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Tuner Attachment Screws

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by mwbrown1977, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I am a fairly new bass owner so please forgive me if I am being overly cautious about this.

    I purchased a second hand Sterling by Music Man Ray 34. It is a fine instrument and I am pleased with its setup and action. However, I noticed the other day that a couple of the screws attaching the tuners to the neck were not flush (meaning not screwed all the way down). So I attempted to tighten them and found that some would not fully tighten. I guess we can say these are stripped. So my question is, on a tuner with four attachment screws how concerned should I be with 1-2 stripped screws? Note that the tuners are currently flat to the neck and not showing signs of moving at the moment. Should I stop being a pussy and just play on? Or should I try some sort of preventative maintenance with a toothpick and wood glue to fortify the holes in the neck?

    Thanks for all input.
  2. I have seen tuners mounted with two actual screws and two dummy screws that are little more than screw heads. Four screws would probably be best, but two is likely the minimum (based on the fact that I have had 30-year-old Japanese basses have tuners still in place held by two screws.)

    You can always do the toothpick trick if you wish, and that's probably not a bad idea. Use a toothpick and white glue, and insert the screw while the glue is fresh.

    One thing to remember is that those tuners are held in place with very small screws, and if you have to install new screws where there are no holes, you MUST drill pilot holes for the screws. If you try to force tiny screws into a hard maple headstock without pre-drilling pilot holes, you'll probably break the screws off. Drill pilot holes AND lube the screws with paraffin or soap before screwing them in.
  3. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    The screws continue to spin, but do not screw all the way down?

    They are either sitting in a shallow stripped out hole, where maybe the hole stripped out
    before they seated completely, or they broke before seating. In that case the tip of the
    screw is down there in the hole, preventing the rest of the screw from entering any further.

    Have you tried to remove the screws? That's what I would do first. See if the screw is
    intact. If so, I would fill the hole, drill a small pilot, and reinstall.

    If it's broken there are things you can do. But see what they look like first.

  4. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Stripped, you say? Picks and glue, screws in while wet. Like Pilgrim said. No power tools required.

    To fill and drill is not required and frankly overkill. Just drop a few slivers of pick in, don't pack it. Those screws break easy so don't torque on them. Just turn them until snug. But you knew that.
  5. I use matchstick if a band aid remedy like that is required for some reason, the toothpics or coctail sticks which are usually the ones that can easily be found on te drawer are IME too hard and dense so the screw will not be easy to center so the tuner will be on crooked as a result.
    Or the screw will bend and break.


    In Your opinion it's overkill perhaps, but when the screw snaps anyone will be glad they filled and drilled.

    There will always be those who want to do things as well as possible, and then there are those who take the easiest route.

    Both are quite happy with their chosen methods and perhaps even the outcome, but it doesn't mean their respective ways are the only ones :).

  6. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    Band aids last a week, Sam. Glue and slivers of wood last a lifetime as well as an drill fill and drill again does. Both work fine One is a repair. One is a permanent alteration.

    When i bought my 1962 jazz, i tightened every screw in it. Low and behold, a tuner screw wouldn't seat. There is no way i would even consider a drill fill drill alteration on that relic.

    I repaired it.

    Take that tuner off and you will not be able to see that repair was ever made. It is invisible.

    Ive never seen a screw that fit snugly in the plate hole, there is always play. You center up your pilots, screw down and all that is holding the plate is the head of the screws, not the shafts; once the string is at pitch it will move the plate until it hits a screw shank. Maybe not today, but it will move.

    The screws will run in perpendicular again because the maple is denser than the toothpick wood.

    OP: hone repair or home alteration. Your choice.

    See you at the next pix and glue debate fellas :D
  7. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    No thanks, not again. :rolleyes:
  8. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY

    What up Tarana! :D

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