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Sperzel locking tuners.. help!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Dave Siff, Sep 25, 2000.

  1. My refurbished Carl Thompson now has Sperzel locking tuners on it. I owned a Carvin from '93 to '95 that had these, but I can't recall the proper stringing procedure. When I talked to Carl, he told me to look at how he had the bass strung before I changed strings. He had about two wraps around the post on each string, with the cut-off end curled underneath. I thought with the Sperzels, you threaded the string through the hole, locked it down, cut it so there was about an inch left sticking out, and then tuned the string. Is this wrong? Because when I put a new E string on my bass, I barely turned it at all, much less got a wrap around the post, before it was already at pitch.
    Any help here would be much appreciated.
  2. Dave,

    sounds pretty much like I do it. Except you probably don't have to leave a whole inch sticking out - maybe just enough so the locking mechanism has something to grab - quarter of an inch or so.

    Also remember to leave enough slack BEFORE the tuner so you can get at least one full wrap around the tuning peg. Two might even be a good idea because if that little dial thing in the back ever loosens, it'll just operate like a regular tuner.

    Do they still make them for bass? I was told a while back they were discontinued. Guitar only. :confused:
  4. I leave some slack for about two turns around the post and cut the string flush with the post. About an inch past the post would also be good.
  5. Carl.. how do you leave slack? Does this mean to not pull the string taut before locking the tuner? Because once you cut the string, all that's left is what's before the tuner.. help!
  6. Dave -

    Do not pull the string taut through the tuner before locking it. Leave enough string between the Sperzel and bridge to give yourself at least one full wrap around the post (2 is better, IMO). When I first got Sperzels, I did what you used to do, pulled the string tight, tightened up the wheel in back and tuned to pitch. Problem was that sometimes the damn string (particularly the G in my case) would slip a bit that way. One turn will most likely cure this, two will DEFINITELY cure it :D. Hope that helped...
  7. how do you leave slack? Does this mean to not pull the string taut before locking the tuner? [/B][/QUOTE]

    Exactly. Leave it a little loose before locking it down. Oh yeah, the other thing you can do is lock the string down, tune it up making sure you have at least one wrap, and THEN cut the excess. That way you can fix it insttead of wasting a string by cutting it too short.

  8. Thanks guys!!
  9. Dave,

    You can calculate how much string is needed for each turn around the post pretty easily - Measure the diameter of the post, then multiply by 3 - that should be the extra amount of string required for one turn around the post. For example your tuners are 1/2" in diameter and you want 3 turns of string on your post.

    1/2" x 3 = 1 1/2" x 3 (no. of turns) = 4 1/2" extra

    Add to this the amount needed to lock the string in place and you've got it!
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    4 1/2"?

    I had Sperzels on my Carvin, I always cut them long enough to wrap from the top of the peg to the bottom, just like I did with a non-locking tuner. When I changed strings I used the old string as a guide to the proper length needed.

    I'd never pull them taut, too little margin for error or slippage.
  11. Thanks Brad.. I still haven't quite gotten it right yet, gonna take some experimentation. I'm not a huge fan of these tuners.. certainly, they're easier to use than traditional ones where you have to turn, turn, turn.. but figuring out how to get wraps around the post has been hard. I'll get it eventually.
  12. Brad and the others.. how about this..
    On my Reverends, when I'm replacing the E string, I pull the string taut and cut it at around where the G tuning key is (it's a four-inline headstock).. that's enough for 3 or 4 turns around the post. If I do the same with my Thompson, measure how much string I'll need and cut it BEFORE I thread it through the hole and lock it down, would that work?
  13. You remember your junior high geometry don't you? :)

    Circumference = Pi(3.1416) x diameter


    1/2"(post diameter) x 3.1416 = 1.57" of string per turn on the post

    Multiply that by 3 turns and you have approx. 4.5" of extra string required to make 3 complete turns around the post. I rounded Pi to 3 because of string diameter but it is a small difference.

    Dave confirmed this when he said that he uses his G string post as a guide for where to cut off his E string. I've got a Warmoth neck in front of me that measures about 4.875" between the E and G posts. So shoot me for the extra 3/8"
  14. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Do I remember?...sure I do, Prof. 'Bone:D

    I also remembered that Sperzels don't have a 1/2" diameter post (are you thinking old Fender style tuners? Think smaller, more like 1/2" circumference ;)) That would have to be a pretty "tall" tuner to wrap 4 1/2" of string around it, especially in three wraps. And I'd never shoot the "Bone, even for 3/8 :D

    Dave, are those "big" Sperzels? ;)
    mat b likes this.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That would work, Dave. You can cut it before or after you thread it, it doesn't matter. You could get away with just a couple of wraps around if you wanted. Doesn't your Rev. have big posts on the tuners? If they're as small as the Sperzels, use each string's length past the tuner as a guide. I'd give them maybe three inches past the post and see if the windings ended up at the bottom of the post. If that's too long, cut a little off and try again.

    Hambone's equation is fairly sound but one variable that's left out is string diameter. You can't get the same maximum number of windings around the same size post with a E string that you can get with a G. I think we're thinking too much ;) Three inches ought to give you at least three wraps around the tuner. The good news..once you get it right, you never have to think about it again.
  16. Brad, I only used the 1/2" post figure cuz that's a common size. I have never seen a Sperzel Locking Tuner and don't know it's actual size. It didn't occur to me that an older bass like the CT would have a set of small diameter posts ala Gotoh or something similiar
  17. Thanks again, Brad and Hambone. I'll figure it out. The bass is going back into the shop to have the frets dressed and a bridge pickup installed, so I won't be doing any string changes for a little while.
    The Sperzels are definitely smaller than the tuning keys on my Reverend.. good point, Brad. I'll have to take that into consideration too.
  18. The reason to leave two turns is if you pull the string tight and lock it it will work ok but it could cause string breakage as the string is being pulled against the edge of the hole on the tuner, a little extra length before you lock it lets it wrap around the post and relives this strain. One turn is enough, leaving string sticking out of the post about an inch allows you to replace the string if you remove it and need to put it back. If you put a lot of wraps around the post the tuning is a little less stable as the turns can tighten or loosen. I like my Sperzls but they are hard to find now.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Hambone, I had exactly one bass with Sperzels...they were nice but not nice enough to make up for a generic sounding axe;)

    Most of the high end basses from that era used the small post tuners, like Schallers. I doubt the CT originally had those Sperzels, they came out much later (I think). The Fender tuners, by comparison, looked big and clumsy. Now they just look like tuners (to me), I don't get hung up on that stuff anymore:D My 50's Kay single cutaway semi-hollowbody 4 had smaller posts but nowhere near the quality of the Schallers or Gotohs.
  20. maxoges


    Aug 23, 2000
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Man I just bought a five string stingray and im very pleased with every aspect of it. The other day I noticed my friend who is a guitarplayer was changing strings on his giutar with locked schaller tuners. I thought those would be nice on my bass (of course as bass tuners. I know guitar tuners wouldn't work). Do you know where to buy them or if I would have to drill new holes in the headstock to fit them?

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