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 Post subject: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2019 7:25 pm 
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First name: Ed
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I will be building a small guitar with a Stauffer head and I want a set of planetary tuners for it. From what I read, they give a lot of trouble. This appears to be something new from Gotoh - their SPBJ-4:

https://www.ebay.com/i/292196445100?chn=ps

Has anyone used these on a guitar? I am aware of the new 10:1 gear unit that Frank Ford is involved with and they would be great, but at $287 for 6 of them, they will cost about twice what the rest of the instrument will cost.

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2019 9:17 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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If you are going to use gut or nylon strings you might consider using friction pegs as some flamenco guitars use. They usually use viola pegs, but I have used violin pegs. If properly fitted they work fairly well.
Having made a set of Stauffer style tuners by modifying existing machine heads, I would do that again if I made that style of peghead.
Rather than using mandolin machines as a basis for modification I would use 1/2 a set of six on a plate 12 string tuners of a decent quality (Grovers?). They have the same close spacing as mando tuners, but all six are on the same plate.
I recently ran across a set of old mandolin machines with tiny posts, and it got me to thinking about "ratios" and how the size of the post affects that. The smaller the post diameter the shorter the length of string that wraps around it per revolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 5:40 am 
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First name: Dennis
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Pegheds are the best. They were $120 for a guitar set last time I bought some.

I have one guitar with friction pegs, and I can only recommend them if you plan to keep it in a humidity controlled case all the time. Mine hangs on the wall, and it's a pain if I forget to adjust it right when the humidity jumps up in the spring, and the pegs swell and wedge themselves in the holes. Have to dehumidify it for a day, pull them out, let it reacclimate to high humidity for a day, and then tune the strings back up. Also as the pegs shrink during the autumn humidity drop, you'll often get startled by a string coming loose and making a loud noise :)

But once the humidity is settled, rosewood pegs in a Spanish cedar headstock work in either season. I used to have one with rosewood pegs in Port Orford cedar headstock, and its holes went too far out of round during the summer so some strings would tend to slip.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 7:44 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 10:44 am
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I've used Pegheads for my Flamenco guitar and they work great. I've got a 19th century banjo with friction pegs and like Dennis said they can be a real PIA to deal with.

I am however building a guitar now and will be using the Waverly planetary banjo tuners. I had not heard that there was much issues with planetary so I hope they work out well. They sure do look cool. I've always thought that Gotoh tuners were of good quality. If it was me I'd use 'em.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 7:51 am 
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Cocobolo
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Gotoh also make the UPT planetary tuner, designed for ukes, which are smaller and lighter. They might suit you better. Certainly fine for nylon strings, and I suspect they'd be ok for steel too (but I don't know for sure). They get rave reviews from uke players.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:08 am 
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Before you buy Peghed tuners remember that they're GLUED IN. If you ever need to refinish or do other work on the head you have to get them out with heat or brute force. I've installed them on many guitars at customers' request but would never use them on a guitar for myself I prefer friction pegs (ebony) or standard tuners. The last sets I bought were $140.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 9:47 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I didn't use any glue when I installed them. I didn't like the idea of gluing them in. So I used the proper reamer and as they work now they are sort of half friction / half geared tuners. At first I thought maybe I would jsut try it and see, I could always glue them in later and it has been working like that now for at least 10 years on my flamenco guitar.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:05 am 
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jfmckenna wrote:
I didn't use any glue when I installed them. I didn't like the idea of gluing them in. So I used the proper reamer and as they work now they are sort of half friction / half geared tuners. At first I thought maybe I would jsut try it and see, I could always glue them in later and it has been working like that now for at least 10 years on my flamenco guitar.

Try to get a customer to accept that.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 11:45 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 8:20 am
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"I used to have one with rosewood pegs in Port Orford cedar headstock, and its holes went too far out of round during the summer so some strings would tend to slip."

Stephen Faulk suggested using boxwood bushings around the friction pegs. I installed the bushings by drilling into the face of the peghead with a forstner bit, almost but not quite through the back. I glued in boxwood "rounds" - pieces cross cut from a well dried branch - and then glued on a peghead veneer to hide the bushings completely. The bushings are supposed to slow down the wear that a softer wood (Sp. cedar) would have and make the pegs work better. So far, So good.
Friction pegs are the cheapest option. A decent set of viola pegs would run about $10.But Again this is assuming you are using nylon or gut strings.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 1:02 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 10:44 am
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Location: Virginia
jshelton wrote:
jfmckenna wrote:
I didn't use any glue when I installed them. I didn't like the idea of gluing them in. So I used the proper reamer and as they work now they are sort of half friction / half geared tuners. At first I thought maybe I would jsut try it and see, I could always glue them in later and it has been working like that now for at least 10 years on my flamenco guitar.

Try to get a customer to accept that.


It was just an experiment. The guitar was built for me. Just thought I'd mention it purely out of interest.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 3:44 pm 
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Cocobolo
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First name: Andy
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Cripes. And all this time I thought planetary tuners were those that were in orbit ...


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 7:07 pm 
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I think a lot depends on the nylon/steel string question. Most will work OK with nylon at the typical 4:1 ratio of most banjo style planetary tuners. If your objective is a steel stringed instrument and want to go "planetary", I'd look for tuners with a small diameter winding post on the tuner to help make up for the tuner ratio. I've used Pegheds on banjos and liked them a lot. I used an earlier version that didn't need any glue. But I've heard the revised Pegheds, made easier to install, recommend a small drop of glue to secure. I don't think they need or should have more than a small drop of glue to steady the install, gluing them in with so much glue they would never come out would be a mistake. Kind of like the small drop of glue you might use to hold a nut in place. I think they have too large a diameter tuning post to work well on a guitar with steel strings.

Memory tells me Waverly and Prucha had the narrowest winding posts. I used to have a spreadsheet with diameter measurements but can't lay my hands on it. Been a while since I was more active in banjos. I seem to remember Schallers as being the largest diameter.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 3:53 am 
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Cocobolo
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rbuddy wrote:
I think a lot depends on the nylon/steel string question. Most will work OK with nylon at the typical 4:1 ratio of most banjo style planetary tuners. If your objective is a steel stringed instrument and want to go "planetary", I'd look for tuners with a small diameter winding post on the tuner to help make up for the tuner ratio.


I've used the cheap Chinese banjo planetary tuners on the couple of tenor guitars I've made, and they work adequately enough. The trick is to remember always to tune up - going down they tend to drop the note in increments, rather than smoothly, but tuning up works fine and they hold tune well.

Even friction tuners can work - my tenor banjo has 1920s metal friction tuners with small pegs, and although it's finicky to tune (but it's a banjo :) ) it holds well also. Adding crinkle washers to metal frictions makes things smoother.

But with both planetary and friction tuners, there's a need to learn tuning technique. OTOH they look much better on some instruments, and of course you can throw away that string winder because of the 1:4 or 1:1 ratio!


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 6:31 am 
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First name: Ed
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So does anyone have an opinion about the Gotoh SPBJ-4? I will use them on a steel 6-string guitar. Any one maker better than others?



Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 8:19 am 
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Walnut
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First name: Brian
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Ed, I haven't used the Gotoh banjo tuners. But I've been hanging out in banjo circles for at least a decade. In that environment the Gotohs are highly regarded and probably the most often recommended replacement, upgrade or new banjo tuner out there. Known for quality, price and smoothness.

Whether you will like or love them on a steel string guitar is hard to say as it is an alternate use to that intended.

I'd call Bob Smakula - http://www.smakula.com/nbp.html and ask his opinion. Good guy and very experienced in banjos and guitars, construction and repair.

He will be able to give you a quality opinion on the Gotohs on a guitar.


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 6:01 pm 
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Thanks r

Just what i need - I have written him

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Planetary tuners
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 8:02 pm 
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Cocobolo
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I use a lot of the Gotoh UPTs for my ukuleles. They are very robust and trouble free. I use Pegheads too but they are more finicy. You can get UPT in a longer post which would be better for guitars I would think. They are 4 to 1 which I find very nice as you don't need to crank a million turns and at the same time geared enough to tune easily. The least expensive place to purchase the Gotoh UPTs I have found is from https://www.theukulelesite.com .

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