tuners are killing me!


Junior Member
i have just about decided on everything i need for my first project. it's going to cost more than i had hoped, but that's the way things go. i'm down to deciding on tuners. they seem to run from really cheap to very expensive. i can't find much info on them and know nothing about them myself. is 18:1 that much better than 16:1 or 14:1? what makes for  a decent tuner other than it has to stay put? i'd appreciate any information or ideas on what to get - i want good tuners, but i don't want to pay more just for a name if there's no difference in quality. please help me so i can get some sleep!!!
There is a term in engineering circles called "measured-in quality".

What that is, is taking semi important items and touting it as a mark of quality.

Let me give you an example.  For years, radio makers would advertise "Seven Transistors" or "Eleven Transistors" as if the number of semiconductors made a difference in the overall quality of the set.  Similarly, even Fender (damn you Leo... hush while I type) ... even Fender would say "x number of tubes with y equivalent tube performance", as if the number of tubes mattered.  I mean we could add more and more tubes but would it make things better?  No.  More marketable?  No.  More expensive (well yah, but they never tell you that part of the story).

Here's what I'm getting at.  Good tuners are good tuners.

Nobody ever got burnt with Grovers.  Or Schallers, or lately even Gotoh.  They're all good, but I gotta say Grover and Schaller are a bit smoother from what I've seen.  Sperzel is good too, a bit more expensive and I dont think any better than Grover.

Go for the style, go for the finish, go for the finish, go for the features (locking or not etc etc), but know that 14 or 16 or 18 to 1 is just a way of splitting hairs that need not be split, as even 14:1 are just great to use and work with.  The REAL issue on tuning is more likely a bad nut or saddle than a tuner problem.  But, smooth tuners are pure joy to use.
As far as 18:1, 16:1, 14:1   this is the gear reduction ratio, so you gotta turn the knob 18 (16,14) times for the post to turn 1 time. So the higher the number the better resolution to tuning (not a big deal)  

I know shaller, and planet wave are big names in the tuner business, they make good stuff,,,,,,,,,,,But I am satisfied with my Gotoh tuners at half the price and I think just as good, they are 16:1 and I have no problem tuning  I have the Gotoh SG38 tuners from ordered from warmoth, I recommend them

back to the question of bass or guitar - for a bass, the actual tuner weight is significantly more important IMO than the tuning ratio. unless you have a light maple/maple neck with a 6+ pound bass body, the average bass tuner set is heavy enough that you're going to have some neck dive ... and if you're looking at a 4 - 5 pound body, you're definitely going to have neck dive.

in this case I'd recommend you look into a set of Hipshot Ultralights, as the half pound fo weight savings is well worth the double in cost over a regular set of Schallers.

all the best,

sorry i didn't get back to you R, i was stuck in atlanta traffic! it's a guitar. thanks to you all. i think i have my answer - good brand, good looks, good price - don't sweat the small stuff. thanks again.
As someone who's used "one of each" pretty much:

1.) If you're on a tight budget, the Gotoh Kluson and SG38 offered on Warmoth's website are perfectly good tuners and run on average under $30 bucks a set and nothing cheaper should be put on a Warmoth build. While you can find these a couple bucks cheaper elsewhere (also the Wilkinson flavor Klusons) by the time you pay for separate shipping you haven't saved anything.
2.) Schallers/Grovers are a little smoother in operation, but fundamentally IMHO don't perform any better.
3.) If you change strings frequently, Sperzel or Planet Waves locking/auto-trim tuners make it so painless the ca. $30 premium over the Gotohs is money well spent, but I will warn you from experience that the Sperzels are a pain in the ass to install due to the pilot holes you have to drill fro the guide pins.

I saw in another post that you are ordering a wenge neck with an ebony fretboard (waiting on one myself for my current VIP build); a neck that nice deserves a set of Planet Waves locking auto trims and you can perfectly justify that as you just saved all that money/time not having to finish the neck....
neddi - no trem, it will be a tom then terminate through the body. jack - still thinking about the wenge, but if i go that route, the $ saved there is definitly dollars that could be used elsewhere. thank you both.