I’m not normally one to go forth and suggest products, because everybody has a different opinion on what’s best. A room full of Luthiers can argue for days on end about what makes the best nut material, which woods sound to best, which pickups are the best for what guitars…and so on and so forth.
However, I’ve been playing on a set of guitar tuners I purchased for over a year now, and I’m confident after a year of playing that these are the best tuners I’ve ever used. They come in a locking version. They’re open backed. They stay in tune.
They also have an 18:1 gear ratio – more importantly, though, they are the smoothest turning tuners I’ve used. That’s the best part by far – I just purchased a set of 18:1 grovers, and I am disappointed by how poorly they compare with these tuners. I’ve had them on my Spanish Cedar J-11 for quite a while now and I can’t say enough good things about them.
The tuning machines I’m talking about are Hipshot Grip-loc tuners (I have not tried the regular open back tuners).
Surprisingly, this isn’t one of the names that comes to mind when you think about tuners. I’ve not talked to anybody about tuners and heard them say “hey, you know who makes really great guitar stuff? Hipshot.” I believe it’s because they’re known for making bass tuners, not guitar tuners. Actually almost all of their products are bass products.
However, they’ve definitely carried over their knowledge well into these tuners. The only drawback is that they are more expensive than some of the other leading names (nothing near the price of Waverly tuners though), but you get what you pay for.
I think I’ve gone on long enough about these tuners…so that’s all I’ll say. They don’t disappoint.
On an unrelated note: My guitar projects have stalled due to the University exam period and Christmas holidays coming up. I haven’t posted here in a little while because it’s so hectic, but I will be writing some interesting pieces soon on various aspects of guitar building again once things settle down.