Removing stubborn tuner bushings

Octavian B

Junior Member
This arose from a mistake on my part in learning how to install a Gotoh kluson bushing on a brand new neck (the bushing ended up being a tiny bit flattened (I did learn thankfully and installed the rest in a completely different, safer way). The problem was that as I froze the bushing first and upon expanding it proved tremendously difficult to get it out. The traditional methods did not work. So I came up with another way to do it, so I thought I'd share it (as I'm quite inexperienced it may overall be a really bad way to do it and I was just lucky. I'll let you guys let me know if that's the case). You'll need the following items: hex screwdriver bit (I used a 2/16th bit, you just need one whose top will fit through the bushing while the bottom won't,so you'll get a nice snug fit this way), ratchet set socket (I used a 13mm one, just pick one that the bushing will fit through), green painter's tape (any tape that won't leave any residue will do), 10" pliers and here's the kicker, post it notes!

(Something to keep in mind - I did this on an unfinished neck, so I did not have to worry about the paint getting pulled off with the bushing. If it's a finished neck, you will probably want to get the bushing out just a bit by other methods that are safe for painted necks, and make sure the green tape goes all around under the edge of the bushing.)

First, cover the area around the bushing (both top and bottom of the neck) in several layers of green tape. Next cover up the screwdriver bit with green tape, three times around should do it. Now, separate your pile of post-its in two. Using the painters tape, attach one of the piles to the  bottom jaw of your pliers, keep the second one. Insert the screwdriver bit into the bushing. Now place the ratchet socket on top of the bushing (making sure that there's a lot of green tape under it!). Place the other half of the post it notes on top of the ratchet socket, adjust your pliers to the appropriate size. Now, make sure the bottom part of the pliers (The one with the post it notes) is making good contact with the screwdriver tip (which should be sticking out bellow quite a bit) and the top with the top of the post-it notes sitting on top of the ratchet socket. Now carefully clamp down. If things worked out well, you should have the bushing inside the ratchet socket.

Hope this may be of help.

Good morning!  I would say anyway that solves the issue without damage is a good way.  A method that may be a bit simpler if you run into this again, is using a dowel that's just a bit smaller than the tuner hole.  I'll secure the neck somehow, using a vice normally, then place the headstock face down on a bag of sand or something firm to absorb any shock.  I place the dowel through the rear of the hole, and tap it out gently with a hammer.  Once it starts to move, I'll check the face of the headstock to make sure no wood or finish is being removed with the bushing. 

If they're really stubborn, I've gone so far as to use component cooler:  Of course you need to really protect the surrounding area.  It seems to contract the metal enough to help get them out easier.
Thanks guys!  This info will come in real handy since I'm gettig ready to refinsh a 1966 Tele and have been sweating getting those bushing out of the head stock with out causing damage.