“Among vintage guitar collectors, a changed set of tuners can be a dealbreaker”: Guitar tuning pegs – everything you need to know about the parts that keep your guitar in tune

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(Image credit: Gibson)

For guitar players, bassists and players of pretty much any stringed instrument, tuning pegs (also known as tuning keys, tuners or machineheads) are just a fact of life. Off the top of our heads, the only stringed instrument without tuners that we can think of is a tea-chest bass. 

Some players express strong tuner preferences based on functionality, weight and appearance. Among vintage guitar collectors, a changed set of tuners can be a dealbreaker, Schallers on a vintage Gibson being a particular bête noire for some.

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Huw Price

Huw started out in recording studios, working as a sound engineer and producer for David Bowie, Primal Scream, Ian Dury, Fad Gadget, My Bloody Valentine, Cardinal Black and many others. His book, Recording Guitar & Bass, was published in 2002 and a freelance career in journalism soon followed. He has written reviews, interviews, workshop and technical articles for Guitarist, Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player, Acoustic Magazine, Guitar Buyer and Music Tech. He has also contributed to several books, including The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman. Huw builds and maintains guitars and amplifiers for clients, and specializes in vintage restoration. He provides consultancy services for equipment manufacturers and can, occasionally, be lured back into the studio.