Bass Guitar Tuning Pegs Repair – Best solutions

Bass guitar tuning pegs rerpair

Bass guitar tuners are responsible for tensioning the strings. Bass strings are heavy, and the tuners have moving parts.

You get the idea. There are many situations where one would need to repair/replace bass guitar tuning pegs, such as;

  • Not holding the strings – strings slip and do not stay in tune
  • Not turning as they should = Too stiff or too loose
  • Physically broken from shock, falls, and similar occurrences.

Let’s tackle each of these individually.

Tuners are not holding the strings in place/strings are slipping

If you suspect that your tuners aren’t holding up the tension as they should, you’ll notice various symptoms like losing the right pitch after playing a couple of notes, bending, and using other techniques.

There are two main root causes of this problem, being:

Strings were improperly setup

Regular tuning pegs rely solely on friction to maintain the strings in place. This is why we need to wrap them following some very important guidelines to guarantee they’ll hold up when tuning/playing. in a nutshell, this is how to go about it;

  • Make sure there aren’t any oily/greasy components that could affect the grip of the strings against the tuning poles
  • Set the string in the middle of the main pole and hold the extremity.
  • Start turning the pegs, and make sure each new wrap goes under the previous one. The reason for this is that the strings will be pushed closer to the nut cavity when we are finished.
  • Lastly, when you’re done setting up, tune the strings so they reach the right note when you are tightening the poles. It’s a very common mistake to think that strings can be tuned both by tightening and loosening while reaching the note by loosening the strings will result in less grip, and thus it will not maintain the notes as it should.

Faulty mechanical components in the tuner mechanism

Bass guitar tuners are made of several components, such as:

Parts of a guitar tuning machine 1 1
  • tuning head
  • cylinder
  • tuning posts
  • borehole
  • pinion gear
  • worm drive
  • bushing
  • button
  • rubber casing
  • lock-in screw

As you can see, lots of intricate and moving parts, which in the vast majority of cases are not worth going through the hassle of replacing separately.

You could diagnose the problem being something like a worn-out worm drive or a loose cylinder, for instance. But at the end of the day, you’d be far better off replacing the whole tuner. In some cases, it would be cheaper, easier to find than the individual components, and a lot more practical to get done.

A very good option to consider if you are having these kinds of issues is to upgrade the whole set to locking tuners.

Locking tuners tackle this issue directly, giving you the means to hold the strings in place mechanically, and not relying solely on friction and wrapping.

Bass tuners not turning as they should – Too stiff or too loose

Bass guitar tuning peg pole

When the tuners are not turning accordingly, it becomes rather difficult to tune and play.

Too Stiff – Bass Guitar Tuning Pegs Repair

Stiffness in bass guitar tuners is often the result of rust, dirt, and worn-out components.

Rusty and dirty tuners can be reconditioned using metal lubricant and something like a spare toothbrush, for instance.

In some cases, you’ll need to remove a cover before having access to the moving parts,

Just pay attention to the fact that the strings will need friction to attach to the poles, and avoid lubricating these parts.

Too loose – Bass Guitar Tuning Pegs Repair

Tuning pegs are made so they have a little room for moving around, and they only become fully stationary when strings are in place.

However, if the tuning peg is moving around even after the string is correctly tensioned, this might will result in loss of tuning and is an indication that something is off.

To troubleshoot and solve this issue in most regular bass guitar tuning peg models:

  • Start by ensuring that the screws that hold the tuner in place at the back of the headstock are tightened
  • Ensure that the big bolt in the center is tightened
  • Check the nut that holds the gear and post together (front side of the headstock).
  • Lastly, if you’ve made sure all these are tightened enough, and the tuner is still loose, it could mean that the tuner peg pole is too small for the headstock hole, which would prompt some research on your instrument model and finding the correct tuning peg size.

Physically broken from shock, falls, and similar occurrences.

Being at the top of the headstock, it’s fairly common to hear from accidents where the musician has hit a wall, the instrument fell due to bad straps, or damage in transportation.

Damaged bass guitar tuning peg

In these cases, considering a replacement is almost always the best course of action.

Trying to glue or reattach broken pieces of metal that will need to hold a lot of tension will rarely work out. Besides, you will likely have to assess the damage to the internals, to determine whether or not the screw holes have been compromised.

Replace bass guitar tuning pegs

Luckily, a decent set of bass guitar tuning pegs is not that expensive, and the installation isn’t too complicated either.

You will need:

  • A proper mat or surface on which to lay the instrument upon
  • Phillips Screwdrivers (might need a small and a big one, for the base screws and the main screw at the center)
  • A wrench for the hex nut
  • A compatible set of bass guitar tuners

The first step is to determine which kind of tuners you want and if they’ll be appropriate for your instruments’ characteristics.

To be sure of that, the best possible course of action is to search online for tuners designed to fit your instrument’s model. In case this isn’t possible, such as in the case of custom made instruments, you can always measure the hole in the headstock:

  • 3/8″ tuner = 9/16″ hole
  • 1/2″ tuner = 11/16″ hole

Once the right set of new tuners has been sourced, remove the faulty tuners.

To do this you remove the hex nut at the top of the pole, followed by the base screws at the back of the headstock. Doing so will allow you to gently push the pole until it comes off at the other side.

To install the new ones:

Since the bass guitar tuners come mostly pre-assembled, all that you need to do is to insert them through the hole in the headstock, secure them in place with the hex nut and bolt, and lastly tighten the base screws.

bass guitar tuning pegs repair
Bass guitar tuning peg repair – Base Screws

In some cases, like vintage instruments, the pole radius will be slightly larger than the hole in the instrument, which will require you to use a rubber mallet in order to tap it into place.

In Conclusion – Bass guitar tuning pegs repair

As stated throughout this article, Bass Guitar Tuning Pegs Repair is possible, but not always a very effective solution, both in terms of sourcing the components individually and the work involved,

If you are having any kind of trouble with any individual bass tuner, it is likely that the other ones will start to develop similar symptoms in a short while.

Considering that, it might be a good idea to upgrade to a new set, which will ensure that your instrument will stay in tune and allow for its intended purpose, which is making music.

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