Machine heads

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Mon May 14, 2018 11:04 am

Pat Foster wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 4:21 pm
Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 5:45 pm
<snip> for a very good handmade guitar, what would you choose?
Sloanes are very good, though on the heavy side as mentioned, but they don't have "that European look," which some prefer on a guitar with its roots from that part of the world. I had Sloane, Alessi, and Gilbert in my shop last week, so I took some time to compare them side by side. All had zero backlash and smooth operation. Here's how I'd rate them on feel and appearance.

Feel -- Gilbert, with Sloane and Alessi tied for second place
Appearance -- Alessi, Sloane, Gilbert
Cost -- Sloane and Gilbert tied for cheapest, Alessi most costly

I dismantled a set of $80 Gotoh tuners for evaluation, and though simple, appeared to be better designed than most in that price range. They had some backlash, but not as much as some of their peers. They were less dependent on accurate drilling of the roller holes in the neck for minimal backlash than say, Stewmac Golden Age classical tuners, but they did show propensity for wear on the roller gears after a short time.

Overall--gross generalization here-- I'd say most $50 to $100 tuners, though certainly sufficient, have a clunky feel compared to the higher end ones I compared.
Thanks Pat!
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Mon May 14, 2018 11:14 am

Thanks everyone. Based on the comments it seems Gilbert and Sloane (both about $300) are the best choices but not the most economical one. The best economical choice seems to be Rubner.
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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riemsesy
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Re: Machine heads

Post by riemsesy » Mon May 14, 2018 11:33 am

Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:14 am
The best economical choice seems to be Rubner.
I agree. And on Thomas Rubner's site, you can select any option you want with almost any machine head. Other knobs, other material for the rollers, bearings or not.
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Michael.N.
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Michael.N. » Mon May 14, 2018 11:42 am

Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:14 am
Thanks everyone. Based on the comments it seems Gilbert and Sloane (both about $300) are the best choices but not the most economical one. The best economical choice seems to be Rubner.
You've missed out the Schallers. For the price they are exceptional.
Historicalguitars.

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petermc61
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Re: Machine heads

Post by petermc61 » Mon May 14, 2018 11:59 am

It’s not clear if you want ‘the best’ (which is what I presumed from the OP) or good value. They are different things. I suggest you make sure which of these two it is before you buy...

GuitarsWeB
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Re: Machine heads

Post by GuitarsWeB » Mon May 14, 2018 1:50 pm

I have an Oribe 1984 Pro-A with Schallers, 38 years old, and they still work very well. Even Smallman used them on many of his instruments. All I can say is, they are proven. My first choice are the Sloanes

SteveL123
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Re: Machine heads

Post by SteveL123 » Mon May 14, 2018 2:08 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:42 am
Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:14 am
Thanks everyone. Based on the comments it seems Gilbert and Sloane (both about $300) are the best choices but not the most economical one. The best economical choice seems to be Rubner.
You've missed out the Schallers. For the price they are exceptional.
Have you tried Der Jung's with ball bearings? They are less than 1/2 the price of Schaller Grand Tunes.

I just put a set of Der Jung DJ-102G-AS-S4 viewtopic.php?f=11&t=110778&start=45#p1278648
to replace the worn out set (probably cheap when new) on a 33 year old guitar that I have. The functional difference is night and day! This Der Jung set is not the most attractive but functionally excellent, with ball bearings and 18:1 gear ratio. Aesthetics is not important to me for this guitar since I am using it to practice Luthiery on.

I have no experience with other tuners except Rodgers on a 13 year old Ambridge that I have. I compared the 2 in tuning performance side by side and I must say these Der Jungs work as smoothly and as accurately as the Rodgers. Aesthetically the Rodgers Hauser style on mine wins hands down with its beautiful engravings and fine finish, whereas the Der Jung's have no engravings and the decor is silk screened on. Technically, the Der Jung's is better with 18:1 GR where the Rodger's is 16:1.

I am really happy with this set of Der Jung's as far as cost vs performance. Only time will tell in regards to its quality. I did my best to install it properly.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Michael.N. » Mon May 14, 2018 2:59 pm

I haven't but then again they don't quite suit my aesthetic. I rather like a very plain plate, the Schallers are close to that although not my ideal. I also tend to favour narrow plates which limits the choice. For Torres copies I buy the Alessi tuners - providing the player wants to pay the extra.
There are many choices that get the job done including some cheap tuners. A few decades ago the cheap to mid priced tuner was the old Schallers. They were seen as the best of a bad bunch without having to resort to Landstorfer. These days there are better choices than the old Schallers. Time and the market have seen to that.
Historicalguitars.

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Mon May 14, 2018 4:13 pm

petermc61 wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:59 am
It’s not clear if you want ‘the best’ (which is what I presumed from the OP) or good value. They are different things. I suggest you make sure which of these two it is before you buy...
I am looking for the best but not the most expensive one.
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Mon May 14, 2018 4:14 pm

Michael.N. wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:42 am
Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:14 am
Thanks everyone. Based on the comments it seems Gilbert and Sloane (both about $300) are the best choices but not the most economical one. The best economical choice seems to be Rubner.
You've missed out the Schallers. For the price they are exceptional.
I see, thanks!
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Mon May 14, 2018 4:19 pm

SteveL123 wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 2:08 pm
Michael.N. wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:42 am
Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:14 am
Thanks everyone. Based on the comments it seems Gilbert and Sloane (both about $300) are the best choices but not the most economical one. The best economical choice seems to be Rubner.
You've missed out the Schallers. For the price they are exceptional.
Have you tried Der Jung's with ball bearings? They are less than 1/2 the price of Schaller Grand Tunes.

I just put a set of Der Jung DJ-102G-AS-S4 viewtopic.php?f=11&t=110778&start=45#p1278648
to replace the worn out set (probably cheap when new) on a 33 year old guitar that I have. The functional difference is night and day! This Der Jung set is not the most attractive but functionally excellent, with ball bearings and 18:1 gear ratio. Aesthetics is not important to me for this guitar since I am using it to practice Luthiery on.

I have no experience with other tuners except Rodgers on a 13 year old Ambridge that I have. I compared the 2 in tuning performance side by side and I must say these Der Jungs work as smoothly and as accurately as the Rodgers. Aesthetically the Rodgers Hauser style on mine wins hands down with its beautiful engravings and fine finish, whereas the Der Jung's have no engravings and the decor is silk screened on. Technically, the Der Jung's is better with 18:1 GR where the Rodger's is 16:1.

I am really happy with this set of Der Jung's as far as cost vs performance. Only time will tell in regards to its quality. I did my best to install it properly.
Thanks Steve, it looks nice.
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Machine heads

Post by rojarosguitar » Mon May 14, 2018 4:24 pm

Here's my list (if we exclude Rodgers or Schellers, which are both expensive, and Alessi in US, also expensive):
- Sloane with ball bearings (they are just great and offer the possibility of readjusting)
- Gilbert (if you can live with how the look), very good too
- Baljak (good, but on the extravagant looking side)
- In Europe Alessi not so expensive
- Reischner (very hard going bot somehow also very precise)
- Rubner (maybe not the cheapest)
- Der Jung (I have 29 Euro set; very nicely functional, but not looking so great).

Schaller I don't have any so I cant's say anything (well I do have a set with these closed/covered gears - a very strange and extremely heavy set, I wouldn't recommend that, don't even know if they still produce them, long time ago I saw them on Ovation classical.) The one thing I can say about Schaller is that they have a very good customer service in Germany; every time I needed some spare part, they just sent it, often for free).
Schaller Grandtune seem to have all the rave...
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petermc61
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Re: Machine heads

Post by petermc61 » Mon May 14, 2018 6:53 pm

Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:13 pm
petermc61 wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:59 am
It’s not clear if you want ‘the best’ (which is what I presumed from the OP) or good value. They are different things. I suggest you make sure which of these two it is before you buy...
I am looking for the best but not the most expensive one.
Klaus Scheller (which are quite different to Schaller) are in my view the absolute best. Unless you do something very unusual with engraving or finish they should cost less than most Rodgers, some (but not all Alessi) and Graf. They will cost more than Sloane, Rubner and Gotoh and are worth it in my view. You have to own them and use them to appreciate why.

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Mon May 14, 2018 9:42 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:24 pm
Here's my list (if we exclude Rodgers or Schellers, which are both expensive, and Alessi in US, also expensive):
- Sloane with ball bearings (they are just great and offer the possibility of readjusting)
- Gilbert (if you can live with how the look), very good too
- Baljak (good, but on the extravagant looking side)
- In Europe Alessi not so expensive
- Reischner (very hard going bot somehow also very precise)
- Rubner (maybe not the cheapest)
- Der Jung (I have 29 Euro set; very nicely functional, but not looking so great).

Schaller I don't have any so I cant's say anything (well I do have a set with these closed/covered gears - a very strange and extremely heavy set, I wouldn't recommend that, don't even know if they still produce them, long time ago I saw them on Ovation classical.) The one thing I can say about Schaller is that they have a very good customer service in Germany; every time I needed some spare part, they just sent it, often for free).
Schaller Grandtune seem to have all the rave...
Very nice comparison!
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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Arash Ahmadi
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Re: Machine heads

Post by Arash Ahmadi » Mon May 14, 2018 9:45 pm

petermc61 wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 6:53 pm
Arash Ahmadi wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:13 pm
petermc61 wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 11:59 am
It’s not clear if you want ‘the best’ (which is what I presumed from the OP) or good value. They are different things. I suggest you make sure which of these two it is before you buy...
I am looking for the best but not the most expensive one.
Klaus Scheller (which are quite different to Schaller) are in my view the absolute best. Unless you do something very unusual with engraving or finish they should cost less than most Rodgers, some (but not all Alessi) and Graf. They will cost more than Sloane, Rubner and Gotoh and are worth it in my view. You have to own them and use them to appreciate why.
I checked their website, they seem to have a few different models. Which one are you referring to?
To send light into the darkness of men's heart, such is the duty of the artist. (Robert Schumann)

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