the tuners do have that slightly aged look, however, functionally they are surely supposed to work? ...but they dont, they are completely crap, they crunch and squeak as I tune to pitch, they wobble and rattle when the strings are off, I can feel the gears grinding as I tune, and there is a huge amount of play in them as I turn the keys!!

I didnt notice any of this until I got it home and changed the strings because every time I picked it up at the shop it was tuned to pitch. I spoke to the shop and they said its supposed to be like that as its a VOS (?!) but, I could return it and get something else if I wanted. Good of them to offer but I dont want another guitar.

I phoned Gibson Europe and they said I'd need to Fedex the whole guitar back to them and they would have to 'run tests'(!!) on the tuners and maybe replace them, which could take 4 - 6 weeks! ...ridiculous!! So, my only realistic option (if I keep the guitar) is to spend 50+ of my own money to buy some new tuners to replace the shockingly bad tuners that Gibson saw fit to use on a high end guitar.

Apologies if my first post here is just a long rant but I'm really annoyed by this whole thing because a 2000+ guitar should have ZERO faults, and Gibsons rather blase attitude to 'fixing' it has really taken the shine of the whole thing. I cant think of another way to solve this so I suppose I'll shop around for a decent replacement set of tuners now... Tonepros TKP33s maybe?

Cheers :)

#2 User is offline   vincentw 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:08 PM

You are in Europe? And the guitar was purchased in Europe?

#3 User is offline   JuanCarlosVejar 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:21 PM

I would say go back to the dealer you got it from and have them take a look at the tuners :) . maybe you can work out that the dealer sends the guitar back to Gibson at no charge , that way you keep the guitar and they replace the tuners :).

btw I'm a huge aaron lewis /staind fan !!!
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#4 User is offline   ponty 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:03 PM

I would agree with Juan Carlos.Get the dealer to take responsibility.
There is no way Gibson....even Gibson, would use poor quality, inefficient duds
for tuners and then get the dealer to say 'thats how they are on a '51 repro'
My almost twenty year old J-45 had tuners that fit your description.
I changed them for Tonepro TPKBW (white button) tuners and they are absolutely excellent.
These are also 50s/60s repros. Gibson describe the AL tuners as 'Kluson style' ie no brand named.

#5 User is offline   rar 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 08:20 PM

View PostDigory, on 01 August 2011 - 04:24 PM, said:

... And straight away I noticed the tuners were completely shot!! This guitar is a VOS model so the tuners do have that slightly aged look, however, functionally they are surely supposed to work? ...but they dont, they are completely crap, they crunch and squeak as I tune to pitch, they wobble and rattle when the strings are off, I can feel the gears grinding as I tune, and there is a huge amount of play in them as I turn the keys!!

I didnt notice any of this until I got it home and changed the strings because every time I picked it up at the shop it was tuned to pitch. I spoke to the shop and they said its supposed to be like that as its a VOS (?!) but, I could return it and get something else if I wanted. ...


This is a very strange situation. I don't know exactly which Kluson repros are used on the Aaron Lewis SJ, but all of them are perfectly decent tuners that don't crunch or squeak in use. So, one of three things is going on. One possibility is that six out of six tuners installed on your guitar are seriously defective, but either the inspector who tuned your guitar didn't notice or they were all functioning okay at the time but broke down due to the defects after that point. In that case, Gibson owes you a set of tuners. Another possibility is that the tuners were okay, but were somehow damaged after the guitar was at the dealer. In that case, the dealer owes you a new set of tuners. The third possibility is that the tuners are functioning in the way they're supposed to, and you're just not happy with them anyway. Then you owe yourself a new set of tuners. The first possibility is by far the least likely, given defect rates for these tuners (whatever they are) and justifiable approximate independence assumptions. As a result, it is not reasonable to expect Gibson Europe to provide replacement tuners without more evidence that there is a manufacturing defect -- actually, six manufacturing defects -- here.

This makes your best course of action clear. Get a disinterested expert who would be recognized as such by the dealer to check the tuners. If the expert confirms that they aren't functioning properly, provide this information to the dealer and insist on replacements. After the expert testimony, the dealer cannot reasonably refuse -- because he has taken the position that he need not replace the tuners because they're functioning properly. It is then up to the dealer to determine whether the malfunctioning is due to a manufacturing defect, and, if so, to deal with Gibson.

If you get the right expert, one whose expertise is recognized by Gibson Europe, and the expert is convinced that the tuners are malfunctioning due to manufacturing flaws, then you might then be able to go directly to Gibson Europe for replacements. (That's the way warranty work is handled in the U.S. Authorized repair folks are nothing more than people who Gibson trusts to make such judgments, and who have the expertise and desire to perform warranty repairs at what Gibson considers fair reimbursement rate. Expertise and reimbursement rates are not an issue when it comes to replacing tuners.) But there's really not much advantage to you in doing this, given that the dealer has obligingly backed himself into a corner.

-- Bob R

#6 User is offline   jchabalk 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 09:31 PM

this sounds like a good opportunity to get a set of waverley's on there!!

#7 User is offline   EuroAussie 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:33 AM

Interesing you had this issue. When I bought my AL SJ everythibg was immaculate, including the tuners. However I didnt like the white as white tuners together with the vintage looking fretboard and overall look of the guitar.

So i took out the butter bean tuners on my 69' CW and placed them on the SJ and bought some Tulips for the CW as I always liked these tuners on square shouldered Gibson dreadsnoughts. So in effect it became a natural finish Hummingbird. I also replaced the AL truss rod cover with a plain one.

btw: welcome to the forum !

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#8 User is offline   Digory 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 03:08 AM

Thanks for all your replies, most helpful.

My own personal opinion with these tuners now is that they are actually meant to be like this, they are meant to be like a 60yr old tuner with regards to wear etc. I think its part of the whole ageing thing but Gibson took it waaay too far. I removed one last night and the crud, rust, etc is actually inside the mechanism as well as on the outside! They look like they have been dipped in acid and water and left to corrode in the sun!! This surely has done damage to the gearing. Maybe they were 'acceptable' when it left the factory but after another few months of oxidization theyve become unusable?? Also they have 'Japan' stamped on the underneath, does that mean they are not Klusons, and are probably Gotoh? Also, I think I've got so used to the super smooth and efficient Grovers and Tonepros on all my other Gibsons that these 'Klusons' were a bit of a shock.

I think my previous point about quality is very valid though... this guitar cost more than my Les or my 335, yet Gibson thought it ok to fit what are obviously low quality tuners to start with let alone after theyve been ruined by the aging process. Just really dissapointed. Anyway, I'm probably gonna do what you advised (Bob R) and the shop can sort it out. I know a tech who can look at the tuners and give an honest verdict. The only thing I dont want to do is send the whole guitar to Gibson Europe in Holland (Im in the UK by the way) and have to wait a month for it to come back.

I looked at the Waverlys btw... nearly fell off my chair at the price! Arnt the Grover Sta-tite's just the same tuners?

:)

#9 User is offline   Jeremy Morton 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 08:39 AM

Digory,
I am sorry to hear about your unhappiness with the tuners on your newly purchase Aaron Lewis SJ. After reading your initial post I decided to go down to the setup area to eplore what is up with the tuners. Yes the tuners are aged here to capture the essence of a guitar from the 50's, this process does stiffen up the tuners slightly but the remain totally operational and functional. I believe they will loosen up with time, but structurally there is nothing wrong with the tuners. I am sending you a PM so please check your messages when you are able.
All the best
Jeremy Morton

#10 User is offline   BigKahune 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 10:46 AM

.
Jeremy - Great to see a Gibson guy getting involved. [thumbup]
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#11 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:20 AM

I've never quite understood the desire to "age" hardware, as it usually involves inducing corrosion via an acid bath or some other corrosive liquid. Surprise, surprise, the innards of the tuners get corroded as well, and they won't work as well.

I recently overhauled a set of 1968 Kluson 12-string tuners on my ES 335-12. These are the same design as the three-on-a-plate Klusons used on the J-45 from the late 1940's on. These 335-12 tuners had all the symptoms you describe: rough operation, binding, inconsistent stiffness. I removed them from the guitar and solvent washed the innards through the lube hole, air-dried them, and treated them with Tri-Flow dry lube, letting that dry and then wiping off the outside with mineral spirits to remove any excess.

After that dried, I cleaned out the inside of the ferrules in the headstock before re-installing. The tuners basically worked like new after that.

#12 User is offline   Digory 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:33 AM

Thats really good advice there j45Nick, thanks, I might give it a go.

Thanks to Jeremy for his help as well.

I have decided to just buy a set of new tuners in the end as the hassle and time of sending them back, waiting etc, just isnt worth it for something thats so easy to change and put right. Its just annoying its cost me more money.

Actually, I might give that cleaning a go tonight, then if it works I can always send the new ones back. ;)

Thanks to everyone for your help and advice!

[thumbup]

#13 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:48 AM

View PostDigory, on 02 August 2011 - 03:08 AM, said:

Also they have 'Japan' stamped on the underneath, does that mean they are not Klusons, and are probably Gotoh?


The last original Klusons were made in 1974.

You find the same MIJ Gotoh produced Klusons on Fenders. Most folks I know though say they are the way to go.
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#14 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:52 AM

View PostDigory, on 02 August 2011 - 11:33 AM, said:

Thats really good advice there j45Nick, thanks, I might give it a go.

Thanks to Jeremy for his help as well.

I have decided to just buy a set of new tuners in the end as the hassle and time of sending them back, waiting etc, just isnt worth it for something thats so easy to change and put right. Its just annoying its cost me more money.

Actually, I might give that cleaning a go tonight, then if it works I can always send the new ones back. ;)

Thanks to everyone for your help and advice!

[thumbup]


Don't clean them on the guitar: remove them. It's a picky little job to clean and lube. Tri-flow works great, and you can get it at any bike shop. It's used on bicycle chains a lot. I used odorless mineral spirits as a cleaner, and injected it through the lube hole using the type of syringe we use for epoxy injection. They sort of look like an oversized medical syringe, but anything that will allow you to shoot the cleaner thoroughly into the lube holes will do.

#15 User is offline   vincentw 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:56 AM

View Postj45nick, on 02 August 2011 - 11:20 AM, said:

I've never quite understood the desire to "age" hardware, as it usually involves inducing corrosion via an acid bath or some other corrosive liquid. Surprise, surprise, the innards of the tuners get corroded as well, and they won't work as well.

I recently overhauled a set of 1968 Kluson 12-string tuners on my ES 335-12. These are the same design as the three-on-a-plate Klusons used on the J-45 from the late 1940's on. These 335-12 tuners had all the symptoms you describe: rough operation, binding, inconsistent stiffness. I removed them from the guitar and solvent washed the innards through the lube hole, air-dried them, and treated them with Tri-Flow dry lube, letting that dry and then wiping off the outside with mineral spirits to remove any excess.

After that dried, I cleaned out the inside of the ferrules in the headstock before re-installing. The tuners basically worked like new after that.



For many, only the exact look of vintage guitars will do. Many others might not agree. But there will always be a contingent of folks who want the exact look and feel of a vintage Gibson.

#16 User is offline   retrorod 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 08:27 PM

View Postzombywoof, on 02 August 2011 - 11:48 AM, said:

The last original Klusons were made in 1974.

Ahem!....Wasn,t that the year the 'music died'...... [scared]
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#17 User is offline   Digory 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 11:50 PM

Hey folks, good news!...

After a chat with Jeremy Morton at Gibson (Montana), he is happy to send me a set of new un-aged tuners to replace the ones on my SJ. I dont have to send the guitar to Holland (or Montana!), I can just swap the tuners over & send the old ones back to him... So I get to keep my guitar here! :) Im sure I can put up with it for a bit longer til they arrive.

Full marks to Jeremy for sorting this... top bloke! Nice to see the big companies do care about addressing issues. My faith is restored! ;)

#18 User is offline   ChrisA83 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 04:57 AM

Great stuff!
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#19 User is offline   Pickax 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:45 AM

View PostDigory, on 02 August 2011 - 03:08 AM, said:



I looked at the Waverlys btw... nearly fell off my chair at the price! Arnt the Grover Sta-tite's just the same tuners?

:)


Looks like you will be receiving some different machines but in response to this question, the Sta Tites have the same footprint as the Waverly's and they are great machines but Waverly's are in another class IMO. Smoother, better feel, better precision. To me, they are worth the price.YMMV.

#20 User is offline   zombywoof 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 10:03 AM

View Postretrorod, on 02 August 2011 - 08:27 PM, said:

Ahem!....Wasn,t that the year the 'music died'...... [scared]



No - that would be either 1965 when Leo Fender sold the company to CBS or the following year when Ted McCarty walked out of the Gibson factory.
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