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Cheapest custom tuners?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by shai-ga, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    Have you ever designed or used anything other than regular market tuners?

    Im thinking of combining an m10 socket screw with two nuts - one for movement, sinked in epoxy, and another one for lock down.

    Of course its not user friendly, beacuse you have to use an allen wrench and a key to tune a string and lock it.

    Photos of first try will be here soon!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2016
  2. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    Here is the design.

    I will have one nut fully inserted, fixed with epoxy around it, and the locking nut with half of its body in the cavity, just enough to have access to it with a key.

    The screw itself is M10X30 (10 mm thick - 3/8", 30 mm long - 1 3/16"), very sturdy, with 3mm through hole at the bottom of the conical sink, as a string anchor and breaking point.

    All you need to do is to tune a string, using an allen wrench, then lock the screw with the bottom nut.

    You have two factors of locking - the misalignment of the adjacent nuts, when fully closed, keeping the screw from moving, and the friction between them which keeps the whole system rigid.

    This is going to be used on an experimental stand up fretless.
    Will_White likes this.
  3. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    So you have a bolt with a hole drilled through it that you put the string through, that bolts goes into a nut thats embedded in the headstock, you then tighten the bolt with an allen key tuning the string as it goes around the bolt, once it gets up to pitch you tighten a second nut on the back side of the headstock that locks the bolt in place, is that correct? Seems like tightening the second nut while holding the string at pitch might be a little bit difficult but otherwise it's a good idea, looking forward to seeing how this works out for you.

    I missed your first post, there's a number of people on here using headless tuners designed by @michaelwayneharwood, and I'm planning on using tuners based off of that design in a few builds next year.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  4. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    Yes, perfectly described.

    The m10 screw is wider than a normal tuning post, so a tiny movement will have a negligible effect on the tuned note. (I hope)

    Plus it looks "musical", Unlike a normal construction screw.
    Will_White likes this.
  5. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    The complete instrument will look like this.
    And since I have no neck pocket or control cavity (mag pickup directly to jack, no controls) it will happen very fast.

    So you can see I dont have much room for tuners up there.

    Attached Files:

    Will_White likes this.
  6. Kamatori


    Jan 20, 2012
    I think the tiny movement will have a significant pitch different. With my experience with cellos, which have a simple peg and hole design with close to a 10mm peg, a tiny nudge can equate to two semitones. The fact that the m10 is wider than a normal tuning post doesn't really apply because regular posts have gear reduction, which when done with worm gears also function to lock the tuners via a change in direction of motion. There has to be a reason that even upright basses use a gear+worm gear combo.

    One problem I can spot with what you came up with is that detuning requires a wrench, but the locking nut can be replaced with a knurled nut or winged nut. Another problem is vibrations could loosen the lock nut, perhaps use a nylok nut?

    That said, someone has fashioned some bass tuners using quick releases from a bicycle so your idea isn't too off the mark.

    rojo412 likes this.
  7. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    Thats scary man.
    Thanks for the info! Im sure going to update when I start using these parts, and changes will be made
  8. michaelwayneharwood

    michaelwayneharwood Builder of the Wastelands Commercial User

    May 1, 2014
    Owner Melodious Resonance Constructs
    The least expensive system I have used is piano pin tuners for use in headless systems, and considering it's a 1-1 tuning system it is similar to your system. The greater diameter of the system you are planning on using will help some with fine tuning aspects, but expect it to have a learning curve if you have no experience with tuning zithers, harps, pianos, or other systems that use a 1-1 turn ratio. My suggestion would be to use a longer handled wrench - the longer the handle the more control you have over fine tuning. Here are a few of my builds that use the tuners:

    Piano Pins as Tuners for Headless Bass?
    Lady 5Jane - Headless, Fretless 5 String Prototype (With Piano Pins)
    $100 Bass Challenge - Nucifera (The Violent Squirrel)

    My custom designed headless system cost me about $15 per tuner to have machined, but I had to order close to 100 of them to get that price. You can see the details of that system here.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
    shai-ga likes this.
  9. shai-ga


    Dec 31, 2006
    Holon, Israel
    Yeah I just did a test on my gotoh 20:1 tuner, and I see that a quarter of a turn on the handle gives a "visible" movement on the pole, so maybe I should just get a long allen key like you said, to work with bigger arcs.

    Costs of this system are $2 total :D

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