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Installing Peghed Tuners on a Silvertone Baritone Ukulele

I just turned around this quick project before I dive back into (onto?) the Gretsch ukulele bridge fix.

I've been trying to play my Silvertone baritone uku, but the thing just will not stay in tune.  Part of it is the bad strings I have on it, but the core problem is the tuning heads.  So I am going to change them out.

I've read great things about Pegheds, so I bought a set.  They look like a classic tapered friction tuning peg, but they have a planetary gear mechanism in them that has a 4:1 tuning ratio.

No matter how I adjust the patent heads on the Silvertone, they just slip.  Ironically, the ones on my Martin are pretty good - they've needed little adjustment.

In any event, the old tuners need to go.

It's easy to take the old patent tuners off.  One screw holds the whole assembly together.

The three pieces that make up a patent tuner.  I suppose I could get better ones, but I want a geared tuner.

They sure look nice, but they don't work at all.

These are the kind of tuners you'd find on all sorts of old banjos, ukuleles, and even some guitars.

Aren't they beautiful?  Too bad they're going to one of my parts bins.

Installing the Pegheds is easy.  First, ream out the holes in the headstock a bit.

A couple notes:  ream some, then test the fit, then ream again, etc.  I actually drilled a little into one of my holes based on the fact that the instructions said "thicker headstocks may need a small hole for clearance."  This was a mistake in my case.  I now have one hole that's a bit too large - but it's not too noticeable, and the tuner works fine.

Also, be careful to keep the reamer straight.  One of my tuners is a bit crooked because the hole isn't perfectly square.  Again, not a disaster, but I would be more cautious next time.

Step 2 is to thread the Pegheds into the headstock.

The Pegheds are self-threading.  The are two with right-hand threads and two with left-hand threads for each side of the headstock.  The instructions are very clear as to which to use where.

I threaded some, then backed the tuner out and cleaned out the swarf (well, actually sawdust).  Then threaded again, etc.

After they were all threaded, I put a drop of medium CA on the threads, and screwed them in.  Very straightforward.  Compared to maple, this mahogany is a lot easier to work with.

Here they are from the back.  Not as cool looking as the old tuners, but they look nice.

  And from the front.

I left the same strings (Martin Baritone) on the ukulele that I put on it a few weeks ago.  What a difference!  Tuning is so much easier.  Wow.  Highly recommended.

I really don't care for these strings at all - I have a set of Aquilas (and some Worths...) that I'll be trying soon. 

The Pegheds folks make these for violin, cello, ukulele and guitar.  If you have any of these instruments with friction or patent tuners, I recommend you switch to Pegheds.  They make an amazing difference.


Post a Comment 2 comments:

  • Jef Gat said...
    October 6, 2015 at 9:45 AM
    How is it "ironic" that the tuners on your Martin are pretty good?"
  • Yr Fthfl Blggr said...
    October 7, 2015 at 7:59 PM
    Both ukuleles had similar patent (direct) tuners. Similar construction and design. The ones Martin used work ok. The Silvertone ones didn't. I found it interesting (ironic) that tuners that were the same basic design worked differently.

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