I'm building some Christmas Spec Ukes but can't decide what to do about the tuners.

I find three options-- guitar style machined heads, standard metal thru-shafts or planetary gears.

Customers don't like 1/1 friction tuners, though with thin shafts their more than adequate witih nylon strings.

Planetary gears look the best and are more ergonomic, but are expensive.

The standard worm drive tuners are cheap, but I don't care much for the look and dread the thought of bringing nylon strings up to pitch around a thin shaft at the standard 14/1 gear ratio. I'd expect it to take an afternoon.

So I wondered what others might say about this. Are there lower gear worm/pinion style tuners, perhaps with 3/8 rollers? Is it really a big deal installing nylon strings on standard steel string tuners. Any recommendations?

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I use Grover Mini tuners Tom, go to page 59 in Stu-Macs Catalog at the top of the page you will fine them . Bill.............

I use standard friction tuners. They work fine. They have the right look too.

I personally prefer the look of uke pegs that stick out the back of the peghead like the old ukes, not out to the side like a guitar or the recent imported ukes. The Grovers work well and I have no tuning trouble with the 1:1 ratio. Attached is a concert koa uke I just made.

seems to me a Schaller violin like friction peg that is actually stationary with interior shaft would be the best of both worlds for a uke...surely they exist?

Hamsom, thanks for the pic; I like the way you resolved the headstock to the neck shaft and will probably steal it.
I'm with you on posterior post orientation. Even the thought of contorting the wrist to tune the trebles on a standard steel string guitar makes me wince.

I've discovered this about most guitarists: they want gears for accuracy, but they seem to hate tools and anything mechanical. Perhaps they should, for the sake of their hands. It seems a red light flashes inside their head when they glimpse a screw; they think "uh-oh, trouble." It's a pre-concious, Freudian thing, I think. (I'm no psychologist but given the years I spent on the couch, I could be. The only test I ever managed to pass was a Rorschach, and now they say they're bogus.)

Their fine with standard guitar machines, familiar as they are. But I think they'll curse us every time they have to break in a new set of strings. Two things could remedy this: a lower gear ratio, say 1 to 8 or 10, and/or a nylon style roller. But I'm not aware of anything like that on the market.
Here's an update:
Last night I took the plunge and ordered two sets of Pegheads from CraftedCow.
Their website is (Note the .net;"com" takes you to the inventor, Chuck Herin's site.)

Still curious about anything else, though.


 I have Ukes with both friction pegs and standard tuners. I like the look of pegs but REALLY hate tuning with friction pegs. I don't find that changing strings is really that much harder with the geared tuners. Uke strings are going to stretch... FORRRREVVVVERRRRR no matter what tuner you use.  Even if it's is a bit more trouble to get them stretched to pitch on geared tuners, it's easier to keep them up to pitch on those over the long haul. Give me geared tuners any day.  

I think the question of which looks better probably depends on your clients but I think that standard geared tuners are prevalent enough on uke's now that  they don't look so odd anymore. Personally, if I were buying one, my choice would be to have some decent quality but standard design tuners and put the extra money in my pocket or other materials. 


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