Installing Tuner Bushings

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by comicbookguy95, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. Howdy guys!

    I need some advice on a project I've got going. I bought a Mighty Mite neck, some used tuners, and a set of Fender bushings. I've never done anything like this before and would LOVE some pointers. I'm thinking of using a big C clamp to push them in with steady, even pressure using some cloth to protect the bare wood.

    Thanks Everyone!

    Attached Files:

  2. KeddyLee


    Nov 12, 2013
    That is exactly what I have done. I used something called a Quick-Grip. It has rubber cushions on the ends and uses a squeeze clamp. Worked perfectly!
  3. bass_case

    bass_case Maintain low tones. Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Miami, FL
    Depending on the mating surfaces on your c-clamp, it may tend to slip off as you tighten. I used a metal clamp that had a swivel on the screw end so that didn't help. The squeeze type clamps (no turning required) would be better. Also, you need to protect the wood on the back and the ring in front. I used a socket (3/4"?) over the ring.

    There is some variation in diameter of these, I had enlarge the neck holes with my Dremel.

    Do a search, this has been covered before and someone posted how-to pictures.
  4. bass_case

    bass_case Maintain low tones. Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Miami, FL
    No, use another piece of wood, cloth may not protect the neck and will give to much.
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If firm finger pressure or a few light taps with a rubber mallet can't get the bushing into the hole enlarge the hole slightly.
  6. Huge

    Huge Hell is full of musical amateurs. Like me.

    Dec 2, 2005
    Here's a video detailing the entire tuner install:

    EDIT: The guy in video does use a clamp to get the bushings in.
  7. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Here's a trick I learned from a wonderful luthier. Get a thick bolt with a matching large wingnut, a thin piece of felt (like a drummer would use on a cymbal stand) and two huge washers. Place the bushing in the hole. Put one of the big washers on top of it, and one on the other side of the headstock with the piece of felt between the washer and the back of the headstock. Put the bolt through and screw on the wingnut. When it gets too tight to turn by hand, attach a pair of vice grips to the wingnut, turn the wingnut, and watch that bushing slowly sink into the tuner hole. It's the easiest (and cheapest) trick to complete the task while keeping the bushing straight. With this method, you're pulling the bushing in instead of trying to push it in.
  8. hotrodjohn

    hotrodjohn Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    That's awesome physics, but i think i would still get out a dremel and enlarge the hole a bit. I would be afraid of splitting the headstock.
  9. I found a video in another thread of a guy doing basically the same thing but with a nut, bolt, and two wrenches. I think I'm gonna try that method first. (And wax the crap out of the bushings)
  10. pfox14


    Dec 22, 2013
    Can't you just tap them in with a non-marring dead blow mallet?
  11. ponticat

    ponticat Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    Alexandria, Virginia
  12. Probably but the bushings fit a bit tighter than that and I'm more of a slow and steady wins the race kinda guy.
  13. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I've never had that happen. If I have to enlarge the hole a bit, I use hand tools (files or sand paper wrapped around a dowel).
  14. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Waxing will help, but I've found that the bushings are pretty hard and won't get any marks on them if you put the wingnut (or regular nut) on the back of the headstock. That way the washer touching the bushing doesn't turn.
  15. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    They might go in crooked that way if they are a tight fit (which they should be so they stay put), and then they won't be flush all the way around the outer edge of the bushing when you get them in. I've seen that happen on countless Fender basses.
  16. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    No! There are a number of threads here where guys split their heads doing that. Press them in after you ensure the holes are big enough to allow them. Pressing them in will let you feel if they are binding and the hole needs to be bigger.
  17. I have put the bushings in the freezer for an hour. Taken out of freezer and gently tapped into place. Gently. And dry them off first.
  18. Thanks for all the help and discussion guys! I initially tried the nuts and bolts method but found the C clamp to be the easiest. Each bushing got a tad caddywampus a time or two but all ended up flush and tight.


    Now on to the tuner installation......
  19. elBandito


    Dec 3, 2008
    Rotten Apple
    Bought one of those from home depot. Worked much better than trying to hammer it in!