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Thread: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

  1. #1
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    Default High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    My old Flatiron F-5 had a set of Golden Age tuners that have driven me crazy for the two years I’ve had it. It seemed like I was never really in tune and getting as close as I could was always a prolonged struggle. So much so that I was constantly messing with my bridge or changing strings more than necessary out of frustration. The Golden Age tuners were true buzzkills (wrong word - replacing them eliminated a sharp buzz whenever I fretted the E string at the fifth fret).

    Last week I finally replaced them with a set of Schaller GrandTunes, and they are truly superb. They have completely transformed my instrument by making smooth tuning easy and by staying — really staying — in tune. They don’t creep at all, for days, it seems. The action is super velvety smooth and identical on all buttons.

    NFI here. I paid full freight at Luthier’s Mercantile. I’ve never used a set of the modern Waverlys that are considered by many to be the benchmark or the gorgeous Alessis, so I’m unable to compare, but if they’re functionally better than the GrandTunes I’d be amazed. And the GrandTunes are about $150 compared to $550 for the Waverlys, so there’s that.

    I’ve had Grovers, older Schallers, vintage Waverlys on old Gibsons, Klusons, and the Golden Ages previously mentioned. There is absolutely no comparison between any of these and the Schallers.

    On the downside for many potential users might be the fact that these do not adhere to a strict vintage or traditional look. No fancy engraving and the trademark S on the cogs might offend some. Also, buttons are not replaceable by screwing new ones on and not many choices of material. What they do have is a fit and finish so excellent that I was surprised by how gemlike they were when I opened the box. The gears look like they were made to aerospace specifications. Interestingly, they seem to have very little backlash. The humidity blew up here in Vermont and when the top swelled and raised the string pitches the ones I dropped into tune pretty much stayed there.

    True quality. If you’re looking for tuners, don’t leave these off your list. I had no idea a set of tuners could make such a colossal difference. Oliver Apitius wrote about these here. He seems equally smitten. These are the tuners on the Aaron Weinstein Yorkville jazz mandolin Mr. Apitius built for him. Aaron seems likewise as pleased with them as he is with the rest of that stunning build.

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    Sorry the pictures aren’t loading vertically, for some reason the site is forcing them to load sideways. As a consolation, here’s a picture of little Pokey, AKA The Snow Goat, AAKA The Ice Weasel, just because she’s a sweetheart.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Thanks for posting your review. Especially like Pokey.

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  5. #3

    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    I thought Schaller Grand Tuners were reverse tuners. Do they do them in 'normal turn' as well?

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy powells View Post
    I thought Schaller Grand Tuners were reverse tuners. Do they do them in 'normal turn' as well?
    Yes. I have a set I put on my Eastman mandocello to replace the ugly (but functional) OEM tuners. All the metal hardware on the 'cello was gold (except the tuners) and they had pearloid buttons which just scream cheap ass to me. So I bought a set of Schaller Grand Tune f-style gold tuners with ebony buttons. They work great and look better.

    My Martin HD-28 came supplied with Schaller Grand Tune's. Work great and all, but they had chrome buttons. As stated earlier, buttons are glued on and not necessarily est to swap. So I bought a set of Waverly's during Stew Mac's big sale with nickel finish and ebony knobs. Then I got skittish about pressing out the old Schaller bushings, reaming the headstock and pressing in new Waverly bushings. So I bought a set of Schaller Grand Tune's with snake wood buttons that dropped right in and match the headstock wood better. They also work flawlessly.

    Normal CCW to raise pitch, CW to lower on every set of Schaller's I've had. You can order them backwards if you want.

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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    I agree. I just installed Schallers on my Red Diamond. They are smoother than the Waverly's I had on for a little bit. I ordered directly from Schaller in Germany and received them in just a couple weeks.
    Chris from Tucson
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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    I've been severely tempted by these tuners as a replacement for my 2002 F-9's Schallers. The only reason I've held off is that I read lots about proper installation including proper spacing and also setting the bushings properly, both operations which I do not have proper tools for.

    The old ca 2002 Schallers had one tuner button shaft replaced previous to my ownership, with a longer-than-normal shaft, but other than that they are working well enough. But personally I tend to drool over this upgrade.

    To the OP, could you describe the installation process that was required on your Flatiron? TIA.
    -- Don

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    [About how I tune my mandolins]
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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    My mate Rab swears by them.
    He wrote to Schaller requesting some tuner bits and pieces for a restoration he was doing and they were very helpful.
    Bren

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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy powells View Post
    I thought Schaller Grand Tuners were reverse tuners. Do they do them in 'normal turn' as well?
    From what I understand, Schaller seems to call them the wrong thing. They are standard tuners. Check the gear direction in the pictures and compare to your current tuners. I read complaints about Schaller using what some say is a European nomenclature that has it turned around.

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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post

    To the OP, could you describe the installation process that was required on your Flatiron? TIA.
    The post spacing is standard at 23 mm, so they’ll fit. On my Flatiron there were unfilled screw holes from the original Grovers under the additional holes for the Golden Ages. They had to be filled as did the holes from the Golden Age, which uses much larger screws. The other modification was a slight enlargement of the bushing holes to the Schaller outer diameter, which is a tiny bit wider.

    But since you have Schallers, I would recommend going to their website and looking up the drawings of your existing tuners and the Grandtunes. The drawings with the dimensions are all on the product pages for each tuner. Maybe they’ll turn out to be the same and you can just swap them easily. I would have done that, but since the bushings needed to be accommodated and new screw holes pilot drilled I found a local luthier. He did it while I walked the Ice Weasel for an hour. Truly worth it.

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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Left out of my original post that I have Rubners on an A-5. They’re great, but the GrandTunes blow them away hands down.

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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Their Preceding tuners worked fine, I have several A & 1 F tuner of theirs..
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    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    99% of perceived tuners failures are failures in setup or their installation. I've seen some very expensive mandolins with badly damaged tuners because of bad installation. These new tuners like Waverlies and Schaller GT's are a bit more rugged so they will probalbly take longer to show damage. Not that it is case of OP, but foks often swap tuners unnecessarily. Things like slipping tuners etc. are red herring.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    99% of perceived tuners failures are failures in setup or their installation. I've seen some very expensive mandolins with badly damaged tuners because of bad installation. These new tuners like Waverlies and Schaller GT's are a bit more rugged so they will probalbly take longer to show damage. Not that it is case of OP, but foks often swap tuners unnecessarily. Things like slipping tuners etc. are red herring.
    Agreed. But not in this case. The previous tuners were determined to be faulty by an extremely trustworthy am experienced luthier.

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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    I got a set. I think their nice but like every other Schaller product the bushings are their own weird size unlike any other.

  22. #15
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    Stew Mac Sells the Grommet bushings that are more traditional.. It's what the Waverly kit includes , I believe..
    so using the Schaller ones is Optional ..
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  23. #16
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    Default Re: High marks for Schaller GrandTunes

    I went with the grommet style bushings for a while until it dawned on me that modern bushings are a huge improvement over the old timey ones. They were more decoration than anything else. I think I still have a bag of them.

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