Bass Tuning Gears

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by aborg1, Nov 18, 2013.


  1. aborg1

    aborg1

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Is there ill effects in using thin star lock washers to tighten bass tuners ?
  2. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

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    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    Other than the star washers biting into the wood, probably not.
  3. Grissle

    Grissle

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    May 17, 2009
    If the wood is already a bit wonky or stripped than it won't help any though.
  4. Lownote38

    Lownote38

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    Aug 8, 2013
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Why are you wanting to do that?
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  6. aborg1

    aborg1

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Just concerned that the tuning does not stay locked in longer. Just fishing for more live ( user ) input. I have a few basses that the tuning stays locked for a long time. This is a new Marcus Miller Japanese 5 string and I'm probably just being to critical, the temperature is fluctuating more here lately, I can't tell what brand of strings they are, but they sound killer and smooth ( not flats, compression ) think they are probably eastern block strings. I'm leaning more towards the nut is not right.

    Thanks for the repiles.
  7. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

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    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    Oh. You probably should have mentioned what the issue was sooner.

    All quality tuning keys have a tension adjustment. On cast "Y" keys it's typically at the center of the top edge of the key. On elephant ears, I think it's at the base of the shaft the key is attached to (can somebody back me up on this? I don't use that style).

    So it sounds like you don't need a star washer at all.
  8. 96tbird

    96tbird This Indian movie is really boring man. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada
    Hipshots have tension setting screws in the shaft bearing blocks. Vintage style you tighten the big screw on the spur gear.

    I hope to always tune UP to pitch. That ensures you leave no slack in the gear set.

    Btw, the "Eastern block" hasn't existed for a couple of decades.
  9. aborg1

    aborg1

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Okay guys I appreciated your input and comments. My shade tree mechanic mentality is always leaning towards the ( lock washer ) will tighten anything much better, hence the lock washer query. I'll probably just quit being cheap and have a good local Luther tweaked to all my picky specs.
  10. Grissle

    Grissle

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    FWIW you are right thinking about the nut. Tuning problems are almost always traced back to nut, usually the strings can't move freely enough through it. The tuners are almost never the problem unless something is bent or broken on them.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Those who claim tuners are creeping usually have the strings installed incorrectly. Part two of the solution is usually to tune UP to pitch, not down, eliminating slack in the strings.

    But if tuners are actually loose, the first option is to use the adjustments built in.
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    What brand / type of tuner are we talking about? FWIW, I cannot think of a single incident where a star washer has been utilized to fix a tuner issue which means the problem, in all probability, lies elsewhere.

    Riis
  13. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered thumper Supporting Member

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    MS Gulf Coast

    Not that nut. He's asking about the threaded bushing on the tuner itself. Unless I'm the one who misread...?
  14. Immigrant

    Immigrant

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    Jul 2, 2010
    Location:
    West of Stumptown, USA
    Some basses are more sensitive to temp changes. The tuning goes up when the bass is colder, so the player re-tunes, then the temp warms and tuning drops. I've had a few basses behave like that, mostly Ibby SRs. They are gone. Even the basses I still have do it slightly. It takes only a few seconds to re-tune.

    If you ever notice the tuning is high when the bass is cooler than "before", that's the issue. A tuner isn't going up.
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird This Indian movie is really boring man. Supporting Member

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    Not sure what you're saying in the last sentence there Immigrant... (Para) "if higher ...when cooler ...is an issue" ???

    Cooler=contraction of strings=higher tension=higher pitch. Physics. Therefore higher when cooler is normal.
  16. Immigrant

    Immigrant

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    Location:
    West of Stumptown, USA
    That's exactly what I meant..;)

    Strings get cooler (overnight let's say) so user retunes bass. Later, the ambient temp is 5° higher. Strings warmer, tuning drops.

    The OP mentioned temp changes and I suspect that's half of the problem, not tuner malfunction.

    BTW, I take no offense with being corrected. I'm wrong so often it has no effect on my psyche, and even when I'm right about something I word it in such a way that isn't easily interpreted. :D
  17. Lownote38

    Lownote38

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    Check and see if it's the tuners. Pull up on one of the strings. Does the tuner visibly slip? It shouldn't, and I've never seen it happen unless the tuner is about to break. The adjustments on tuners (screw on top for Y shape and big screw that goes through the gear on vintage type tuners) should be tight, but not too tight. I try to match the tension with those adjustments so that every tuner feels the same when I turn them under tension. It's more likely that your bass is reacting to the temperature changes (as suggested in previous posts). Cold equals sharp, and hot equals flat. That could be the strings not being stretched enough when you put them on, or a fluctuation in the neck (wood contraction/expansion), but I doubt it's the tuners. The strings could get hung up in the nut (as someone else mentioned), and you'll know if that's the case because when you tune, you'll here a "ting" or "pop" sound when the string gets unstuck from the nut slot. A solution for that is just a touch of vasoline.
  18. 96tbird

    96tbird This Indian movie is really boring man. Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Manitoba, Canada
    Immigrant, me too you same as often correction needed clarification.

    Low note, I think the best nut lube is rubbing the slot with a pencil. Vaseline is goop and attracts dirt, while pencil graphite is dry, slick and lasts.
  19. Lownote38

    Lownote38

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    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    On a nut that's white, I prefer not to use graphite as it's dark in color. I only use a very small amount of Vaseline and it's basically the same thing as that product called Nut Sauce (bad name choice, right?). I use a tiny little flat head screw driver (like the ones used for adjusting the frames on a pair of glasses) and apply just a touch of it and have no problems.

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