Replacing tuners on a MIM Strat

Bkamp77

New Member!
Oct 9, 2017
1
Sebring
Has anyone tried drilling out the holes bigger on the head for locking tuners? I bought the guitar from Sam Ash in the late 90's and it has 70's style tuners. It looks like the factory holes are 5/16" and everything I have found need a 10mm hole.
Thanks
 

vid1900

Most Honored Senior Member
Nov 25, 2016
9,505
Yemen
Since it sounds like you have never enlarged a hole in finished wood before.

Make sure you use a BRAND NEW bit, that one in the bottom of your grandfathers tool box will splinter your wood.

Make sure you have scrap wood clamped to the headstock, especially the exit, or your hole will totally blow out.
 

Hammer 4

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 26, 2013
3,846
So. Calif.
Put some masking tape on the back of the headstock, that will help eliminate any chipping when the drill bit goes through..;)
 

Mr. Lumbergh

needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too.
Jan 10, 2014
27,261
Initech, Inc.
DO NOT USE A DRILL FOR THIS! USE A REAMER!
A drill will gouge and chip your finish unless you have a drill press and are able to anchor your headstock to the plate somehow. It doesn't matter how new the bit is, if you try doing this with a hand drill it'll grab and pull away from you before you can control it.
Ask me how I know. [emoji20]
Take it slow with a reamer.
 

railroadman

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 24, 2012
1,031
N.J.
All good advice above if you use a drill, but if you use a reamer you greatly reduce the risk of chipping, and eliminate blow out.

My 2 cents worth: I wouldn't even think about using a conventional drill bit for this- I think there'd be a huge risk of splitting the wood if the bit catches, especially on the top and bottom holes. Maybe if you had a razor-sharp bit, and went real slow, with a drill press...

Short of that, I'd urge you to take Ebidis advice, and use a reamer.

If you're dead-set on drilling, I'd suggest a step drill bit- no flutes to catch in the wood.

Edit: was typing this out while @Mr. Lumbergh posted his similar advice, above.
 

Vindibona1

Most Honored Senior Member
My advice...
DO NOT CHANGE OUT THE TUNERS! Change them at your own peril!

Most people don't realize how much the vintage tuners are responsible for that original Strat vibe. That's because they have much less mass than locking or standard tuners the tonal nodes on the guitar act totally differently. If you go from vintage tuner to locking tuners you run the risk of changing the personality of your guitar.

If soundcloud were working I could demonstate how that all works. To illustrate that, my new Taylor 814ceDLX is an extremely light weight acoustic. It has a nice, broad, balanced sound. But should I place a standard capo on the headstock, then entire personality of the guitar changes, getting deeper with more distinct bass. Essentially the same thing will happen with a Strat. Fender has a product called a "Fat Finger" that you clamp onto the headstock to increase the mass and change the tonal nodes. Same principle as described above.

Additionally, unless you're changing to locking tuners because of heavy whammy bar use, IMO there is no advantage whatsoever from changing out split shaft tuners. I can change strings just as fast with the vintage tuners. There is no good tuner that won't stay in tune of strung properly. So again... I urge you to consider the reasons for changing out your tuners before you do it.

Good luck.
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
17,973
KC
If you do use a conventional drill bit as I do make sure that you do NOT use a hand drill but use a drill press and put a block of wood under the headstock where you are going to drill...keeps the bit from chipping the back of the hole. plus move VERY SLOWLY. I know that there are plenty here that will disagree with me but it can be done even you just need to be very careful doing it.
 

Vindibona1

Most Honored Senior Member
They will be Much heavier.But I did it and love 'em.

As some people will. If you're not going for that Jimi/Stevie Ray Strat vibe locking tuners will beef up the sound. I have lockers on three Strats and to be honest, in retrospect I'd rather have gone the other way; from standard tuners to vintage. I had a Modern Player with split shaft vintage and was the best sounding of all of my Strats. Sadly it had a defective truss rod and Fender took it back but was unable to replace it with a Modern Player (but sent me a MIM which is now for sale).
 

Boris Bubbanov

Most Honored Senior Member
Dec 3, 2007
8,302
in New Orleans' past
My advice...

I agree that a vintage style, split shaft tuning machine is excellent medicine EXCEPT

First I am assuming this is 70s style but still a '90s guitar. Those machines are the die cast splits with the diamond shaped stamped steel cover, in chrome, and they're not good IMO at all. You want something like a Gotoh rectangular body split - nickel plate, like a 1966 and older guitar would have.

And to do that, you would want to ream out to 10.0 mm and use conversion bushes, and the Gotohs in the Allparts catalog, TK 0880.
 

BryMelvin

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2014
1,098
AZ
I agree that a vintage style, split shaft tuning machine is excellent medicine EXCEPT

First I am assuming this is 70s style but still a '90s guitar. Those machines are the die cast splits with the diamond shaped stamped steel cover, in chrome, and they're not good IMO at all. You want something like a Gotoh rectangular body split - nickel plate, like a 1966 and older guitar would have.

And to do that, you would want to ream out to 10.0 mm and use conversion bushes, and the Gotohs in the Allparts catalog, TK 0880.


Reading this I' thinking he has those "F"tuners. I still wouldn't change them. Unless they are physically broken. All those old tuners had steel or brass gears so there was a little bit of lash. Most modern tuners have Nylon or TFE interference fit gears so they FEEL better but really are no better as they have no lash but slight flex.

Jut always tune up and you will be fine unless they are actually worn out and have a spot where the wear won't let you keep it there !
 

sjtalon

Most Honored Senior Member
Oct 27, 2006
5,102
Upper Peninsula-Michigan
>Most people don't realize how much the vintage tuners are responsible for that original Strat vibe. That's because they have much less mass than locking or standard tuners the tonal nodes on the guitar act totally differently. If you go from vintage tuner to locking tuners you run the risk of changing the personality of your guitar. <

>As some people will. If you're not going for that Jimi/Stevie Ray Strat vibe locking tuners will beef up the sound. I have lockers on three Strats and to be honest, in retrospect I'd rather have gone the other way; from standard tuners to vintage. I had a Modern Player with split shaft vintage and was the best sounding of all of my Strats. Sadly it had a defective truss rod and Fender took it back but was unable to replace it with a Modern Player (but sent me a MIM which is now for sale).<

Tuners to a tone debate :confused:
 


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