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Rosewood Tuners

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by JayR, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. JayR


    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    My bass is a 2004 Bjorn Stoll Meisterwerk Dresden, and I love the damn thing. However, it came with rosewood tuners, which, cosmetically, are quite pretty and initially didn't cause me any problems, but in the last year or so I've had an ever-increasing problem with them sticking like mad. It's gotten to the point lately where it takes me FOREVER to tune the instrument. I'll go to turn a peg and it will stick, not budge, and then when it does, it will over-shoot the string nearly a quarter-step past where it needs to be, forcing me to drop it back under pitch and start all over.

    Is this a common issue with wood tuners? It would stand to reason that there would be some issue with the wood of the tuners expanding/contracting vs the wood of the pegbox, but to this degree?

    Has anyone else ever encountered this problem, and if so, do you have any tips how I could fix this? It's getting to the point where I'm tempted to just take the damn things out and put metal tuners in.
  2. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm no a qualified luthier, and I'm sure one will chime in soon enough but...

    I don't have much experience with basses that have wooden tuners.. I know rosewood is a softer wood than ebony, so it could be that there are points on the tuner that are getting indented, and whatever it is that is doing this is in turn getting stuck in the tuners, thus preventing it from turning freely.
  3. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Perhaps there is something that can be used to lube up your pegs? There must be some kind of oil or wax that can fix you right up. Luthiers, where are you?
  4. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
    I have never used wooden tuners, so I hesitated to extend an idea...I can certainly empathize with your frustration, though.

    Can you see what is actually sticking? It would seem to me that a small amount of candle-wax, judiciously placed (possibly even dripped in), might make an end of the sticking. Paraffin lubricates pretty well, and won't soak in. I have successfully used soap to lubricate wood, but it could prove problematic, as it may attract moisture. In the application where I used it, it worked perfectly, totally eliminated the squeaks, and the mess factor simply didn't matter...nor did any consideration of hygroscopicity.

    You are pretty close to the ocean there-- is it humid? Could it simply be that the wood of both pegbox and tuners is soaking up moisture, and tightening the joint?
  5. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The tuners and the pegbox are probably shrinking at different rates as they age.

    If you were my customer I would probably take the tuners off and dress the pegs and holes as necessary, lube them with paraffin wax as suggested by Chet and re-assemble.

    They will need a little more maintenance than metal gears but their light weight and sheer beauty make them very desirable. :)

    Call your local luthier...........
  6. check to make sure the peg is tight in the gear assembly and moves in unison w/ machines...often there is lash between worm gear and the ring gear.. not much you can do about that... but it will amplify the movement if the pegs are stiff in the box and are loose in the machines .the good thing about hatpegs is they can be fitted nicely to each individual hole..(and taper if any). you can do if you're "handy" check your pegs one at a time. rosewood is up for the task..i just replaced very old ill fitting painted pine pegs (pop,snap ,creak) w/ some osage orange i turned oversize and fit individually(all four holes were different dia.)...lubed w/ beeswax..nice,neat ,clean,...effective. ;)

    ps bad idea going to metal..you'll be bushing the holes..
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Never had a problem. I believe what you have is easily fixed.
  8. JayR


    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks for the input, everyone. The wax idea seems sound. I'm gonna try to squeeze my way into LA Bass Works sometime in the next month or so if Lisa has any openings.

    PS: Don, that is a really gorgeous scroll. The tuning mechanisms are the same make as mine but the pegs themselves on mine aren't nearly that pretty. Wow.

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