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Whomever designed this should be fired!!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by SirRolfe, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. SirRolfe


    Jun 18, 2011
    Ann Arbor MI
    Well ok, I'm not sure if it's even possible at this point to fire someone because this probably happened over ten years ago...

    But anyways, I'm having problems with this thing:


    Actually, nothing wrong with the one above. That's the tuning machine I bought to replace this:


    Notice that there are no black "nubs" sticking out from this tuning machine casing, unlike the first one. Where are the nubs, you ask?


    How on earth Fender approved such a horrible design is beyond me. And even worse, Fender used these on the American Deluxe basses in the late 90's--their top of the line basses :rollno:

    Well turns out, I did some more research online and this seems to be a common problem with these tuners. So much so that Fender has completely discontinued them and replaced them with the newer version--with bigger nubs. That's great for all the new basses equipped with them, but how about the older basses that need fixing? A couple searches on eBay and Amazon later, I still can't find a proper replacement for the broken one.

    What about switching the black casings between the old and new versions and keep the chrome hardware?

    Well I tried, and looks like Fender was one step ahead of me. They redesigned the casing just enough so that the hardware isn't interchangeable. Looks like I'm back to searching on eBay for this elusive tuner... Or preparing to shell out $100 for an entire new set of tuners.

    The black casing is made from "composite" according to Schaller, aka plastic. I'm not against plastic, but the design in this case certainly did not take material limitations into consideration. The shear stress on the black nubs must be enormous! I'm surprised they didn't break sooner!

    Ok that's it for my late night soap opera rant. I'm just in disbelief at how this design got passed the designer, supervisors, and the entire R&D department at Fender and Schaller.
  2. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    none of these fit? (i only see the ones with the fat Y-key in gold, as opposed to the flat cloverleaf; the Y-key ones should be the same size, to where you can swap out components.)

    if all the current black-body keys have the fatter nubs, you could dig the plastic bits out of the holes, jam set screws or something in them that stick up a little, drill matching recesses in that plastic housing, then put the key back on.

    you could also just widen the holes in the bass enough for the new key to fit on.

    the real fatal flaw with these keys is the little tensioning screw that wants to back out and fall off, taking that odd bevel ring with it.

    the fix here is a drop of loc-tite on that screw.
  3. mech

    mech Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2008
    Meridian, MS, USA
    Structural plastic that's not. Whodathunkit? Looks like there were either no fillet or too small a fillet where the pins join the housing which would lead to stress risers and the pin breaking off.

    Walterw's set screw thing would work. I'd have the screws go into the wood 5/16" and have 1/16" sticking out. That would use a common 3/8" long part. Holes in the wood will need to be the correct size for the set screws to get a good grip and at least 5/16" deep.

    An easier option, if you aren't worried about looks, would be to put some small pins or screws in the locations marked in the pic. I'd have the pins go into the wood about 3/8" and have about 1/8" sticking out. Brass brads or small nails with the heads cut off would work. Drill smaller than necessary pilot holes. The only thing needed from the pins is enough shear strength to keep the tuners from rotating.

    Whatever you do, I'd do it to all of them since the others will probably fail.

  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I'd use a few drops of superglue, put the thing back in place and resume playing.
    With a bit of luck you will never hear about this issue again in your lifetime.
  5. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    From 1996 to this very day, I've never picked up an American "Deluxe" Fender that didn't turn me off in every possible way.
    wmhill and Dug2 like this.
  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's "Whoever designed this ...".
  7. MusicLiv


    Aug 12, 2014
  8. MusicLiv


    Aug 12, 2014
    I bought what was supposed to be the correct replacement tuning machines last week and when they came in the clover is too wide and touches the other tuners. I've been going crazy trying to find a replacement for my 99' American Deluxe 5 String. Anybody find the correct tuners? I understand that Fender discontinued them a few years ago.
  9. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    I would recommend changing them all out for Hipshot UltraLites.
    PaulNYC likes this.
  10. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I thought I had a pretty good idea, until I got to Walter's post.

    If it was mine to do I do it just as he described with some setscrews in the wood and dimples in the broken piece. Simple, effective, perfect.
  11. Actually this tuner was designed by Seamus Whomever. So in this case the word is correct, but there's missing punctuation. Either way, Seamus hasn't worked for Schaller for some time. Currently he's shopping his idea for bridge tremolos for upright basses.

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
    MegaSwing and PaulNYC like this.
  12. JustForSport


    Nov 17, 2011
    I'd put the set-screws in the tuners, where the nubs were (With a small dab of super glue)- they'll be a lot stronger.
    That's what happens when pinching pennies is more important than quality control, and it's all riding on a Name (or 2)...
  13. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    That would be very easy to fix. Just drill into the case with a 1/8" bit where the broken nubs are and replace them with a 1/8" piece of welding rod. Personally I don't think the design is all that horrible as there shouldn't be very much side load on the indexing pins in the first place. All of the force should be against the mounting nut and the tuner hole.
  14. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    I have a Les Paul copy that came with plastic tuners--not a good idea in a cold climate--three of them cracked at different times, and I replaced them with metal casings---fortunately I didn't run into a similar problem.
  15. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    How much of a wall thickness are we talking about here? Seems we don't have a lot of leeway before hitting the transverse gear.

    I like the idea of plugging or 'picking the holes, introducing two of those tiny-ass anchor screws, shearing the screw heads just above the headstock surface, and grinding "receivers" (...gotta love a Dremel!) in the tuner base plate. As Hopkins pointed out, all the force is lateral on the alignment pins.

    Edit: scrap "grinding receivers"...more work than required. Just drill two hole where the nubs have broken off with Dremel micro bits the same diameter as the anchor screws. It doesn't matter if you break through into the gear channel as long as the screw nubs don't intrude. You will want to clean up any resulting plastic spoil / splinters.

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  16. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I may be missing something, but it looks like the new tuners (first picture) would work if the headstock had the recess of the correct size and location. Fender has apparently given up on the original design, so why not modify the bass to use the new design?

    Not everyone would feel comfortable doing this kind of modification, of course. But you could make a jig to locate new larger holes and drill them out using a properly sized bit and a depth stop.
  17. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    It was the tuners mostly, wasn't it? Level with us.
  18. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    It all boils down to one question: do you want originality (repair or find originals to replace) or functionality (Hipshot)?
  19. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    The plastic tuners were a factor, but mainly it was the body size, weight, neck dive, and unappealing active electronics, when compared to other active preamps on the market.

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