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Enlarging tuner holes?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Razor, Oct 15, 2003.


  1. Razor

    Razor

    Sep 22, 2002
    Dallas
    This is actually two questions...bear with me.

    When speaking in terms of diameter of most common sized tuner holes in a bass headstock...am I correct to understand that there are only 9/16 and 11/16? If there are more...are the previously mentioned the most common? I have several different basses and most have the original, large Fender type "elephant ear" tuners which are large. However I also have several which have considerably smaller tuner heads/holes.

    I was wondering if there are any major issues with enlarging the holes for tuning machines. I have a jazz bass with small holes and I would like to enlarge them to accept the larger machines. This is a traditional Fender type headstock and the bass is 34" scale. Any opinions?
     
  2. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    You probably only need to enlarge the hole starting on the face of the headstock, and only as deep as the bushing is tall. Make sense? For example, if your tuner bushing is 5/16" tall, that's how far into the tuner hole you go. No need to enlarge the entire distance since post sizing shouldn't be an issue, as long as your bushing is a tight fit.

    I did this once by attaching a strip of 80 grit to a socket on a driver that was chucked into the power drill.:eek: The socket just did fit into the tuner hole, and by going in only so far and checking the progress constantly, I got it there. Cleaned it up, perfect fit. (I've since discovered mini drum sanding arbors, rotary rasping/grinding bits, and the like)

    I wouldn't recommend this, though, unless you're completely confident holding a running power tool anywhere near your instrument. Rounding out the hole too much could spell disaster. 1/8" makes a lot of difference. I'm just crazy like that.

    Got a local luthier you can check with?

    -RH
     
  3. Razor

    Razor

    Sep 22, 2002
    Dallas
    Yeah I'm good with tools and your suggestions make sense. My main concern was that the larger hole might not be forgiving of the string tension.
     
  4. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    My guess is that going from 9/16" to 11/16" tuner mounting holes is not going to compromise the structural integrity of a headstock whatsoever.

    The only issue is keeping the holes round and within the measurement, both of which can be a bit tricky, depending on how you do it.

    -RH