1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Hipshot Ultralite tuner alignment and asymmetrical headstock

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JES, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    This is my first build.

    I'm attaching ultralites to a Warmoth asymmetrical headstock. I've eyeballed the positions of the tuners, but how would you measure and align the little screw holes for screwing down the tuners so it looks right on the other side? The distances wouldn't all be the same, I don't think. The headstock came predrilled for the bushings.


    tuners back.JPG tuners front.JPG


    PS: I'm following up a question that started on this thread:How to fix very light swirling on new body finish
  2. PDX Rich

    PDX Rich

    Dec 19, 2014
    Portland, OR
    I am sure there are better ways, but taking a small straightedge and drawing lines on the back of the headstock bisecting each hole from the volute to the end should do the trick (tuners off, of course). Then, you'd just rotate until you see the line, ensure they are aligned, and then drill your pilot holes.
  3. Christopher DBG

    Christopher DBG Commercial User

    May 18, 2015
    Westerly, RI
    Luthier/Owner, Christopher Bass Guitar
    I feel like I'm missing something, since I must not understand the question, so why not just tighten down the tuners where they are, and use the largest drill bit that will fit in the little hole to mark where the holes will be, then use a smaller drill bit to drill the holes. Why would they need to look right on the other side? You aren't drilling all the way through.

    Unless you are saying you don't trust your eyeball measurement, and I'd say tighten them down, walk away for a few minutes, take a look again, adjust if needed, repeat a couple times then drill. In instrument building you don't need perfection, just the illusion of perfection.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
  4. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Words I live by!
    Will_White and Deep Cat like this.
  5. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Thanks. I asked because as a first-timer, I don't trust my eye-ball measurement! But maybe I'll take the plunge. Worst case is a few extra holes in the back of the headstock.
  6. Eye ball can be more accurate than measurements. Something (aesthetic) looking right is better than being nominally correct.
    Will_White likes this.
  7. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    There is no illusion, your work IS perfect. I have spoken!

    I'm in the same boat right now about to drill holes for tuners on my Ric build. My paper template is WRONG, tuners either too far in or too far out. The Hipshots have a nice long straight barrel, a Ric headstock with elephant tuners narrows the placement to about 1/8" either way. Couldn't you just draw a centerline on tape on the headstock and sqaure the tuner posts to that?
  8. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    So what I do is create (or copy) dimensionally correct drawings of all the components and place them in dimensionally correct illustrations in Adobe Illustrator, and use that as both a template for cutting the wood, and for drilling the tuner mount holes, and then screw holes.

    smithcreek likes this.
  9. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I thought I had a correct layout by scaling a Ric headstock, glad I checked it, cause it was WRONG! It's all good till you drill the holes.
  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Lining up tuners is one of those jobs where you need to be less of an engineer and more of an artist. It's more important that they look like they are lined up correctly than it is to have them actually lined up to absolute dimensional accuracy. Really. The sweeping curves of the headstock can create optical illusions where precisely aligned tuners look funny. Go with your eyeball, not your calipers. Adjust the tuners so they look good from straight on, 3 feet away. Then mark and drill the holes for the locating holes. And make peace with your inner engineer. In this case, if it looks good, it is good.

    But, you can assist your artistic eyeball by using short rulers and straight edges. For example, hold a ruler across the top surfaces of that tuner key and look at it from arm's length. Look at how the ruler is aligned with the lines and features of the headstock, from the distance. Extending the line like that with the ruler allows you better comparison of it to its surroundings. An old artist's trick that they don't teach in engineering school.
    JES and Planespotter like this.
  11. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Thanks. This is brilliant advice and exactly what I needed.
  12. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 8, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.