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Thread: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

  1. #26
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Almost!
    You got two of them wrong.
    My summary would be they all are supposed to be worm "under" tuners which is modern standard for F style mandolins. Thes should sport right handed worms to turn the correct direction for tuning up/down. For some reason only 3 out of seven turn the correct way. BTW, they are all on the darker brown background. The rest are just wrong - I would reserve term reverse for "worm above" tuners that necessarily have reversed worms (left hand).
    For me the four wrong tuners are unusable - no serious musician I know would want to tune up in wrong direction. In this case they could be saved by reassembling into "worm above" as the "tabs" are not peened but bolted to the base plate and be used on the few mandolins requiring that style...
    Now you see the level of confusion right from the producer.
    To confuse it more, Schaller (the producer) used to call tuners with right hand worms reverse and tuners with left hand worm standard (because their standard guitar tuners are such). US' vendors nomenclature was exactly opposite. Rubner being also non-US company doesn't seem to know much about arch top mandolins.
    Adrian

  2. #27
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Thanks Adrian!

    I agree, there is no place in the world for tuners that tune in the wrong direction! Why would anyone want the so called “reverse tuning”? Worse yet, why confuse the customers with this terminology?

    I think the following terminology should be adopted and everyone, especially the manufacturers, should forget about “reverse anything”!

    Only worm under with Right-hand spiral OR worm over with Left-hand spiral tune correctly.

    We are in agreement, Adrian, now the rest of the world needs to get on-board!

    I went back and looked at the details and now see that the tuner in Picture #6 has a Left-hand spiral, so it tunes the wrong direction. I don’t see the other that you said I got wrong. This leaves numbers 1, 3 and 5 as tuning in the correct direction or CCW to raise pitch. Indeed these are the tuners on the darker backgrounds.

    I’ve updated the photo. Does this now agree with you?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mark
    Last edited by MarkELynch; Apr-16-2021 at 9:18pm.
    Mark Lynch

  3. #28
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Schaller got it right on this set of tuners being discussed in an adjacent thread. Now they just need to fix the nomenclature.

    Next quiz: What does Schaller call this configuration and why should we abandon their nomenclature? What is a better way to describe it? :<)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mark
    Mark Lynch

  4. #29
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Mark, I was wrong you had only one incorrect.
    Schaller should be careful now that their new tuners cannot be reassembled (at least without special tools).
    Adrian

  5. #30
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    I hope I’m not beating a dead horse here...

    Here is another example of replacement tuners being mounted upside down on a nice old Gibson A2Z for sale.

    The listing has carefully pointed out the tuners are replacement and that they tune backwards but seems to be describing them as a feature. Even a desirable feature.

    “The tuning gears are reverse Stew Mac Repro gears”

    Perhaps what it should say is that (without being unkind)

    “Stew Mac doesn’t make a set with the correct gearing, so we just just mounted the replacements upside down instead. They tune backwards, so what?”

    It is a pity that correctly geared low priced reproduction tuner sets are not available. Perhaps the market just doesn’t exist.

    To recap what we’ve learned so far, in order for the buttons to turn the normal way:
    1. Worm under tuners require a Right Hand worm spiral
    2. Worm above tuners require a Left Hand worm spiral.

    Quiz: What tuner configuration is mounted on this A2Z? (Hint, it in neither 1. nor 2. above)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mark Lynch

  6. #31
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Most old A's with longer post spacing had "worm under" tuners but modern A style tuners have been worm over. The post Loar A's had "worm over" so modern tuners should work on these unless the post spacing is long. I guess there was transitional period when they usel long spacing worm over tuners where you can either redrill holes in headstock to accept modern spacing or use the repro tuners upside down.

    BTW, I think there is market for the "wrong" tuners that cannot be reassembled into one of the two "corect" configs. LEFT HANDED mandolins! If I'm correct they have to tune in opposite direction (from their point of view)
    Adrian

  7. #32
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    The tuners on my Gibson turn backwards. I put new tuners on something like 20+ years ago when there was nothing that fit so I cut the tuner plates at the screw holes allowing a fit for the posts, but they lined up better with the screw holes the other way and I never minded tuning backward. I don't play it much these days, but still automatically tune backwards with no problem.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  8. #33
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Here is a set of modern Waverly's from Stew-Mac. Who can tell me what is going on here. (the tarnish is not it) Hint, there is something wrong about them and right about them.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  9. #34
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    Here is a set of modern Waverly's from Stew-Mac. Who can tell me what is going on here. (the tarnish is not it) Hint, there is something wrong about them and right about them.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I see A style tuners designed for worm under (looking at worm direction) with arrow end plates that would be "replica" for Loar era snakehead BUT those had only three mounting screws. This set has five.
    Is that correct?
    Adrian

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  11. #35
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    I've mentioned it many times in the past. The old style of Schaller machines came in what they called forward and reverse tuning. The great thing about them is that you can completely disassemble either and reconfigure them to fit any needs- change the shaft orientations, worm over / worm under, et cetera such that there is NEVER any reason to redrill anything like a vintage snakehead A because the holes do not line up. You can get the tuning direction you desire and have everything line up fine with no modifications.

    Depending upon the supplier, the configuration nomenclature was always confusing, so I would usually find someone who had both options and buy a double set. Once things were working well on the mandolin, I never had any trouble returning the unused model.

    The whole idea that the shaft pulls away from the worm gear when under string tension is a joke to the rest of the instrument world and an odd historic anomaly that seems to have stuck with mandolins. Any first year engineering student understands that you'll get a much better mechanical meshing if the string tension pulls everything tighter, not apart. Imagine if the harder you drove your sports car, the more the transmission gears pulled apart.

    As for Darryl's photo: too many holes, shouldn't the outside border line be "squiggly", on some the gear screw is a dark black steel, and some redneck overcooked them on the barbeque for too long....

  12. #36
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    The whole idea that the shaft pulls away from the worm gear when under string tension is a joke to the rest of the instrument world and an odd historic anomaly that seems to have stuck with mandolins. Any first year engineering student understands that you'll get a much better mechanical meshing if the string tension pulls everything tighter, not apart. Imagine if the harder you drove your sports car, the more the transmission gears pulled apart.
    Every gear is designed and machined for EXACT distance between axes of rotation of components, be it gear wheels or worms. The shape of teeth is based on exact geometry and meshing is correct without unwanted friction when everything is exact. Whenever the distance is not exact lower or greater you get bed meshing of gear. If you push the gears together you will get more friction and that means less than optimal performance and premature wear of whole gear if you pull them apart you'll get poor meshing and play and spot wear of the gears. Both are bad.
    In tuners the whole ide of string tension pulling gears tighter or apart is red herring. When properly attached to headstock the post is firmly held in the hole of the tuner plate and resting against the bushing on upper end (while being perpendicular to the plate). Unless the original machining was sloppy (and I haven't noticed really sloppy machining even in some of the low end machines) these two points of contact will hold the gears at their designed distance (within accetable precision) no matter which direction the string tension acts. When properly installed even tuners with simple pressed sheet brass plates can hold for many decades before the hole in plate wears to slightly oval or the post diameter wears down smaller at the contact spot (the contact spot in metal bushings is much larger and rarely shows any significant wear plus they are easy to replace if needed). Anyway, if the tuners are 100% correctly installed there is no differecne in worm under or worm over performance whatsoever.
    But once the installation is not correct you can get tight tuners (especially worm over - folks sometimes relieve the friction by loosening the screw holding wheel on post) or loose tuners with poor meshing (on worm under tuners) that will sooner or later start wearing tips of teeth and skipping. There's a bunch of other sypmtoms that show the tuners are badly installed.
    If there is too much space in bushings and tuners mounted too far up (ill-mounted tuners) allowing the strings pull the tuner posts out of alignment (leaning towards nut) then the whole gear mesh goes out of window as this actually ROTATES the wheel out of alignment with worm center of rotation being the contact point in the tuner plate. Older tuners had wheels cut with simple machinery and the teeth were more or less straight so they somehow tolerated this but they do wear unevenly over time... etc.
    Adrian

  13. #37
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Wolfe View Post
    Here is a set of modern Waverly's from Stew-Mac. Who can tell me what is going on here. (the tarnish is not it) Hint, there is something wrong about them and right about them.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Those tuners are only moderately modern, as they are from pre-2005, when Stew-Mac changed the plate design and width (to the vintage 16.4 mms). And, of course, the five screw holes and the modern worm/gear/bearing arrangement catch the eye. Is the string post spacing somewhat custom (like on your F5)? Just guessing.

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  15. #38
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    Every gear is designed and machined for EXACT distance between axes of rotation of components, be it gear wheels or worms. The shape of teeth is based on exact geometry and meshing is correct without unwanted friction when everything is exact. Whenever the distance is not exact lower or greater you get bed meshing of gear. If you push the gears together you will get more friction and that means less than optimal performance and premature wear of whole gear if you pull them apart you'll get poor meshing and play and spot wear of the gears. Both are bad.
    In tuners the whole ide of string tension pulling gears tighter or apart is red herring. When properly attached to headstock the post is firmly held in the hole of the tuner plate and resting against the bushing on upper end (while being perpendicular to the plate). Unless the original machining was sloppy (and I haven't noticed really sloppy machining even in some of the low end machines) these two points of contact will hold the gears at their designed distance (within accetable precision) no matter which direction the string tension acts. When properly installed even tuners with simple pressed sheet brass plates can hold for many decades before the hole in plate wears to slightly oval or the post diameter wears down smaller at the contact spot (the contact spot in metal bushings is much larger and rarely shows any significant wear plus they are easy to replace if needed). Anyway, if the tuners are 100% correctly installed there is no differecne in worm under or worm over performance whatsoever.
    But once the installation is not correct you can get tight tuners (especially worm over - folks sometimes relieve the friction by loosening the screw holding wheel on post) or loose tuners with poor meshing (on worm under tuners) that will sooner or later start wearing tips of teeth and skipping. There's a bunch of other sypmtoms that show the tuners are badly installed.
    If there is too much space in bushings and tuners mounted too far up (ill-mounted tuners) allowing the strings pull the tuner posts out of alignment (leaning towards nut) then the whole gear mesh goes out of window as this actually ROTATES the wheel out of alignment with worm center of rotation being the contact point in the tuner plate. Older tuners had wheels cut with simple machinery and the teeth were more or less straight so they somehow tolerated this but they do wear unevenly over time... etc.


    Nope.

    A someone who has worked as a machinist, engineer, and luthier, I respectfully disagree with you.

  16. #39
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Nope.
    Would you mind to expand?
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Hi Adrian,

    Can you give us some more clues? The right hand worm spiral looks correct for worm under mounting.

    Mark
    Mark Lynch

  18. #41
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkELynch View Post
    Hi Adrian,

    Can you give us some more clues? The right hand worm spiral looks correct for worm under mounting.

    Mark
    If you ask about the last pic posted by Darryl the tuners themselves are ok as worm under tuners go but if they were meant to replace Loar era snakehead tuners (which this configuration fits) they have two too many mounting holes. The snake tuners had only three mounting screws per plate. GIbson used worm under tuners on mandolins until 1925 or so when they all went to worm above (with left hand worm) that became the modern "standard" for a style tuners.
    Adrian

  19. #42
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Hi folks, I apologize for forgetting about my post. The tuners I posted is a set of custom ordered worm under A-model Waverly's. Unfortunately for some reason the normal A-model Waverly's are worm over with glued on pearl buttons and no retaining screw. McRostie and company at Stew Mac were nice enough to special assemble this set using the F-model parts but using all the same length shafts. As someone mentioned, yes they are the original thicker plate variety and those tended to tarnish in an odd fashion. These tuners are brand new in the box and that is the way they now look. I am pretty sure I can come up with a method to simply remove the tarnish, but I have not made the effort yet.

    Now, with respect to the 3 hole and 5 hole stuff. There are worm under F-style silver plated original Loar tuners in both 3 hole and 5 hole style. It appears that when the spacing changed to modern spacing they added the extra holes. Generally speaking mid 23 and back seems to have the odd older spacing and most all 24 Loars have the new spacing. I cannot verify that the number of holes aligns with the change, but it seems to.
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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  20. #43
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worm under, Worm over? A visual guide.

    Worm over/worm under, and the gears being pulled together or apart. REF: Hogo and Condino posts and differing opinions.

    I agree with both posts. They both make sense. I have always thought it better mechanically for worms to be over and get to experience the gears being pulled together. However, that thought has seemingly been disproven by my experience with tuners. I find more faulty worm over tuners than worm under. This is always due to premature wear on the worm and a big "lump" hard to turn spot in one of the shafts.

    Another thing I notice is that many of the string posts have a flange at the base where it meets the plate, and the gears are somewhat press fitted to the string post. I mention this because there is a lack of interchangeability going on. You cannot just change out short string posts for longer Gibson ones in most cases. I have a drawer full of eBay found arrow-end and bump-end tuners that I wish I could swap stuff around and create whatever I need. But more often than not something is made differently on this set than that set. Even the height and profile of the cluster gear has multiple variations
    Darryl G. Wolfe, The F5 Journal
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