New Tuners for Bass Larger than Originals

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by The Zesus, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. The Zesus

    The Zesus TDPRI Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    The Background:
    A friend of mine owns a Korean made Lakland bass. The original tuning machines are of poor quality and recently a second string post snapped off within the tuner body. He contacted Lakland and was sent a complimentary set of Hipshot Ultra-lite tuners used on their American made basses.

    The Problem:
    Both the tuner bushing and the string post shaft diameters are greater than that of the original tuners. The tuner bushings are marginally larger than the originals while the string post shafts are significantly larger than the originals, so much so that if the headstock holes were reamed to accept the new bushings and the tuners installed, the strings would angle slightly (1-2 degrees dependent on the tuner) from the nut to the inside of each string post. With the original tuners there is no deflection of the string from nut to string post.

    The Question:
    Would reaming the headstock holes, installing the new tuners, and having a new nut made with string slots cut so that string deflection from nut to string post is zero create any noticeable problems for the player? Are the tolerances on a bass so exact that there would be intonation issues on the lower frets and such a change in string spacing at the nut that things would feel off for the player?

    I have the tools to ream the headstock and install the new tuners. I don’t have the tools to plug and drill new headstock holes in order to relocate the tuners and use the existing nut. A new nut would have to be made by a luthier.

    My friend is looking for the cheapest and least invasive fix. He doesn’t know of a luthier he trusts and is afraid of someone screwing up his bass. He is considering buying a new neck to avoid the emotional toll of letting someone he doesn’t know drill holes in the original.

    I can take measurements of the two different string post diameters and each tuner-nut distance if that information would be helpful.

  2. megafiddle

    megafiddle Former Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    1 or 2 degrees should not be a problem at all.

    The strings on my Gibson SG bass are all angled where they head towards
    the tuners. The two with the largest angle are about 4 degrees. The slots
    are straight, and in line with the strings over the fretboard.

    The only change I might make to the nut, would be to round off the back edge
    of the slot slightly, where the string breaks over it and angles toward the tuner.
    And only if the string was not moving smoothly through the slot.

    Many acoustics have straight slots and strings that angle off the slot towards
    the tuners also.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.