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Waverly Tuner Installation and Polishing the Regal Tenor Guitar

The Regal tenor is more or less done.  Whoo hoo.  I'm a couple posts behind the actual finished work at this point.  As I write this, I just need to do a fret level and crown.  I wasn't planning to, because the frets show so little wear, but with the reset, there are some random buzzes on higher frets.

But meanwhile back to where I left it.

My friend who owns the guitar sprung for some Waverly banjo tuners to replace the old friction tuners.  You may recall it had a wine cork stuck on one of the tuners as a knob!

When you get fine quality tuners, you also get nice packaging.  Check out the nice box.

The tuners are packed in there as if they were jewels.

Which, in a way, they are.  They are very well made and are just beautiful.  Compared to some of the other sets Waverly makes, these are not too expensive.

I spent about 5 minutes just looking at them before I took them out.  I really didn't want to get my fingerprints on them.  They're that nice.

I polished up the headstock in preparation for installing the new tuners.  It's hard to tell in this picture, but it has a nice gloss to it now.

Here's a closeup of one of the tuners.  You can see they have that classic 'offset' gearbox.  They have planetary gears with a 4:1 ratio.

As I found out later when I used them, they are super smooth.  Just a delight to use.

Note the locator pin on the bottom of the case.  

It's a piece of cake (mmmm....cake) to install them.  The holes have to be reamed out to 3/8 of an inch...I think. 

Then you just take the top nut/ferrule off as well as its washer.

Slip the tuner up through the hole, put the ferrule nut on and tighten it up.

I used an awl to make a tiny divot on the back of the headstock for the locating pin(s), but it's probably not critical.  I think the pins would go into the headstock when the tuners are tightened down.

Here they are installed on the guitar.  They look absolutely perfect.

Stew-Mac sells different tuner buttons to fit these if you don't like the stock ivoroid.  My friend opted for the stock buttons and they look terrific I think.

I have a set of these to put on my May-Bell tenor as well.

I polished the body of the guitar before I put it back together, since it's a lot easier to work with with no strings on it.

This is the 'before' shot of the top - it was fairly dirty and didn't have a lot of gloss.

I do a first pass with a weak solution of Simple Green in water - maybe a 15 to 1 ratio.  Put that on a clean soft rag and have at it.  Just dampen the rag - don't soak it.

You need to get the dirt off first - if you just polish you'll be grinding the dirt into the finish. 

After a pass or two to get the worst of the grime off, I use Virtuoso cleaner followed by Virtuoso polish - both applied with a machine.

These old guitars were almost always finished with nitrocellulose lacquer.  Unless the finish is totally gone, they polish up nicely.

You can see the top has a nice gloss after cleaning and polishing.

The back and sides look really good and have a nice gloss now.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  It looks great in person.

The guitar may have been stained with a natural color stain before it was sprayed, but the wonderful amber color is due to the clear lacquer yellowing over time.  Really a classic look.

I think I mentioned before that the top is spruce, and the back and sides are birch.  Makes for a very light build.

Next, I'm cooking up a new bridge.


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