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Buc McMaster

Golden Age Machines

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Never one to leave well enough alone, I ordered a set of Stew Mac's Golden Age Repro tuners for my 45. Installed them a couple days ago and they are quite fine.....very smooth. Not original equipment, certainly, but I love the look of open backed machines. Had to plug the original screw holes with a little glue and hardwood and drill new ones. The whole operation took less than an hour. The guitar is off to the shop today to have a new nut & saddle of an unmentionable material installed by the pros.

 

j45machines.JPG

 

j45headstock.JPG

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.

That's a pretty tasty look.

 

I see you're playing it safe with the nut/saddle material - I can certainly understand that. . B)

 

 

.

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I think StewMac's Golden Age tuners are great. I use them on all the vintage repros I build. They look just like the original 3-on-a-plate tuners Gibson used back in the day, whether you want the look of the "bent tab" Klusons or the vintage Waverlys.

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Buc,

I agree - open backs look better, especially if you are going for a more true vintage look. I am always wondering what's inside the ones I've got that are covered up? Grease? Lint? You can more easily clean the open ones and, theoretically adjust the tension with the cool little screw. Those look like they've been 'antiqued' a bit...or is my pc screen dirty again? I'm not messing with the ones my gibson's came with, because they work and I'd rather keep it 'original'. Except, of course for the pins and saddle of unmentionable material.

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Hmmmmmm....whilst I love open backs these Stew Mac Golden age are pretty cheap tuners. Maybe OK for a Harmony but that beauty deserves better IMO.

 

I'd go with a set of Waverely's,....the best open backs money can buy!

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Hmmmmmm....whilst I love open backs these Stew Mac Golden age are pretty cheap tuners.

 

Cheap compared to what? They are very well made. I do agree that Waverlys are the best thing going but they do not make a 3-on-a-plate set and I wanted to keep that style on the guitar.

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Yeah, I 'defaced' my old Martin which had the 1st year goofy looking Grover 'Butterbean' keys, by refitting it with Stewmac Waverly's that were on these D18's before '66. Couldn't stand looking at them anymore. So I took a hit on the vintage resale value but they are so proportionally prettier.

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Buc good move on those tuners !

What was on the guitar prior, three on a strip Kluson style, or single Gotohs ?

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Unfortunately i don't have any pictures of it handy to share but i replaced the tuners on my J45-TV with a set of nickel waverlys and it looks great.

 

I ordered a set of nickel and ivroid intending to see them in person and then return the set i didn't use. so of course i decided to keep both. i put the nickel ones on my J45 and replaced the worn out set of machines on my norlin hummingbird with the ivroid set. both guitars look great with them. I really prefer the action of the waverlys to others too.

 

there are some very minor marks on the back of my J45 headstock where the factory ones were removed. doesn't bother me. that would be fully covered up with the 3-on-a-side set for sure.

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Cheap compared to what? They are very well made. I do agree that Waverlys are the best thing going but they do not make a 3-on-a-plate set and I wanted to keep that style on the guitar.

 

Hey Buc,..its just my personal opinion but I simply just don't like the quality on these Stew Mac tuners. I think they look "cheap" and are not very accurate as far as tuning goes. I would say however that they are without doubt the closest to period correct looking tuners currently available on a vintage Banner j-45....But is the TV period correct anyway? That's another story....

 

When looking at the various aftermarket tuner options, on a quality top of the line Gibson or Martin (...or a vintage model), think there are better options and for me these will always be Waverley, Tonepros or a new "reliced' set of Kluson...

 

But hey, again, this is just me...different strokes for different folks. It's all good!!!

 

[smile]

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Hey Buc,..its just my personal opinion but I simply just don't like the quality on these Stew Mac tuners. I think they look "cheap" and are not very accurate as far as tuning goes.

 

When looking at the various aftermarket tuner options, on a quality top of the line Gibson or Martin (...or a vintage model), think there are better options and for me these will always be Waverley, Tonepros or Kluson...

 

But hey, that's just me...

 

[smile]

 

[confused][crying]

 

They look pretty damn fine to me Buc...and I'm sure they work just fine too [thumbup]

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I think they look "cheap" and are not very accurate as far as tuning goes. I would say however that they are without doubt the closest to period correct looking tuners currently available on a vintage Banner j-45....

 

I agree that they look cheap: they are a reproduction of what was back in the day a very cheap set of machine heads. They're suppose to look like that. They are however very well made, very smooth and tight without any slack in the posts or gears. Time will tell if they are in fact the "cheap" you refer to. If Waverly made a set of 3-on-a-plate machines I certainly would have opted for those. But then again, the Waverlys have a fancy bushing setup on the worm shaft and don't really have the "cheap" look that the Golden Age machines do. I like them on my guitar.....you need not. Peace.

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I agree that they look cheap: they are a reproduction of what was back in the day a very cheap set of machine heads. They're suppose to look like that.

 

..very good point Buc...

 

also,...I'm glad you are having better luck with them than I did and that yours are smooth and tight!

 

[thumbup]

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What was on the guitar prior, three on a strip Kluson style, or single Gotohs ?

 

Factory machines were the 3-on-a-plate style. I like this look on the TV model 45 and the Stew Macs retain that part of the equation. If you're replacing RotoMatics you will need increasing bushings as the headstock hole size is larger. Plus you may have the washer ring mark left on the headstock face as mentioned in another post.

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I agree that they look cheap: they are a reproduction of what was back in the day a very cheap set of machine heads. They're suppose to look like that. They are however very well made, very smooth and tight without any slack in the posts or gears. Time will tell if they are in fact the "cheap" you refer to. If Waverly made a set of 3-on-a-plate machines I certainly would have opted for those. But then again, the Waverlys have a fancy bushing setup on the worm shaft and don't really have the "cheap" look that the Golden Age machines do. I like them on my guitar.....you need not. Peace.

 

 

Buc,

My L-OO Legend has three-on-a-plate open tuners that Gibson apparently has made somewhere to match vintage ones. They are very plain, but they do have a perfect vintage look. I'll post a picture later. Not sure where they came from.

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Factory machines were the 3-on-a-plate style. I like this look on the TV model 45 and the Stew Macs retain that part of the equation. If you're replacing RotoMatics you will need increasing bushings as the headstock hole size is larger. Plus you may have the washer ring mark left on the headstock face as mentioned in another post.

 

....This is also the case with the Tonepros 3-on-a-plate - unfortunately, you would need to do some drilling on your Gibson.

 

I found this out after relicing a set and then found that they actually wouldn't slot in. I ttherefore decided to go for a set of Kluson's and had to relic them as well!!! Would have rather had the Tonepros on the guitar as they are far more accurate tuners than the Klusons...

 

Oh well, I won't be pulling out my drill anytime soon!!!

 

KlusonRelic.jpg

 

DSCN0426.jpg

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I got a question:

 

I always wondered, seems a good place to ask.

 

I don't think I have ever met a guitar that doesn't stay in tune well when tuning UP. Seems even a cheap tuner with lots of 'holes' you feel in the gears will stay put doing it that way.

 

At the same time, if I tune down, it seems even if the tuner is top-notch and it can hold the string tuning DOWN, it doesn't work that well either. Too much other variables, like the slack in the string at the nut or bridge.

 

Am I just lucky? Have I just not noticed a tuner that can't hold it's tune? Or is there something I don't know about some failures in tuners that would cause it to go out?

 

OR...do some poeple actually have success tuning up or down? Are there some guitars that work well doing this?

 

Not trying to be a smart-azz. I might learn something.

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Spot: those look very much like the Golden Age set.

 

Stein: It's always recommended to tune up to pitch rather than down. Tuning down can introduce slack in several places: string wrap on the post, backlash between the worm and gear not to mention frictional tension changes at the nut/string contact. Always tune up to pitch for best results regardless of the quality of the machine head.

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Hmmmmmm....whilst I love open backs these Stew Mac Golden age are pretty cheap tuners. Maybe OK for a Harmony but that beauty deserves better IMO.

 

I'd go with a set of Waverely's,....the best open backs money can buy!

 

I must disagree. The Golden Age tuners aren't the least bit "cheap." They are actually quite smooth and tune with great accuracy. And this is coming from someone who also owns a guitar with Waverlys on it, so I think I know a good tuner when I see one. I've had a set of Golden Age Restoration tuners on my J-45 for a couple of years and and they work great and have never caused one bit of problem -- and they look period-correct.

 

If you don't like the look of them, that's a matter of taste and you're entitled to that opinion, no matter how wrong it is. But don't call them "pretty cheap tuners" because they're not. When you have guys like Frank Ford singing your praises, you know you're on to something.

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I got a question:

 

I always wondered, seems a good place to ask.

 

I don't think I have ever met a guitar that doesn't stay in tune well when tuning UP. Seems even a cheap tuner with lots of 'holes' you feel in the gears will stay put doing it that way.

 

At the same time, if I tune down, it seems even if the tuner is top-notch and it can hold the string tuning DOWN, it doesn't work that well either. Too much other variables, like the slack in the string at the nut or bridge.

 

Am I just lucky? Have I just not noticed a tuner that can't hold it's tune? Or is there something I don't know about some failures in tuners that would cause it to go out?

 

OR...do some poeple actually have success tuning up or down? Are there some guitars that work well doing this?

 

Not trying to be a smart-azz. I might learn something.

 

This is a common problem, and is the reason you always tune up to pitch, rather than down. If you think about it, when you tune up, the increasing tension is applied right at the string post. Even with a poorly-fitting nut, the increased tension over that short string span is likely to pull the string through the nut, although a string "popping" up to pitch is a dead giveaway of a poorly-fitting nut.

 

Not necessarily so when tuning down. You are easing the tension above the nut, and friction at the nut may prevent the string tension from equalling out below the nut--at least until you play or pull the string. It's also true that the "lash" (slack) in the tuner gear engagement may mean that the loading inside the tuner itself does not immediately equalize when you slack the string. Lash is essential in any gear engagement, or the friction will be so great that the gears will not turn without a lot of resistance, particularly when loaded.

 

I could give you a sailing analogy which won't mean much to a lot of people here. When you wrap a line around a winch and grind on it (tension it), the load is transferred instantly to the line on the "load" side of the winch. If you want to ease off the tension in the line, you frequently have to take a couple of wraps of the line off the winch drum, or there will be too much friction for the line to run out.

 

I realize this all may sound a bit incoherent, but I suspect you will get the general idea.

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