You’re gonna have to measure stuff!
In addition to custom guitar makers and professional repair shops, we get a lot of calls from players new to the craft who want to repair or upgrade their instruments. They ask questions like, “I have an Epiphone SG short scale bass from 1997 and I would like to get new tuners for it”.
Unfortunately, the guitar industry does not have a reference for the sizes and specifications for specific guitars. Car parts, as many of us know, are different. You can go to the auto parts store, tell them which model of Toyota you drive, and the clerk can look up which is the correct spark plug you need to buy. With guitars, we are for the most part, completely in the dark!
We do carry plans for a very small number of guitars, like well-known Martin designs, and this is a good source for some standard measurements. But there are no plans in publication that describe all the remaining guitars out there, and there are thousands of them.
So, in order to get a part that works for you, what you need to do is take careful measurements of the part and then reference those on our website. We do our best to provide detailed specifications and technical drawing for all the parts we carry. If after looking these over you have any questions, please let us know.
Be prepared to work in another “language”! By this I mean sometimes the measurements are in inches and sometimes in metric. You may see the specs in fractions or in thousandths of an inch. We do not accept that one is more ‘standard’ than the others, and so we post whatever specs come from the manufacturer. I ‘cheat’ by keeping a conversion chart in my work area and I also use a tape measure that has both imperial and metric measurement on it.
Of course, the standard tool for measuring in lutherie is calipers. Our electronic calipers (SPCALE) let you switch from imperial to metric with the press of a button! A set of good feeler gauges should be near at hand also along with a small machinist’s rule (we do not carry these, they are commonly available).