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!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

"Sting" bass owners, is this normal?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by f.c.geil, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    I just got another Sting bass (replacement), and this one has the same issue as the first, namely seemingly poorly installed tuning machines. They are warped and not flush with the headstock. See images below. Is this an issue, or is it possibly normal? I love the way these basses sound, and otherwise build quality on them seems first rate. I don't want to put more money into a brand new $900 bass, so new tuners and/or luthier work is out of the question. If this will cause problems, I'll send it back (again), but if not, I may just keep it as is. So, will this cause problems, or is it okay? Is it what I should expect on these? If you need other pictures, please tell me what you need, and I'll strive to get you what you need to better diagnose this.

    Thanks so much for your help!


  2. M.R. Ogle

    M.R. Ogle Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Mount Vernon, Illinois
    Backstage Guitar Lab owner
    Weirdly authentic. My old '56 tuners ride the same way.
  3. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Wow, thats wild! It looks like Fender is failing to drill relief for the tuner clips on the back of the tuners. It' a pretty simple 1/2 hour job for your local repairman. (Shouldn't cost more than 50 bucks really.) The tuners need to be removed & 2 shallow holes drilled for each tuner. Weird that this isn't being done at the factory.
  4. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Thing is, the longer the tuners are on there the more chance they will warp a little & be tricky to straighten out.
  5. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    That's taking "period correct" to a whole new level.

    It can't be good for tuning accuracy, but then those tuners aren't exactly models of precision craftsmanship anyway.

    If they're binding or working worse than your typical bent-plate MIM tuner in any way, I'd get it looked at. But if they're working OK and you can live with the way it looks, then why not leave it alone?

    From what I hear, a lot of people like those basses.
  6. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    It's normal -- no need to send it back.
    What you're seeing is the way Fender originally installed the Kluson reverse tuners. They did it this way for many years, until around the end of 1964, when they began drilling the two large 'divots' into the headstock to allow the tuner plate to install flat against the headstock.
  7. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Wow. Okay, I had no idea that this was normal or correct. Sweet, I don't have to send it back!
  8. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Those tunera are either defective or have been damaged. Replace.
  9. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    Authentic or not, I wouldn't be happy with this if I were you. I would find it unacceptable.
  10. this is why I don't buy new basses.
  11. Willicious

    Willicious Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Bend, Oregon
    Yep. If it bothers you, you can always drill the divots yourself, or have any competent luthier do it for you. Or, get a set of Gotoh GBR640 Res-O-Lites, which have a smooth backside. A fellow TBer asked me about this issue awhile back. Here's what I sent him, to explain things visually. Hope this helps.

  12. bass_case

    bass_case Maintain low tones. Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Miami, FL
    This is true, I have a 65 P neck which has two shallow countersunk holes per tuner. This would be very easy to duplicate with a drill press, or even a hand drill. If it were mine I'd want them to sit flat, ymmv etc.
  13. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    Well, I just got off the phone with Jordan at FMIC CS. He insisted that vintage tuners fit that way, and that it was correct. Now I'm confused. It seems like nobody actually knows.
  14. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Completely normal, don't sweat it.
  15. Yep, for better or worse it is "period correct". I had a '56 P bass many years ago and the tuners were installed like that. Never caused a problem and I don't see why it should.
  16. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    'Vintage correct'? Yes. Is it necessarily going to cause tuning problems? No. Does it look 'wonky'? Yeah, I think so.

    It really is an easy project with a drill press and a screwdriver to countersink those clip tabs, thus ending up with clean & flush tuners on the back. Mostly a cosmetic mod, but it's certainly not bad to take some unnecessary pressure off the hardware.

    There's no defect here, but those bent tuners dont look 'better' and do nothing for tone or function. On the other hand, eventually they will compress the wood and start laying a tiny bit flatter anyways! (Not all the way, but the wood will give as long as the finish is thin enough...)

    It's a good weekend project and you don't need a "luthier" (oh how that term is over applied, imo) just a repairman or any competent carpenter.
  17. cewillm

    cewillm #1 Adam Clayton fan

    Jan 25, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    It's an easy after-dinner project. Remove all mounting screws, take some black sharpie to the little clip tabs, and loosely re-install the tuners. Now the sharpie will imprint a perfect center mark where you need to drill the countersink divots. Get a drill bit of the right diameter (mentioned upthread), and wrap some scotch tape around the bit to denote the correct divot depth (also mentioned upthread). Then carefully drill into the headstock. The divots don't even need to be perfectly straight. Simple.
  18. Karasu

    Karasu Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2013
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I have a '51 Reissue, a very similar bass, and my tuners don't lay flat, either. I'm leaving them as they are.
  19. f.c.geil


    May 12, 2011
    That is seemingly the majority vote. I guess I'll live with it as is.

    Thanks, all.
  20. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Yup as others mentioned this is totally period correct.

    Your grandpa can easily put divots in for you.
    (for those who's Pops' are still around) :ninja: