LMI Help Center

Steel String Tuning Machines – August 2017

Tuning Machines? We carry dozens and dozens of options! Just sticking to the steel string guitar tuners (leaving the classical and mandolin tuners for another day) let’s look at some of the basic terms in order to better help you navigate our offerings:

Steel string –these tuners are used on acoustic guitars, but other instruments whose strings are made from steel can use them, particularly electric guitars but also bouzoukis, baritone guitars and the like. Big bass guitar strings need larger tuners than the ones we call ‘steel string’ so stick to the bass tuners.

Individuals –a few, specific types of tuners (made by Gotoh, in this case) are sold individually for doing 7 string guitars, tenor guitars etc.

Mini – these can be used on any steel string or electric, and are mandatory on 12 string guitars. Why choose minis? Some people just like the look and some choose them for the lower weight.

Open back – The gear wheel is exposed on open back tuners. These offer a cool, vintage look and they weigh less than enclosed tuners. But they must be lubricated and occasionally, cleaned.

M6/enclosed – The term M6 or M6-style is ubiquitously associated with enclosed tuners with a specific button style. Enclosed tuners were developed by Schaller and M6 was the part designation for them. The enclosure keeps the lubrication intact and so they are very long lasting and turn smoothly.

510 / Contour / Delta – The 510 series from Gotoh have a higher gear ratio than other tuners (more rotations of the knob are required to turn the post 360, allowing for more ‘detailed’ tuning). They also have a modern, curvy housing (hence the ‘contour’ nickname). Most 510 tuners have an 18:1 ratio but the Delta line of 510’s have a 21:1 ratio.

Grover-style – These are Gotoh tuners, with Gotoh gear design and ‘footprint’, but they offer the distinctive Grover-style button.

Post height – If your headstock is thick, look for tuners with a longer post. Detailed specs for all our tuners are available on our website!

Screw orientation – a few tuners have options for the position of the ‘hold down’ screw (see the schematic drawing for details). This allows for ‘drop-in’ replacement tuners to help improve your factory made guitar.