I'm working on a customer's turn-of-of-the-20th century guitar. It's not labeled, but it is stamped on the back of the slotted peghead with "Favorite". It looks like it might be a Bay State. I'm looking for a set of usable tuning machines that will fit. The string shafts are 1/4" diameter and are spaced 1 1/4" apart. Again, it is a slotted peghead. Anyone have any leads? Thanks in advance!

Tags: Guitar, Head, Parlor, Slot

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What's wrong with the machines that are on it?  They appear to be in pretty good shape.  George

The gears on the 1st string tuner are so worn they jump before the string comes up to pitch. All the parts are attached to the plates "rivet-style" and I even if I took it apart, finding replacement parts would be as difficult as finding a replacement set. The owner would be ok with a new "relic" set, but the string shaft spacing isn't available as far as I know. (StewMac)


Glenn,  These have the right spacing, and look very similar.  However, before changing them out, I would go over Paul Hostetter's tutorial about older machines.  I believe that you could take advantage of the riveting and tighten up the joint between the plate and the brass bearing that holds the stem.  It may also be possible to gently tap that same bearing closer to the gear.  Finally, the string shafts are often two pieces, with an outer sleeve over a solid core.  They are held together by a small pin.  Removing the pin allows them to separate, and also allows the gear to be removed from the plate.  It is then possible to soft solder a bushing into the plate.  ( Those brass tubes from the hobby shop work well.)


Addendum:  This guy has a lot of information about Bay State Guitars.  You may want to run it by him.           "Charles Robinson" <>

Thanks for the tips, George. I was able to make a little anvil to rest the round side of the bearings in and tap them tight again. There is enough play between the tuning shaft and the upper bearing that I could slip a piece of .005 shimming material into the gap. I also filed the gear teeth to remove the little ramps that had formed when it jumped. But, when I put string tension on it, it went closer to pitch, but still jumped over when it got around to the worn part of the ring. The string shafts are hollow and pinned to the ring gear shafts. There's a little play there, but I think the problem lies in the worm/ring gear and the wear that's already occurred. So...I guess it's best chance is to fit the used set you have. what do you think would be a fair price you'd accept to part with them? BTW, I looked Paul's profile page, and his discussions, but couldn't find the one about tuning machines.  There's a ton of good info on this site and I'll have to take some time and look around some more.

Glenn,  I was thinking more in terms of moving the gear on the string shaft closer to the worm gear.   It may be necessary to solder in a solid piece of brass, and then re-drill a new hole closer to the worm gear.  This is a fairly common procedure when repairing antique weight driven clocks.  It also helps to get all the grunge out of the gears.  I usually use acetone if the knobs aren't plastic or celluloid.  I then follow Paul's advice and use Tri-Flow as a dry lubricant. 

There isn't really any debris in the gears. They look as tho the were run dry for many years, the shaft surfaces are pocked from rust, etc. I agree with you and Paul and only use Tri-flo on tuners. I see what you mean about getting the ring gear closer to the worm and if the wear was even around the gears like it would be in a clock, it might work, but there's a couple of teeth on the worm that are worn drastically where it's been jumping over. If I were to make it tight enough to hold there I think it will bind up around the rest of the gear. Most of the play is in the tuning shaft bearings. I had a bearing break off the rivets on an old Grover open back that was on my '46 000-28 years ago and I made a replica from a brass key :^) it's still working, but the rest of the machine set was in good shape so it was worth the effort. Besides, it is my guitar so I wasn't concerned with how much time I put into trying to save it.This set is pretty tired all over and if I can get a replacement and the owner is ok with the cost, it would be a much better outcome.



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