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Need to replace my machines :/

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Mr. Moustache, Oct 5, 2008.


  1. I'm a rookie double bass player, switched from electric onto it about 6 months ago with my friend's bass. It's made of spruce and has a pretty good resonance, so I figured I'd buy it and upgrade all the hardware on my own when I needed to.

    I basically got everything fixed or replaced except for my machines, and now the D-string piece is completely bent and out of place. Any recommendations for a good solid 4 string tuning machine set? I can't afford any more than $200 for a whole set, so I'm hoping there's something reliable that's not pushing my price range. Help?
     
  2. I'm currently looking at Tyrolean style machines.... I'm just wondering if anybody can warn or advise about these machines or others? I don't want to have to deal with the tuning crisis I have now again anytime soon.
     
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Rule of thumb for machines is that the less weight the better. The more weight, the cheaper. Tyroleans are heavy. Don't forget the install cost can be a little bit of $$$ if the screw holes are different. Talk to a luthier as you will need them to install it for you, especially if the new pegs don't fit. $200 might not be enough even with chinese made tyroleans considering any install costs. I'd consider trying to get what you got fixed if you're on the cheap.

    You might be able to DIY but it's a risky venture if you don't have any woodworking skills as it's quite easy to **** up drilling holes.
     
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    It sounds like your tuners are repairable. Don't quote me, I mean I haven't even seen a photo, but DB machines are very durable. Show it to a competent repair person before you get carried away.

    And of course the problem with new ones is not the screw holes which are easy but the shaft holes which are not! =)
     
  5. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    Can you explain the logic behind this? I've seen some very high end basses with massive machined gears and shafts, as well as some with the lighter wooden shafts. Both expensive.
     
  6. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Most of that comes from reading in the past here. Lighter weight stuff was always preferred. Traeger says the same. Something about reducing the amount of mass on top improves the sound, but you can't remove too much like lopping the scroll off. Just look at the pricing... the less metal there is, the more expensing things get. They might look massive but you're also paying in terms of fine tuning and better quality metals/materials. The Sloane machines are very minimal and they're also some of the most expense at $600 a set. Personally, I have the hots for some hat pegs myself and the good ones don't come cheap.
     
  7. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Hdiddy, and anyone else with a "hatpeg hankering,"

    My current bass has hatpeg tuners and I find them to be a mixed bag. Yes they are light and that does have an affect sound. Whether that is "good" or "bad" seems to vary from bass to bass, player to player. Yes, they look sort of cool and "vintage."

    On the other hand, they are a coarser action than many metal machines and tend to stick and creak. It is not a fine, controlled action. All in all, I find them less pleasant to use for their actual function; tuning the bass.

    A cruder experience, overall. Plus, you can easily knock the side of your head on them...which isn't so good unless you like that sort of thing...:)

    Unless you've owned a bass with hatpegs before, you might try to play, tune, and retune a bass with those tuners, before you buy them
     
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Eric, when setting up a bass with hat pegs I usually wax the wooden friction surfaces to stop the sticking. Works well on metal shafts too! :)
     
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Dude.... I know they're less practical with how light metal machines can get these days, but it looks so freaking cool! :p
     
  10. I can understand the lighter the better concept. I saw some ebony pegs available for $275, though I'll have to save for another week if I want to get those ones :/

    As for the pegs I have right now, they look like there are almost too short to properly reach across the inside of my headstock, so they really only have support from one side and the string tension is pulling them out of shape.

    Anyways, I'm taking in my bass this weekend to get the fingerboard shaved and a new bridge as well, so I'll have the luthier check out my machines as well and see what he says. Personally, I just dislike them because the E and G turn easily and make tuning a breeze, while me D and A have spots where they refuse to move, unfortunately right around where I need them to be tuned. I'm leaning towards the ebony at this point, but if anybody has any links to a website with good tuning machines available please send it my way! (though I definitely can't be spending $600 dollars...)
     
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I think the labor for tuning machines install is $300-350 by itself or somesuch.
     
  12. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Again, if a person hasn't owned or dealt with the ebony tuners, it may be a good idea to check out the way they work, for a while, before you commit.

    Thanks, Jake, I did the wax thing. And the graphite thing. And the wax and graphite thing. And the soap thing. They all work temporarily.

    Bottom line, for me is:

    - after awhile, even if one can get them working smoothly for a bit, they start to grab and squeak again.

    - the gear ratio is simply coarser (less precise) than most metal tuners I have seen/used. So tuning is less exact, requires more effort, time, going too far in either direction, etc. (and no, I am not tone deaf...:))

    - it really is a drag to bonk your temple on them (D'oh...).

    So for me, since I am more interested in playing the bass than in looking at it, I find the hatpegs to be a mixed bag, in terms of pure function. Yeah, mock-vintage/cool in appearance, but not nearly as sweet-working as the Sloane or K.C. strings machines. One of those brands, I believe (I am not sure which), can be ordered with aluminum spindles, to reduce the mass.

    A search would yield the results, either here or on Ken Smith's site. We are walking well-trod ground, explored by better minds than mine, anyway...

    I am also aware that Chuck Traeger recommends wooden hat pegs repeatedly in his book, talking about how they MAY improve a specific bass' sound. And yes, I am somewhat aware that they change the vibratory tone of the neck/scroll assembly.

    There is, I believe, a bit more to the whole thing than just how they look. That is my limited experience.
     
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Okay, cool, they don't rock your world - I'll give you fifty bucks for them! :D

    Eric, I am consumed by hat peg lust - I am happy to help you get them off your bass.........and I'm too short for them to hit me in the head :)
     
  14. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    :p :p

    Maybe I could hook up some smallish come-alongs in their place. This might go well with my Marvin tailpiece...:)
     

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