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Changing tuners on J45 and Hummingbird


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Hi all.


I want to change the stock Grovers (1:14) on my two Gibsons to something more smooth and with a higher ratio (1:18 or better). I would strongly prefer a type which is just a drop-in, without need for drilling or anything. After checking what is available and doing a search on this forum I thought the Gotoh's 510 were the best choice. Is this indeed still the case or are there better alternatives?


Thanks, cheers, Bob.

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Smart move to cast off the Grover Boat Anchors. They not only leave you with a visible hole at 8 o'clock position, but a extra large shaft opening. You'll have to fill the void with bushings. New pilot holes are necessary at 12 and 6 position for any open tuners, be they Waverly, Grover or Gotah. You must have the tuners perfectly snug. Or you'll be losing a bit of sustain...as you were with those tone robbing Grover's.

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Well, if you're changing tuners, why not go whole-hog and get some Waverlys:http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Tuning_Machines/Solid_Peghead_Guitar_Tuning_Machines/Waverly_Guitar_Tuners_with_Ivoroid_Knobs_for_Solid_Pegheads.html


Your Grovers required 13/32" peghead holes, and since the Waverlys need only 11/32" holes, you'll need conversion bushings:



And, to each his/her own but I've always thought Gotoh 510s were perhaps the ugliest tuners ever slapped on a peghead.

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If you replace rotomatics with something that doesn't have a large washer on the front, you will probably need to purchase bushings to adapt to the smaller shaft size. I did this, and that part was not really a problem, but you have to be careful about pressing the bushings into the original holes evenly (I used a c-clamp and block of wood to protect the headstock)) But a bigger problem was that the Rotomatic washers left a very noticeable "bullseye" mark on the front of the headstock. This required sanding and polishing, which was not trivial.


If you haven't already done so, try removing just one of the original tuners and see how much of a mark the washers have made on the headstock. They were very ugly on my J-50.

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Gotoh 301s or the 510s with the smooth nickel buttons and "6 o'clock" screw hole should drop in just fine.


I like the Rotomatics though. Heavy and a bit ungainly but for a gigging guitar they're bulletproof. Most reliable machineheads I've come across in 21yrs of singing to make ends meet. Much prefer them to Klusons or most open back tuners.


Having said that I have a set of Waverly open backs on my Michael Messer resonator which are very good. I'll take Rotos on a touring instrument any day though.

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  • 3 years later...

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