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Published August 2006

Gotoh Locking Guitar Tuners

by Henrik Hjortnaes

Replacing the vintage oval knob tuners on a Fender Stratocaster guitar

yngwie j malmsteen signature stratocaster

Worn tuners?

I bought a used 1995 Fender Stratocaster Yngwie Malmsteen Signature guitar a while back and noticed that the tuners performed quite badly. They felt loose and wobbly and some of them could not hold the tuning very well. This guitar is a very nice Japanese Custom Edition Strat and is a great player, but I guess they saved on the tuners, the switch and potientiometer hardware. See more pictures of my Fender Stratocaster Yngwie Malmsteen Signature.

Invisible swap

I wanted to put on some new, high quality tuners, preferably locking tuners, but I didn't want to ruin the vintage look. Luckily, I found the Gotoh Locking Vintage Oval Knob Tuners, which are almost an exact copy of the original vintage oval knob tuners. They are a direct retrofit and there's no need to drill new holes for the mounting screws or anything. The exterior of the Gotoh's looks very much like the original, apart from some minor details. See if you can spot them in the pictures. The workmanship on the Gotoh's is much better compared to the original.

In all the pictures here, only the high E-string has the new Gotoh tuner mounted. I took the pictures before completing the retrofit, so you can compare the old to the new tuner.

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Winding strings properly around the tuner

On normal tuners, many tuning problems arise from having done a poor string winding job. With the Gotoh's, you don't have to worry about this at all, because it is practically idiot-proof. You will only have about one turn of the guitar string wrapped around it when you're done. Very easy to work with.

The Gotoh feel

The Gotoh tuners feel awesome compared to the old ones. They are a little heavier and when using them, they feel very smooth and precise. No slack or wobble and the tuning instability is gone. I feel they have a finer gear ratio compared to the old ones, which is a pleasant change.

I think sustain and overall string response (dynamics) has improved too, but that's one of those subtle things, that are hard to know for sure.

Recommended!

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  • Only the high E-string has the new Gotoh

  • vintage guitar parts

Left most is the new Gotoh. The rest are the original tuning pegs. Hard to see any difference apart from newer metal.

  • fender guitar parts

The back of my Fender Custom Edition Malmsteen Signature from Japan.

  • guitar repair

Clean retrofit!

  • Gotoh locking tuner

Notice the slight difference in height.

  • Fender parts Gotoh

Better workmanship details on the Gotoh tuner.

Left most is the new Gotoh. The rest are the original tuning pegs. Hard to see any difference apart from newer metal.
The back of my Fender Custom Edition Malmsteen Signature from Japan.
Clean retrofit!
Notice the slight difference in height.
Better workmanship details on the Gotoh tuner.

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