Guitarfilter: Salvage the irreplacable?
May 14, 2016 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Tragedy struck while restringing my beloved circa 1989 Takamine EN-30C when the 3rd string tuning peg snapped off. My first consultation for repair did not result in anything resembling the solution I am hoping for.

Forgive me if some of my terminology is off; a luthier I ain't.


It's a bit of a rare beast in that it's essentially a classical body with steel strings. My first stop was at a large music/guitar store repair shop. The guy there knew his stuff but was clearly not the savant I probably need. It seems to me the "gear" could be screwed off, the peg refitted and glued and/or soldered. He was skeptical, saying it is white metal (which surprised me, I would've thought brass) which is porous and wouldn't take glue or solder well.

The biggest problem with replacement is the "barrels" (where strings are wound) are 10mm diameter and largest common size seems to be 6mm. His best solution was a hideous plastic stock kit, intended for nylon strings. Not gonna happen.

I know there is no shortage of aficionados in these parts. Can my baby be saved?

Any referrals to rare parts suppliers or Hall of Fame repair guys would be most welcome. I'm in the Toronto area.

I'd be willing to replace the whole assembly and scour the earth for identical parts but seems a hopeless task. So basically I am desperately hoping this guy was wrong
posted by raider to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know if he's still working, but Bruce Dowd (416 421 4153; Glebemount & Danforth) would treat this properly. The Twelfth Fret is just up the road if Bruce can't help.
posted by scruss at 12:17 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

David Reaume (Dave's World of Fun Stuff on Facebook or YouTube) is in the Toronto area also. He's a special effects tech as his other job and can sometimes get parts reproduced that might be difficult to find. I haven't used him, and don't know him, but from all the tech videos he's produced about fixing guitars, it looks like he has a pretty good handle on restoration. He's also a funny guy.
posted by mu at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2016

Those don't look too exotic. For instance, Elderly has these Gotoh tuners which look similar, and I'm guessing the "plastic stock kit" was something like these from Stewart-Macdonald. It's possible yours were made by Gotoh as well.

It may be difficult to find an exact match on the internet, but I bet a good guitar tech would know where to find them, or might have a parts bin full of that sort of thing. Don't give up hope!
posted by xil at 12:31 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Even better, the current Gotoh catalog has these. Button option 1R would match yours.
posted by xil at 12:43 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Chances are good that the hardware was actually manufactured by Grover, Gotoh, Wilkinson, or Schaller. Worth checking their websites, anyway.

Also, while I'm not super-familiar with this kind of tuning machine, it looks like you could replace most of it while keeping the barrels - I think the screw that holds the gear to the side of the headstock goes all the way through to the barrels. So as long as you find a plate with the right spacing between those screws, it should work.,, are my usual sources for parts. Not sure about prices/shipping for Canada, though.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:44 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, as xil and soundguy99 pointed out, this is bad luck but quite fixable. Personally, I'd look at getting a replacement set of tuners vs. getting your stock tuners repaired, as I wouldn't trust the base metal of the stock tuners to hold tension and stay fixed for the long haul.

I think the key phrase to search for is "Lyra-style Classical Guitar Tuners". For example, has at least 20 different tuners with this same motif:

Reach out to a competent local luthier for help if you aren't comfortable doing this yourself.
posted by mosk at 12:45 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hey Scruss, thanks very much. I was concerned about Bruce's info being posted so I called him immediately and asked if he was cool with that and he didn't seem to care. He does sound like the kind of guy I'm looking for and will follow up with him.
posted by raider at 12:58 PM on May 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

The challenge/rarity seems to be the (10mm) brass barrels which I understand has a lot to do with tone. Plastic barrels are intended for nylon strings. Soundguy's hybrid solution sounds ideal, I'm hoping my new friend Bruce agrees.

More thoughts extremely welcome and I promise to shut up now, pending resolution.
posted by raider at 1:22 PM on May 14, 2016

mrgood would recommend Shyboy and Tex who used to repair for Capsule (and he has a mid-80s Takamine, among others, and feels your pain.) Brad there has parts bins, lots of resources, and other places he can refer you to if he can't help. He may be away right now, but Antonio should be around.
posted by peagood at 8:29 PM on May 14, 2016

Just to put a close to this, I did try many avenues to fix it with parts or surgery or both. I was told on both fronts it couldn't really be done.

Scruss's man Bruce was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Older guy, cluttered shop full of guitars and a lifetime of experience.

The man is a guitar whisperer. What I was told couldn't be done, he did. And wouldn't accept a bigger tip than $40 on my $39 bill. I was prepared to pay hundreds. Thanks, Scruss.
posted by raider at 5:59 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Botulism: not even once, banana edition.   |   ISO recommendations for NYC massage therapy... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.