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  #1  
Old 01-21-2020, 06:14 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Default Freeing seized-up Sperzel tuners

I have a couple of buddies up here in Anchorage who are also musicians - all of us play multiple instruments, two of us are pros who gig out on a regular basis, and two of us also build instruments. All three of us tinker with setups and whatnot, so we share resources and information all the time. It's me, Karl and Bob.

Here's the situation: Bob's dentist bought himself a new all-koa Martin D-28K dreadnought back in 1980, thinking that if he bought himself a nice guitar he'd learn to play. But he never did, and the guitar sat completely untouched for nearly forty years.

Recently the guy has decided that this time he DOES want to learn, so he's pulled out his guitar to give it a try. However, in the years since he bought it two or three of the Sperzel tuners on the guitar have seized up, and will barely turn. (Yes, Martin did equip their guitars with Sperzel tuners for three or four years during the late 70's and early 80's.)

So far today I've spoken to three different repairmen and been told three different approaches to take in order to return the tuners to full functionality. So I thought I should take advantage of this vast free resource we have right here, and ask you all how you would approach the problem.

While looking online for images of Sperzel tuners to show you which ones I'm talking about, the vast majority were locking tuners. Which must be what Sperzel is mostly selling these days. But the tuners in question are not the locking ones, but regular sealed gear tuners like this one:



˙˙˙

The ones on the guitar have a shiny chrome finish and Schaller-style buttons, but are otherwise the same.

So what would you all suggest we try to get these tuners functioning again?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer,


Wade Hampton Miller
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2020, 08:14 AM
ras1500 ras1500 is offline
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I would try squirting some penetrating oil down the string shaft and letting it sit overnight. Then slowly work the tuner button back and forth until things start to move freely. Aero-Kroil or Free All are two oils that work well on other mechanical devices.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:49 AM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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What color is Bob's dentist's hair?
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:20 AM
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Bruce Sexauer Bruce Sexauer is offline
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If the tuner is conceptually similar to a rotomatic, as it appears to be, then pressing or tapping on the post while supporting the body will cause the round plate on the back to pop out of the body and allow maintenance. The cover can be pressed back in when done. Unless Iím wrong.
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Old 01-22-2020, 04:24 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runamuck View Post
What color is Bob's dentist's hair?
I donít know and am not going to ask.

Thank you Bruce and Ras. Any other suggestions?


whm
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Old 01-22-2020, 06:28 PM
frankmcr frankmcr is online now
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The D-28 is indeed a nice guitar.

If Bob's dentist is for sure gonna get serious this time, maybe just replace the apparently prone to malfunction sperzels with a set of grovers?

https://www.dreamguitars.com/product...ges/tuners.jpg
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:21 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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The idea for now is to try to return the Sperzels to full functionality. The various guitar techs Iíve spoken to about this have told me thereís no reason to assume that the Sperzels canít be saved. Itís apparently not at all uncommon for this to happen with long-neglected tuners, and theyíve all had experience getting tuners like these back into full working order.


whm
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Old 01-23-2020, 03:19 AM
Howard Klepper Howard Klepper is offline
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Sperzels are not prone to malfunction. The grease in them has hardened, as it might in any sealed tuner that has not moved for 40 years. The fix is to clean out the old grease and replace it.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:34 AM
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Bruce Sexauer Bruce Sexauer is offline
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Sperzel tuners have an aluminum body, I believe, and steel or bronze gears (guessing), and If the guitar was stored in high humidity or anywhere near the ocean it occurs to me that electrolysis could be an issue.

My instructions for removing the plate on the back of the tuner were directed toward Howardís comment: replacing the lubricant.
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  #10  
Old 01-25-2020, 08:44 AM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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So Wade,

Any luck with un-seizing the tuners?
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  #11  
Old 01-25-2020, 09:52 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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I donít know, Quickstep, I havenít spoken to Bob in a couple of days and itís him who has the guitar and the tuners on his bench. Iím as interested as you are in how he progresses on this.


whm
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:34 AM
Black-n-Nan Black-n-Nan is offline
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https://youtu.be/xMgvJrg13Y4
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2020, 10:46 AM
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Bruce Sexauer Bruce Sexauer is offline
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I havenít clicked on the link above as I have had some terrible experience with unsolicited links from Russia.
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:58 PM
Glen H Glen H is offline
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Itís YouTube and shows removing the backs of tuners with what looks like either a spot of double stick tape or a magnet thing. Hard to tell and I donít speak Russian.
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  #15  
Old 01-26-2020, 02:30 PM
Peter Wilcox Peter Wilcox is offline
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I think that one is permanent double stick material to mount stuff in the shower or on the wall.

Here's one that uses CA to glue a screw head to the insert to pull it off. I assume the screw pulls off and the CA scrapes off OK, but he conveniently doesn't show that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OApmoTqktA

And this one drills a hole in it (ugh!) that you can use to lube it afterwards

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTQX1ycuZ_c

Last edited by Peter Wilcox; 01-26-2020 at 02:35 PM.
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