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Installing tuners (the blasted little screws!!)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by gregmon79, Mar 28, 2014.


  1. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    What is the best way to install tuners onto a brand new neck with no holes? I'm trying to tap the screws in a bit to get a starter hole and then screwing them in. I've tried manually and with a drill. Either way, this is a very tedious and difficult process. I'm stripping the heads. What is the best way to get these screws in without stripping them? I'm using two different screw head sizes too, first a sharp one, I figured that was the way to go. But I soon realized that's why I was stripping them. So I stopped and went to a size up. Worked better but I can't get the leverage I need get the screws going. There's got to be an easier way!!!! Please help me.
     
  2. Igor Porto

    Igor Porto

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    Don't do that! You're going to either strip the heads or break it, and will be a pain to remove.

    You have to drill a hole first, then screw it in to thread it.

    For regular tuners like Hipshot and Gotoh, NOT Fender style, usually it's a 1/16" (1,5mm) drill. For Fender style tuners, it's a bit larger, but I'm not sure (around 3/32" or 2mm).

    You have to measure the screw diameter with calipers to be sure.
     
  3. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Thank you!! That's all I needed to know. I feel kind of silly for asking. But then again, after the first one went in, totally stripped (I'll have to replace that one) and a second one going in the exact same way as the first, I stopped. I figured I may as well sound stupid than DO something stupid. Thanks again.
     
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    Like Igor said, you need to drill a pilot hole for the screw slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw. Then you want to lubricate the screw, there are a few ways to do this. Personally I use a little paste wax, but you can also scrape the tip of the screw across a piece of bar soap or a candle. They will go in very easily if you follow these steps.
     
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  6. Igor Porto

    Igor Porto

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    Good to know you stopped before something went too bad.

    Hopkins gave a good tip on the wax.

    I've been using stainless steel screws for tuners for the past years. Much better and don't strip or break. I just throw away the screws that come with the tuners, they are very cheaply made and soft.
     
  7. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    God you ain't lyin about them being soft and cheap screws. Thanks for the tips guys, it'll really help. I knew I was doing wrong. Fail. Big time.
     
  8. tdogg

    tdogg Supporting Member

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    Where are you buying your screws? If you don't mind sharing...
     
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    They aren't really soft. They are very small and simply cant handle a lot of torque
     
  10. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    I'm using the screws provided with the tuners.

    Hopkins, that makes sense. They seem really soft for as easy as the strip. But when you think about how small they are, I can see that.
     
  11. Igor Porto

    Igor Porto

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    Hopkins, compared to stainless steel, they are soft. And stainless steel isn't even a hard steel, compared to the steel used on quality wrenches and drivers, like 8650.

    I can guarantee that the stainless ones can handle more torque and are difficult to strip. So the conclusion is that the others are indeed, soft.

    I've seen stripped heads on those screws my whole life as a luthier (past 17 years). People will either use wrong size drivers or try what the OP did. :D

    TDOGG, I buy them in Brazil (I live here) from a luthier supply company. They're OEM, so I don't know what brand.

    Stew Mac used to carry them, but they're discontinued.

    If you Google, you can find them, not necessarily in guitar parts suppliers:

    http://www.mcmaster.com/#92470a097/=rb0hft

    http://rtlfasteners.com/Merchant2/m...Code=677-50&Category_Code=SS1&Product_Count=5

    http://www.greenboatstuff.com/ststtytascpa.html

    http://gatelatchusa.com/ss_pan_head_tapping_screws.html

    In all cases, the wise thing to do, is to use a tap with the correct thread to open the threads in the wood first, made with very hard tool steel, then drive the screws.
     
  12. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    The wrong screw driver will strip them every time. Using the correct tools, drilling pilot holes, and lubricating the screws, I have never had a problem with the screws included with the tuners.
     
  13. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Thank you very much for the info and guidance Igor, it will most def come in handy. I'm such a dunce sometimes. But I learn better through screwing up at something like this first.
     
  14. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

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    The stock Hipshot anchor screws are perfectly suitable. Add the correct PH screwdriver tip, properly drilled pilot hole, and a bit of paraffin and all will be well. Deviation from procedure will result in failure / breakage.

    Riis
     
  15. Toolmybass

    Toolmybass Supporting Member

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    You may also want to put some tape on the drill bit to mark the depth you want to go. Helps you from drilling too deep or shallow!
    eg:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Beej

    Beej

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    Igor, this is appreciated, but you are arguing another side of the same coin. "softness" is relative of course. In addition, there are dozens of grades of stainless steel with a variety of specialized applications, not all stainless is created equal.

    My point is that choosing a "stronger" metal for a screw is helpful, but the best thing a person can do to address the particular problem of breaking those tiny screws is to pre-drill the hole, and lubricate the threads of the screw. For most builders and DIYers, this will be the best solution.

    Stainless will improve, but it's not necessary to take this step in order to achieve the goal...
     
  17. Igor Porto

    Igor Porto

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  18. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Yeah, my girl just suggested that. She's pretty good with that kind of stuff surprisingly. I got a few sized drill bits and I'm going to try the smallest one first. The next size up is a 1/16 so I think I'm good. The hardware store didn't carry screws that small. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
     
  19. Dragan

    Dragan

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    I should seen this picture before I drilled my ex '83 Fender P headstock like cheese...
     
  20. gregmon79

    gregmon79 Supporting Member

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    Well, I got the tuners, neck, sting trees and strings on. I looks and plays great!!!! I don't even think I'm going to have to adjust the truss rod, I can't believe it. I'll have to wait and see how the neck settles after the strings have been on and tuned for a day or two, make sure it doesn't need adjusting after it all settles in.

    So, I've tried the water thingy decal. It didn't work at all. There's either not enough finish on the bass for the glue to set, or I'm just that bad at these things. I followed the directions to the T though so I have no clue what I did wrong. What would you guys go with?? I mean for a fender decal to put on the headstock. One that will stay. For the remainder.
     
  21. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    The decals are a pain, use hot soapy water, and wet the headstock as well before you apply it. Then push any curled up spots back down with a damp paper towel.
     

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