Upgrade tuners set screws before installing them

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Yonatan, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    101
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
    Location:
    Israel
    After reading so many stories here about the heads breaking off (even with pilot holes and wax), I've been avoiding installing the set screws on my first parts build. For play testing it so far i just hand tightened the nut for each tuner, and it stays in tune, but the tuners are a bit crooked. So it's time to install them properly. I've read here that it's best to upgrade the screws, I think someone even suggested to go to a wider diameter. Should I bump up the size from 2mm (#2) to 2.5mm (#3 ) just to give them a bit more strength and lower the chance of breakage? The holes in the tuners seem to be 3mm, so I think that 2.5mm would go through fine.
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    1,121
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
  3. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    5,783
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    Depends on the tuners. Some of the cheap tuners from China come with horrible screws that will break off as soon as they hit hard wood. Had it happen a few times with Wilkinson and GFS parts. Also gotten some neck plates with cheap screws too. Now I pick up my screws at Home Depot and swap them out if I have any concerns. I'd say if you're buying a set of machines for $35 or less you'll save yourself some agony by swapping them out from the get go. Getting part of a screw out of a headstock ain't a fun thing to do.
     
    John Nicholas, middy and Tonetele like this.
  4. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,624
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    Apparently the go-to material for tuner screws is clay! But I usually just use them. Your pilot holes only need to be a tiny amount smaller than the screw threads. All the screws really do is keep them oriented/rotated and looking good. Maple is harder than heck. Tighter isn't better.
    Use a good screw driver that fits properly. Small. If turning too hard the hole isn't big enough!
     
    John Nicholas and Rufus like this.
  5. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    21,312
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    I get new ones, SS from RC supplies shops online...... and use a generous pilot hole in hard maple.... :)
     
    Chunkocaster likes this.
  6. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    959
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    As already stated, Maple is one of the worst woods for snapping these little screws. However my limited experience having built about 3 dozen "ground-up" projects is that you are in no danger of breaking them as long as you don't force them in. The pressure against getting them to seat should not be hard. If it is, open the hole up slightly.
    The purpose of these screws is more to hold the tuner in correct orientation than any real issue of strength. They don't need to be driven in like a lag bolt.
     
    John Nicholas likes this.
  7. reckless meanie

    reckless meanie Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    372
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    Drill a pilot hole and lubricate them with wax, or Vaseline or Chapstick or something. I have used all three and never had any issues.
     
  8. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    384
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Location:
    Iowa
    This.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    21,312
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    I use a small screw driver, a thumb and two fingers.... no shoulder/wrist action..... :)
     
    John Nicholas likes this.
  10. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,037
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Never an issue for me neither. The right size hole, bees wax and a proper size screwdriver. No matter if they were $25 tuners or $100. The tuners aren't going anywhere when the screws are just snug.
     
  11. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    3,786
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Location:
    Denmark
    Measure between the threads , drill appropriate sized pilot hole. As said , lube screws. Go through your screwdrivers , find the one that fits the head the best.
    I only use Gotoh tuners these days , they all ways come with decent screws
     
    Tonetele likes this.
  12. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,789
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    South Australia
    Ditto. Have used only Gotoh for years- no problems.
     
  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    11,089
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    I'm not sure if you're talking about the skanky little screws that come with the tuning keys, or the saddle's setscrews or the bridge mounting screws..

    I always replace the mounting screws on them all with Stainless.... the screws packaged with most bridges are the cheapest available.. and easily broken,, with the exception of Callaham and Glendale.. and other very high quality pieces.. they use the same Stainless screws I do..

    "you" can usually get what ya need around the corner from your Helpful Hardware Man.... and that's easier than drilling out a broken screw, plugging, and redoing it...

    and if he doesn't have them. McMaster-Carr does..

    r
     
    John Nicholas and middy like this.
  14. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    101
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
    Location:
    Israel
    Thanks all, so properly sized pilot holes, wax, and not too much force.

    But if I do upgrade the screws, should I jump up from 2mm to 2.5mm? Or is it unnecessary?
     
  15. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    72
    Posts:
    11,089
    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville, FL
    Stay with the same size.. and use a new screwdriver... old drivers can booger the screw heads... and if this is your first rodeo... take a piece of cardboard.. punch a hole through it large enough for the screw head.. and use it as a shield as you're running the screw in.. the first time the screwdriver slips out of the slot, you will be thanking me for that free advice... after there 3rd of 4th time You will be nominating me for Deity status... :p


    rk
     
  16. Rufus

    Rufus Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,286
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    NW Atlanta
    A few years ago, I was prescient enough (uncharacteristically) to order a couple of dozen Stainless Steel headstock tuner screws for future use...from Callaham, I believe. Great product!

    Nothing worse than those cheap Chinese zinc screws where the Phillips head strips out after a few turns...

    As always, drill pilot holes and use a lubricant.
     
  17. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Awesome advice!!

    Never saw this before, but will be doing this from now on!!
     
  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    1,121
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2018
    Location:
    Washington
    Yonatan, I just happened to be screwing some tuners on a bass and took this picture

    IMG_5423.JPG

    I've clamped the little square across a straight part of the tuner to line it up with the side and the other tuners. The white and green things are those StewMac mini bits with depth stops. My screws have a fat section below the head that is the same diameter as the OD of the threads - the green counter sink drills that part of the hole. The white counter sink is the full length of the screw and is approximately the diameter of the root (small diameter) of the threads. Drilled this way the screw cuts the threads into the wood with no binding. These were some stock screws out of a bag from Allparts - just a hair shorter than the thickness of the head.

    Oh, good quality screw driver that fits the heads and the little quick clamps not only hold the square in place but also supports the neck off the work bench - remember that the tuners are poking thru the other side.
     
    brandonh likes this.
  19. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,615
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Location:
    Merseyside UK
    I use the ultra cautious approach with part threaded screws as per diagram. A digital caliper is useful for measuring small screws.

    Machine_head_screw_drilling.jpg
     
    brandonh likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.