Locking Tuners .... on an acoustic ???

thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
26,660
tappan ny
So heres what I'm talking / thinking about and I did ask this question on the other guitar forum ... no not that forum ....the U.M.G.F. ( Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum )

So years ago I had a Martin GC-MMV Dreadnaught and it was really nice . The one thing I loved about it was it had gold tuners on it and it really looked sharp . So now I have a Martin D-13e road Series that reminds me very much of the Martin GC-MMV . I'm pondering the idea of putting gold tuners on it ( like I said , I just loved the look on the Martin GC-MMV )

** So I was thinking if I do put gold tuners on it , should I make them locking tuners ???

** I know locking tuners are not a standard practice on an acoustic .

One member on the UMGF said that the locking tuners on the acoustic would make the tone sound different ( which I doubt ) and may also make the headstock heavy ( which I also doubt ) I've put those thoughts aside

Well , just looking for all your thoughts here regarding locking tuners on an acoustic especially from @mrfixitmi and @radd

** BTW - The Martin GC-MMV was a special run for Guitar Center in 2005 . Hence the name and model number . Martin GC ( Guitar Center ) MMV ( Roman Numeral for 2005 ) oh .... AND IT CAME WITH A CASE TOO AS DID MY D-13e 🤣

Thanks gang
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,818
Santa Cruz
It’s a D-13 Road Series, a nice guitar but not a Martin classic so I think anything goes.

The Martin Forum crowd is an interesting group. Many would never even violate a Martin by putting a strap button on the guitar….Yes, I have read that there.

My take, go for it
 
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mrfixitmi

Country Gent
Mar 20, 2010
1,919
Michigan
Rich,

I don't see why a locking tuner would be a bad idea, they certainly would make string changes easier, and theoretically help make the winding pressure more down into the nut more consistent.
I am glad that you asked, we were going to use the locking Gotoh SD90 MG-T for the custom made acoustic. The reason that we did not go with them is that I preferred the 1:21 gear ratio. I know it seems a contradiction that someone who would want to make string changes easier would prefer more turns to a single rotation, but I would prefer the more finite tuning due to my lack of finate feeling in my hands. The SD90 MG-T with its 15:1 ratio does make sense for easier string changes.
As far as tone goes a locking tuner should give you more consistency when adding the amount of coils when you wind the strings. I have seen some people place a multitude of windings on the winding stem, and other tuners with 1 1/4 turns on others.
The amount of coil above the nut can cause the string to be buried in the nut if there are too many coils on the winding stem, and cause the string to drift if there are too few coils.

I honestly don't know how I used to tune my Cello, because the strings were wound directly on the pegs without gears. Even with the Banjo using 4:1 ratio can be difficult for me now.
 
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thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
26,660
tappan ny
Rich,

I don't see why a locking tuner would be a bad idea, they certainly would make string changes easier, and theoretically help make the winding pressure more down into the nut more consistent.
I am glad that you asked, we were going to use the locking Gotoh SD90 MG-T for the custom made acoustic. The reason that we did not go with them is that I preferred the 1:21 gear ratio. I know it seems a contradiction that someone who would want to make string changes easier would prefer more turns to a single rotation, but I would prefer the more finite tuning due to my lack of finate feeling in my hands. The SD90 MG-T with its 15:1 ratio does make sense for easier string changes.
As far as tone goes a locking tuner should give you more consistency when adding the amount of coils when you wind the strings. I have seen some people place a multitude of windings on the winding stem, and other tuners with 1 1/4 turns on others.
The amount of coil above the nut can cause the string to be buried in the nut if there are too many coils on the winding stem, and cause the string to drift if there are too few coils.

I honestly don't know how I used to tune my Cello, because the strings were wound directly on the pegs without gears. Even with the Banjo suing 4:1 ratio can be difficult for me now.
Yes , as I forgot to mention about easier string change also . Thank you
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,818
Santa Cruz
Oh that's for sure :rolleyes:🤣

So many there obsess on their guitars and and would never do a thing to them that might impact the tone and then there is that guy, Jack. I don’t remember his handle. He toured with Doc Watson for years and he is so down to earth. He brings folks back to reality every once in awhile. Martin’s are meant to be used.
 

Tubes

Electromatic
Sep 26, 2021
14
North
I put locking tuners on my Martin acoustic. The reason was purely easier string change, as I have 10+ guitars and procrastinate every time I have to change strings with standard tuners. I just don't like that small fiddly thing, and my hands aren't that good with small twists and turns. I love locking tuners.

Do they change the sound.. narh, but maybe more the feel a little (to the good side). Do they improve tuning stability.. on some guitars, like my G5129, yes, but on other guitars, no. They never make tuning any worse on any of them, though. On some guitars, I believe, locking tuners also helps balance the guitar better, due to the slight increase of weight on the headstock. I put lockers on all of my guitars, and love'em on the Martin.

Before, I put coated strings on all of them so I didn't have to change strings that often, but the locking tuners have free'd me up to try regular strings more, as I'm not a fan of the feel of coated strings. So they have saved me some money on coated strings, helped me get a better feel on my instruments, and not worry about changing strings more often.

Only win for me.
 
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telemnemonics

Gretschie
Apr 12, 2020
191
Maine
I think locking tuners are a ridiculous trend unless for trem use, but OTOH I prefer split shaft tuners so there are no finger puncturing devices up where you tune the guitar.
Nobody makes split shaft tuners in 3+3 sets so I've actually considered putting lockers on just the GBE side of an acoustic I have that is missing a tuner and I have a used set of gold Sperzels from a 7 string.

IOW, do whatever the heck you want!
 

thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
26,660
tappan ny
I put locking tuners on my Martin acoustic. The reason was purely easier string change, as I have 10+ guitars and procrastinate every time I have to change strings with standard tuners. I just don't like that small fiddly thing, and my hands aren't that good with small twists and turns. I love locking tuners.

Do they change the sound.. narh, but maybe more the feel a little (to the good side). Do they improve tuning stability.. on some guitars, like my G5129, yes, but on other guitars, no. They never make tuning any worse on any of them, though. On some guitars, I believe, locking tuners also helps balance the guitar better, due to the slight increase of weight on the headstock. I put lockers on all of my guitars, and love'em on the Martin.

Before, I put coated strings on all of them so I didn't have to change strings that often, but the locking tuners have free'd me up to try regular strings more, as I'm not a fan of the feel of coated strings. So they have saved me some money on coated strings, helped me get a better feel on my instruments, and not worry about changing strings more often.

Only win for me.
Thank you for the thoughts and post . YES , much easier to change strings as I has locking tuners on my old 5120 . May I ask what brand of locking tuners are in your Martin ?
 

thunder58

Super Moderator
Staff member
Dec 23, 2010
26,660
tappan ny
These look interesting , several plates included for different models too ...but boy are they pricy . Anyone ever use them ?
 

tartanphantom

Friend of Fred
Jul 30, 2008
5,873
Murfreesboro, TN
So heres what I'm talking / thinking about and I did ask this question on the other guitar forum ... no not that forum ....the U.M.G.F. ( Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum )

So years ago I had a Martin GC-MMV Dreadnaught and it was really nice . The one thing I loved about it was it had gold tuners on it and it really looked sharp . So now I have a Martin D-13e road Series that reminds me very much of the Martin GC-MMV . I'm pondering the idea of putting gold tuners on it ( like I said , I just loved the look on the Martin GC-MMV )

** So I was thinking if I do put gold tuners on it , should I make them locking tuners ???

** I know locking tuners are not a standard practice on an acoustic .

One member on the UMGF said that the locking tuners on the acoustic would make the tone sound different ( which I doubt ) and may also make the headstock heavy ( which I also doubt ) I've put those thoughts aside

Well , just looking for all your thoughts here regarding locking tuners on an acoustic especially from @mrfixitmi and @radd

** BTW - The Martin GC-MMV was a special run for Guitar Center in 2005 . Hence the name and model number . Martin GC ( Guitar Center ) MMV ( Roman Numeral for 2005 ) oh .... AND IT CAME WITH A CASE TOO AS DID MY D-13e 🤣

Thanks gang

Those guys on the UMGF are usually the same guys who wouldn't dare touch a "dreadnought" size guitar, because "that's NOT how Christian Frederick Martin built 'em in back in 1861"
😄
😄

and people think Gretsch nuts are weird... we're pikers compared to the Martin purists. Just go back on the UMGF and tell 'em all that "It's OK, I'm only going to put them on my 1929 OM body--"
Then, stand back and watch all the old ladies reach for their smelling salts before fainting...🤣
🤣
 
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