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  #166  
Old 03-30-2019, 07:14 AM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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We're going with Gotoh 510 minis on this guitar. The color is antique copper and the tuner buttons will be replaced with custom wood buttons:





Here are some pics of all 3 1/2lbs of it:







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  #167  
Old 03-30-2019, 07:47 AM
KingCavalier KingCavalier is offline
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I love it, no bevels no cutaway and no soundport, just one beautiful guitar.
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  #168  
Old 03-30-2019, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by KingCavalier View Post
I love it, no bevels no cutaway and no soundport, just one beautiful guitar.
Thanks KingCavalier! Just a little more work to do before it gets the finish on.
Thanks for commenting
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  #169  
Old 03-31-2019, 06:29 AM
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Default Tuner Buttons part 1

I took a deep dive into the creative process and history of my Penelope headstock and was happy to see the interest in looking into other aspects of the guitar so naturally the next thing to dig into is tuner buttons. Tuner buttons are well worth taking a serious look at as they provide a great variety of aesthetic opportunities but, more importantly, they are one of the actual touch points a player has with a guitar. Done poorly they can be an annoying distraction. Done well they can add to the look of the instrument and comfort of playing for the artist. From very early on I started making my own custom buttons for these reasons. Long before my first post on AGF I was well into the process:



With all the curves of the Penelope headstock I thought round buttons were the best looking shaped. They were also easier to grab with a winder. Since I am making them I was able to consider what the would be the most comfortable.

Do you remember these?



They were popular a long time ago when I was in school. They are called worry stones. They are also called thumb stones, soothing stones, or sensory stones. They originated in ancient Greece, Tibet, Ireland, and multiple Native American tribes and still today are used to treat stress. They induce a bit a calmness when rubbed between the thumb and index finger like how you hold a tuner button. I figure It doesn't hurt to have that working for you while you struggle to get that G string tuned just right. So I indent the buttons for comfort.



I do the buttons by hand. I draw a circle on the wood, rough it out with the band saw and sand it down to shape. Then I keep sanding with finer and finer sandpaper until it reaches a polished shine. It then gets a rub of fretboard oil. Being hand done there are naturally variances in thickness. When ready to mount them I sort them by thickness going from the thickest low E to the thinnest high E. The differences are slight but, with time the artist, maybe without realizing it, knows what string he is tuning without looking at the tuners. Yet, I have never had a client comment that their buttons aren't perfect matches.

I was off to a good start and could use a variety of woods for buttons and could select what I wanted for aesthetic purposes. The first picture I posted on AGF had my custom wood tuner buttons:



I have done sapwood capped Cocobolo:



A more subtle Black Ebony when the emphasis was on the abalone:



Rich looking BRW on BRW:



And I got contrast when I wanted contrast:



When I designed the more contemporary looking Greta GA model with it's straight sided headstock I started making oval knobs to go with it:



I was happy to find Black and White Ebony that was a good color match for this White Limba neck:



Well that's my 10 picture posting limit so I'll stop here and will pick up on part two later on.

Thanks for reading all that!
Mark
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  #170  
Old 03-31-2019, 10:51 AM
amohr amohr is offline
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Mark should have unlimited picture posting.
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  #171  
Old 03-31-2019, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by amohr View Post
Mark should have unlimited picture posting.
I have run into that 10 picture limit over the years but, I have recently noticed others posting more than 10. I assumed they were accessing the forum using their phone app or other means while I normally use my pc. No reason to believe that hasn't changed though. Thanks!
In the meantime, I already finished my 10 picture part two so I'll post that and test my limits later.

Thank Again!
Mark
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  #172  
Old 03-31-2019, 11:28 AM
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Default Custom Tuner Buttons part two

When I started my Unlimited Series I took the time to re-examine every aspect of my build. The tuner buttons were not left out of that process. I considered and employed new techniques and elements to the designs of my custom buttons. For the Unlimited Penelope that has so many scalloped features:



I sculpted the buttons to go with that theme:





When I brought red Padauk purfling lines into the design of my Unlimited Series Greta GA I carried those lines over to the uniquely shaped tuner buttons:





There is an issue with how tuner wooden buttons are held on and adjusted. You see the screw that holds a button on is tapered under the top of the head. Tightening this screw not only holds the button on but, usually it's tension is used to take up any slop in the internal gears and set the tightness for turning the mechanism. So you make that screw fairly tight. When it has that wedge shape on the bottom of the crew head it can act like a splitting wedge on a lot of different woods. You can see the bottom of the screw head in this picture:



The way to fix that splitting action is to use a cone shaped washer with a flat bottom. You could call it a ferrule. After searching for years I gave up trying to find the right ferrule and finally just figured out how to make them myself. You can see one there on the bottom right of the picture. This has opened up a lot of new options for woods to use.
I quickly realized that having that brass ferrule in place made screw tension infinitely smoother and precise when adjusting so I now use these ferrules on all my custom wood tuner buttons:



Getting back to the guitar at hand, here is the guitar headstock I am working on:



These are the woods used in making the guitar that would be candidates for the buttons to be made from:



These woods are sapwood capped Brazilian Rosewood, regular Brazilian Rosewood, sapwood capped Koa, and Amboyna Burl. Without using the brass ferrules the only wood up for consideration would be the regular Brazilian Rosewood. The others would be too likely to split without that ferrule in place.
With the ferrules in place here is the selection of buttons I offered to choose from:



Part three to come!
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  #173  
Old 04-01-2019, 05:31 AM
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Default Custom Tuner Buttons part three



Now that the selection of potential button woods has grown so much I needed a better way to show examples to aid in the decision. Just showing the a picture of the wood I am getting the buttons from isn't
necessarily all that helpful:



So I came up with a quick way to get closer to how the buttons will look:





The blank that I cut the button shape out of is about an 1/8" thick and if it is lit low on one side the shadow helps it look more like a three dimensional button.

So which wood did we decide on for this Penelope guitar?



The Amboyna Burl was agreed on as be the best choice. Here is a picture of the buttons with the ferrules in:



I'll wrap this little series up with a glimpse of how this current Penelope headstock will look:



Thanks for following along!
Mark
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  #174  
Old 04-01-2019, 12:54 PM
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Default Success?

I've just spent many hours taking a deep dive into the subject of tuner buttons. I tried to bring up a number of aspects that nobody ever seems to talk about. Like how the feel of a tuner button is part of player comfort, I talked about and showed examples of how tuner buttons can be a part of the overall look of a guitar, I showed a little brass ferrule that makes Gotoh tuners work even better and opens up a lot more options for the woods available to use for tuner buttons, and I even threw in a little trick to help select the right button for a guitar. Judging by the response I was indeed successful at broaching a number of subjects that no one talks about. I guess it was a learning experience
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Last edited by Mark Hatcher; 04-01-2019 at 04:35 PM.
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  #175  
Old 04-01-2019, 01:57 PM
runamuck runamuck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hatcher View Post
I've just spent many hours taking a deep dive into the subject of tuner buttons. I tried to bring up a number of aspects that nobody ever seems to talk about. Like how the feel of a tuner button is part of player comfort, I talked about and showed examples of how tuner buttons can be a part of the overall look of a guitar, I showed a little brass ferrule that makes Gotoh tuners work even better and opens up a lot more options for the woods available to use for tuner buttons, and I even threw in a little trick to help select the right button for a guitar. Judging by the response I was indeed successful at breaching a number of subjects that no one talks about. I guess it was a learning experience
I've been paying attention!
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  #176  
Old 04-01-2019, 03:56 PM
IBKuz IBKuz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runamuck View Post
I've been paying attention!
I have been following along as well.

As they say, the Devil is in the details. You look to have him by the tail at the moment ... lol
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  #177  
Old 04-01-2019, 04:17 PM
Stevied63 Stevied63 is offline
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Count me in as someone who was following this closely. I had no comment as I had nothing to add - but this detail and knowledge is fascinating to me! Please keep posting stuff like this!!
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  #178  
Old 04-02-2019, 03:11 AM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runamuck View Post
I've been paying attention!
Thanks runamuck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IBKuz View Post
I have been following along as well.

As they say, the Devil is in the details. You look to have him by the tail at the moment ... lol
Thanks IBKuz, yes there is no shortage of details with guitars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevied63 View Post
Count me in as someone who was following this closely. I had no comment as I had nothing to add - but this detail and knowledge is fascinating to me! Please keep posting stuff like this!!
Thanks for following along Stevied63

Mark
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  #179  
Old 04-02-2019, 04:30 AM
amohr amohr is offline
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Your thoughtful approach is most appreciated here too. Thank you
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  #180  
Old 04-02-2019, 10:38 AM
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Mark Hatcher Mark Hatcher is offline
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Quote:
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Your thoughtful approach is most appreciated here too. Thank you
Thanks amohr, I appreciate your comments.

Mark
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