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What happens if I remove this screw?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by pegleg paul, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Tuning machines are a bit of a mystery to me. A luthier at a festival was looking for a rattle in my bass and told me the machine screw on the E string tuner was too small, diameter-wise, and that someone in the past had merely wrapped it with a bunch of teflon tape and shoved it in the hole. He didn't have the right size replacement, but suggested that I could remove the screw from the A string tuner and take it to the hardware store to find one the same size. My question is, is the whole thing gonna fly apart if I take that screw out? Should I loosen the string first? Also, is the tension on the screws adjustable at all? one tuner is very hard to turn and I would like to loosen it up a bit if that is possible. My bass is a '64 Kay M1 with original tuners. Thanks.
  2. Be very careful with doing this. I am assuming you are talking about the screw that holds the tuning gear in place. If you just loosen the A string all the way so that there is no tension on the string, that should not hurt anything. Bur when you look for a replacement screw, pay attention to the thread of the screw as well as the diameter. You could get the right size screw with the wrong type of thread and crossthread the whole gear. Then you'd be screwed, pardon the pun. As for that hard to turn tuner, try a few drops of machine oil on the gear before you do anything drastic.
  3. Thanks. I will be cautious.
  4. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    When you go to the hardware store with the old screw, stick the threaded shafts againts each other to see of the threads line up and 'lock' into each other, or find a corresponding nut and see if that threads onto both the old & new screws, then you'll know that the threads are the same.
  5. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    I don't know about hardware stores near you, but the Home Depot i work at has a series of threaded holes you can insert your screw into to find the correct size. Then all you have to do is match up the lengths and head types and you'll be all set.
  6. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Put some 3-in-1 oil in the "socket" of the worm gear. The worm gear is attached to the tuning key itself. Those little tabs that hold the worm gear in place can get rusty and make it difficult to tune.

    Tightening or loosening the screw will not act as a tensioner, so to speak. You want the new screw to be snug and hand tight. g/l.
  7. I continue to be amazed at the wealth of information available in these forums. Thank you guys! I'm going screw shopping and oil dropping this afternoon.
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Hey, SPEEDO, where ya been?
  9. Hopalong, I assume you're talking about the screw that holds the gear to the shaft. Yeah, release the tension on the string, otherwise if that gear pops off while the string's tuned it might orbit the room.

    Regarding the tuner that's difficult to turn: I don't know about your Kay specifically, but with many tuning machines the shaft has a shoulder on it behind the side plate. If you overtighten the screw that holds the gear to the shaft you pinch the sideplate, resulting in a stiff or seized tuner. If the screw's too loose it can fall out and disappear. I'd suggest releasing each string's tension then turning the tuner to see if it operates smoothly unloaded. If not, remove the screw and put a dab of Loctite on the threads, then reinstall and tighten until the tuner is not sloppy but turns smoothly. The Loctite will keep the screw in adjustment without having to overtighten it. In the absence of Loctite, contact cement will also work. Do one tuner at a time.

    As Nnick suggests, a little lube helps too, on the back side of the gear as well as the worm. Light oil or grease, graphite or wax will all work.
  10. Think I might still have some locktite. Used to use on my 357 to keep the screws from coming loose. Thanks.
  11. Hi Ed, I have been to the gates of Hell. No, I didn't go to prison or Iraq, but it was just about as bad. More on this in two months. Sorry I can't say more right now.

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