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Thread: Tuning Machine Knobs

  1. #1

    Default Tuning Machine Knobs

    So this seems like a silly question that is very obvious, but someone will know the answer to it.

    I've got a mandolin that I'm satisfied with it's tuning machines except for one detail: they are pearl buttons when I would prefer black ones.

    I've seen many buttons online, so I'm curious if it is an easy switch or if I need to be careful about ordering the wrong brand (IE. a Gotoh button won't fit a grover machine, etc.)

  2. #2
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    Your skill level being unknown ; Whole tuner swapped to get black knobs, is simpler.. ,

    Stew Mac in Ohio is suggested source.. .. then you re sell yours in the classifieds , here..

    I have black button tuners I bought there.




    https://www.stewmac.com/parts-and-ha...ndolin-tuners/
    Last edited by mandroid; May-16-2022 at 2:41pm.
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  3. #3
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    Quote Originally Posted by NotACreativeName View Post
    ...(IE. a Gotoh button won't fit a grover machine, etc.)
    Tuner makers got together and by mutual decree, nobody's buttons will fit another manufacturers machines!
    (Technically perhaps not true, but the result is the same. In my experience, swapping tuner buttons is not easy, and only possible by modification of the tuners or the buttons or both.)

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Tuner makers got together and by mutual decree, nobody's buttons will fit another manufacturers machines!
    (Technically perhaps not true, but the result is the same. In my experience, swapping tuner buttons is not easy, and only possible by modification of the tuners or the buttons or both.)
    This was my hunch. Thank you.

  6. #5
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    First a disclaimer that this is just one person's experience, I'm not a luthier, and this is not guaranteed to work for your mandolin.

    I have a Lebeda F5 mandolin that came with plastic pearl Schaller tuner buttons and I wanted ebony to fit the look of the mandolin. So I splurged on Waverley tuners from Stewmac along with the optional ebony buttons.

    I measured the holes and it looked like it would work. When the replacement tuners arrived, the post holes fit and most of the tiny screw holes on the back of the peghead fit. But I had to drill a few new holes to make the tuner plate match. The supplied Waverly ferrules around the post holes didn't fit, but the original Schaller ferrules fit the Waverley posts so I used those. No problems at all in the 6 years or so since I did this. These tuners feel a little smoother than the stock Schallers, but it's not a night-and-day difference. And the ebony buttons look great.

    I did it once more, replacing the stock Schaller tuners on my Weber Yellowstone F octave mandolin with the same gold Waverley's with ebony buttons. Worked the same, had to use the original ferrules but the holes lined up.

    There is NO GUARANTEE this will work on your mandolin unless you carefully measure the tone holes, so I'm not necessarily recommending this, and replacing the entire tuner gear set is an expensive way to get the look you want on tuner buttons. But it worked for me.

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  8. #6
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    I also do not care for pearloid tuning machine buttons. I've replaced many sets of tuning machines and just the buttons. I disagree with Mandroid - IF you know what tuning machines you have and get the correct buttons AND they are screw on vs glue on changing buttons is easier than changing tuning machines.

    I've bought mini Grover buttons and mini Gotoh buttons that have woked great from Guitar parts factory. They also have Schaller and Sperzel. LMI and Stew-Mac are other sources. But you have to know what you currently have, OR be willing to buy a bunch of different brands and keep what fits, return what doesn't.

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  10. #7

    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    I also do not care for pearloid tuning machine buttons. I've replaced many sets of tuning machines and just the buttons. I disagree with Mandroid - IF you know what tuning machines you have and get the correct buttons AND they are screw on vs glue on changing buttons is easier than changing tuning machines.

    I've bought mini Grover buttons and mini Gotoh buttons that have woked great from Guitar parts factory. They also have Schaller and Sperzel. LMI and Stew-Mac are other sources. But you have to know what you currently have, OR be willing to buy a bunch of different brands and keep what fits, return what doesn't.
    I have grovers on one mando, and I am receiving a Weber Yellowstone today, so I am assuming it has Schallers.

  11. #8
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    I don't assume everyone is mechanical & has the tools, thats all .. YMMV.

    I bought a Mix A5 seller did not disclose they force fit a set of Waverly tuners on ,,they had black ebony buttons

    I fit lower range 'Elites' Stew Mac had, they tolerated the slight post hole issue, that damaged the waverlys
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  12. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    Some buttons will fit certain tuners, it depends on the age, make and model. What John says is generally true. The best thing you can do is to post a picture of the tuners on the back of the headstock so we can at least give you an idea of what you're up against. Without a picture it's all just a guess. Making an assumption isn't a good idea.
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  13. #10

    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    Might sound crude, but there are good paints that adhere to plastics. After all, the overall cosmetics on a mandolin are also very superficial.
    Plus, if you change tuners, in addition to the screw hole issues, there’s possible non-overlap of the plates; both of which could annoy some folks!

  14. #11
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    Default Re: Tuning Machine Knobs

    I always email Bob Smakula or Elderly or Gryphon in that order and they tell me what if they have exactly what I want/need. Also Dusty Strings, Music Emporium, Bernunzio etc
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