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Custom shaped tuning pegs?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by FunkYou, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. FunkYou


    Aug 8, 2009
    United Kingdom
    As a learning project, I'm stripping down and attempting to improve my first bass (an Encore), I've done a custom paint job and a few other things, but I also wanted some interesting tuning pegs. All the ones I can find seem to be clover shaped or t-shaped, is this for any particular reason, and if not, I can do metal work, so would it be feasible to replace the actual peg part of the tuning machine with my own?
  2. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Sure you can! Although advise against doing kitty cats.
  3. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    Most tuning pegs can be taken apart pretty easily. It wouldn't be too hard to replace the part that you turn(not sure what to call it).

    I've seen wooden ones, skulls, all kinds of crazy shapes.
  4. Hi.

    Tradition and ease of manufacturing.

    Cutting the hole for a closed gear tuner is a PITA without the correct tooling, at least for harder materials like brass or steel, but otherwise only Your imagination is the limit.

    I did grind an shatterd end mill shank to correct shape and pressed the oblongish shape onto a pre-drilled peg with a locked milling machine mandrel.

    Rigidity is the key here, as is the alignment, forget bench vises and such.

    If You're replacing an open gear tuners leaf, that's just cutting metal and brazing. Easy as pie.

    Feasibility is another matter, moneywise it probably won't be feasible, but artwise it most likely is.

    OTOH, the peg I made was impossible to find and a whole set of banjo tuners for a Firebird was around 150€ at that time so it was also feasible moneywise for me ;).

  5. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    ^^^This. The Fender type can also be spot welded if you have access to a spot welder.

    The tuning button hole used on closed tuners is referred to as a "double D", a round hole with two flats 180 degs apart. The flats are always on the thin side of the button. That type of button is always die cast or if plastic, injection molded. A double "D" can be made with a properly sized set of custom broaching tools ($$$$$$$$).

    Besides T-Bird's method (congrats on that, BTW) the double "D" can also be cut with a wire cut EDM machine, if you have access to one.

    It can also be made by hand by starting with a hole the diameter of the distance between the flats and using machinist needle files to enlarge and shape the rest of the hole. Be prepared for some long hours of tickey work that may end up less than usable. The shape and length of the hole and the accuracy needed to have a good fit would give a long time tool maker the sweats, especially if they had to make 4 or 5.

    Never tried this on tuners but I'll throw it out there...if you will never want to remove the buttons, you might try drilling the hole the size of the double "D" if it had been a round hole and gluing the buttons on using a metal filled epoxy. The surfaces to be epoxied would need to be thoroughly de-greased and roughed up to give the epoxy a good bite. Allow triple the stated cure time before using. You would want a through fill of the open spaces where the flats are on the shaft. 5 Minute epoxy won't cut it.

    FWIW, the peg is the shaft the string wraps around.

  6. Hi.

    Thanks, appreciated.

    And not to forget the #1 rule...



    Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the brooch I made for the job, it's been about 20 years since I did that particular repair after all ;).

    I was young and anxious as well as can be seen from the coarse grind marks.
    I intended to mirror polish and nickel+chrome plate (DIY style of course) the button, but after two decades it still looks like that :).
    And works like a charm, something that can't honestly be said about the banjo tuners themselves... what a major POS. Do look cool though.

    If it doesn't run...chrome it.


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