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  #31  
Old 01-17-2020, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
David, I wasn't trying to imply that the sealed gear 510's are better simply because they're sealed. But I have had open gear Gotoh 510's on several instruments, and those simply don't compare in terms of overall accuracy to the sealed gear 510's. It's been open gear 510's that I've replaced with sealed gear 510 minis on at least two occasions, and got better accuracy once I did.

I've had guitars, mandolins and dulcimers with open geared tuners, with most of the current brands represented: 14-1 Grover Sta-Tites, 18-1 Grover Sta-Tites, Waverlys, open gear Gotohs both 510 and regular production, Schaller, Ping, Schertler and one set of custom ordered Rodgers tuners for one of my mandolins.

Of all of those brands, only the hideously expensive Rodgers and the somewhat expensive but excellent quality Schertler tuners are as smooth and accurate as the sealed gear 510's.

So I'm not on an anti-open gear tuner vendetta, but I am pragmatic about it, and simply prefer the tuners that I know work best for me.

Hope that makes more sense.
Perfect sense, as always, Wade.
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  #32  
Old 01-17-2020, 11:33 AM
Cool555 Cool555 is offline
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I like the look of open tuners more than closed tuners. They look more retro and classy.

One exception are these Gotoh 510 tuners on the Taylor Builder’s Edition.



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  #33  
Old 01-17-2020, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
...I have had open gear Gotoh 510's on several instruments, and those simply don't compare in terms of overall accuracy to the sealed gear 510's. It's been open gear 510's that I've replaced with sealed gear 510 minis on at least two occasions, and got better accuracy once I did...
While I have Gotoh 510's on one guitar, standard Taylor tuners on another, a few sets of Grover Rotos on other guitars, it has always been my feeling that, cool or not, open backed tuners have been more difficult from a functional standpoint as Wade has pointed out. How important the differences are will vary from player to player. After all, orchestral string players still rely on pure friction systems and seem to be able to get their instruments in tune just fine.
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  #34  
Old 01-17-2020, 12:13 PM
Christian Reno Christian Reno is offline
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Aesthetics and nostalgia.
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  #35  
Old 01-17-2020, 01:30 PM
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Fads. Guitarists are highly subject to fashion fads. I can't tell you how many fads I've lived through in my measly fifty years of playing. I think you may have just survived your first "sneer period." At least that's what I call it. There's always something to sneer about and these fads things conveniently come in cycles. I wrote up a humorous article about it, HERE. I just updated it to include tuners.
  • Back in the '70s when I got my first serious electric, a Gibson Les Paul, it came with Kluson semi-closed-back tuners. Immediately, everyone told me I had to shuck the Klusons and get closed back Grovers or Shallers.
However,
  • My lovely wife bought me a beautiful Gibson ES-335 DOT that came stock with Grovers. Gibson got the message and put them on from the start. But when I showed my guitar around many remarked, "Nice guitar but too bad about the Grovers. They change the resonance of the neck and ruin it."
Remember, you aren't supposed to win this one.

However,
  • If you hold on to things long enough they come back into style and begin to be called "vintage!"
Bob
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  #36  
Old 01-17-2020, 01:35 PM
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Apart from looks, it is also the weight factor.
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  #37  
Old 01-17-2020, 01:36 PM
Edgar Poe Edgar Poe is offline
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I prefer the look of open tuners. The drawback I've often heard is they collect dust and debris quicker, but they are also much easier to clean, and lube.

Ed
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  #38  
Old 01-17-2020, 10:30 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fongie View Post
Apart from looks, it is also the weight factor.
True enough, but a lot of that can be dealt with by swapping out the metal tuner buttons that come stock on sealed gear tuners with lighter weight aftermarket buttons. That's usually one of the first things I do when a new instrument enters the house - with the first string change, when the tension is off each tuner I swap out the stock metal button with an aftermarket button, made of either wood (ebony, rosewood or snakewood) or high quality plastic (ivoroid or tortoiseshell plastic.) It dresses up the guitar a bit more, and keeps the metal plating from being worn off the tuners, since the vast majority of handling of tuners occurs when you turn the tuner buttons.


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  #39  
Old 01-17-2020, 11:51 PM
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For the first 5 years or so of my lutherie career I used Gotoh 510's but found that my guitars felt unbalanced with the headstock feeling overly heavy. I build pretty light guitars and on most factory guitars you'll find that there is no balance issue.

I tried Waverly tuners for a short period of time but did not like how utterly stiff they were when tuning a string. I tried a couple different brands in open tuners (Gotoh, Schertler) but settled on handmade tuners by Nicolo Alessi which are surprisingly affordable for the quality (about $300). Rodgers tuners are quite a bit more ($900 and up). Both the Rodgers and the Alessi are vastly better in terms of aesthetics and functionally equivalent to delta Gotoh 510's (21:1 ratio) - the tuning ratio is different but they have no backlash and are incredibly smooth. The Rodgers are smoother and more effortless than the Alessi tuners and are the finest tuners I've ever used. I've also heard great things about Graft tuners but like Rodgers, they are quite expensive.

The point to all of this is that there are different options at various price points in open and closed gear tuners. If you're on a budget then the Gotoh 510's are very hard to beat and are without question, the best "bang for your buck" on the market, IMO. However, if you have a couple hundred to burn, then the open gear market takes over and offers some pretty spectacular tuning options for your guitar.
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  #40  
Old 01-18-2020, 01:38 AM
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Hang on - nobody has weighed open and sealed tuners yet & posted the results?
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  #41  
Old 01-18-2020, 01:52 AM
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Just weighed a set of six Alessi tuners with their respective bushings. These are brass tuners with Ebony buttons. If anything, they would be fractionally heavier than Waverly or Schertler open gear tuners.

Alessi tuners -- 0.35 pounds

Gotoh tuners -- 0.45 pounds

This is according to the StewMac website and the buttons are plastic, which are definitely lighter than wood buttons. The Gotoh tuners with metal buttons are significantly heavier and you can loose a lot of weight by getting plastic or wood buttons instead. Unless the guitar is very lightly built, I don't think anyone would be able to notice the difference.
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  #42  
Old 01-18-2020, 02:15 AM
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This thread (especially Wade's mountain dulcimer story) sent me down a short rabbit hole of machine tuner history... Interesting stuff on Wikipedia, including how violin players still today insist on retaining friction-based tuners despite the availability of modern, and unobtrusive machine heads for violins.
"Musicians playing certain instrumental families, most notably the violin family (excepting the double bass) remain resistant to the use of machine heads, insisting on the continued use of friction pegs. The fitting of them on instruments in these families is often regarded as 'blasphemous'. Such factors as appearance, tradition, and simplicity, among others, are cited as justification. This resistance remains despite the well-known issues with friction pegs losing tuning, coming loose, or jamming."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_head
So when it comes to insisting on form/tradition over functionality, looks like guitarists are hardly the worst of the lot!

and here's an interesting link to one of the first machine tuners, from the 1700's for a cittern:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preston_tuners
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  #43  
Old 01-18-2020, 10:12 AM
swampyankee swampyankee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
Fads. Guitarists are highly subject to fashion fads. I can't tell you how many fads I've lived through in my measly fifty years of playing. I think you may have just survived your first "sneer period." At least that's what I call it. There's always something to sneer about and these fads things conveniently come in cycles. I wrote up a humorous article about it, HERE. I just updated it to include tuners.
  • Back in the '70s when I got my first serious electric, a Gibson Les Paul, it came with Kluson semi-closed-back tuners. Immediately, everyone told me I had to shuck the Klusons and get closed back Grovers or Shallers.
However,
  • My lovely wife bought me a beautiful Gibson ES-335 DOT that came stock with Grovers. Gibson got the message and put them on from the start. But when I showed my guitar around many remarked, "Nice guitar but too bad about the Grovers. They change the resonance of the neck and ruin it."
Remember, you aren't supposed to win this one.

However,
  • If you hold on to things long enough they come back into style and begin to be called "vintage!"
Bob
You can add, "You need an acoustic with a cutaway, otherwise you dont have full access to the upper register" (while playing nothing but cowboy chords).
20 years later: "You'll never get a nice vintage tone with a cutaway acoustic"
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