If you can’t blame a tuning issue on the other usual suspects, it might be time to consider swapping out your machines.

Tuning woes don’t always stem from cheap or worn-out tuning machines, but chances are that installing a quality set will pay dividends in maintaining string-tension, turning smoothness, and ease of string changes. There are loads of options out there for 3x3 headstock configurations, but the 10 sets we’ve rounded up here are a good place to start your search.

Grip-Lock Closed

Available in black, chrome, and gold with numerous button designs, the Grip-Lock pin and thumbwheel system of these 16:1 tuners clamps onto strings for extra security.

HIPSHOT
$80

502 Series Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatics

These locking machine heads are available in black, chrome, and gold, and utilize the 18:1 Rotomatic design with a thumbscrew mechanism that locks strings into place.

GROVER
$89

SD510

These 15:1 Kluson-type tuners boast a vintage look and feature a torque balancer to ensure steady rotation of the tuner button for excellent sound performance and functionality.

GOTOH
$80

Revolution G-Mount

Designed to retrofit die-cast tuning machines that have a hex-head bushing and a traditional Kluson two-screw mounting pattern, the 19:1 gear ratio of these sealed tuners ensures smooth operation and tuning stability with no backlash.

KLUSON
$100

Trim-Lok

These tuners have graduated-height string posts, a 12:1 ratio, sealed lubrication, and a locking feature that holds strings tight and eliminates the need for multiple wraps.

SPERZEL
$75

Auto-Trim Locking Tuning Machines

These 18:1 ratio tuners feature a locking clamp to prevent slippage and hold strings in tune, as well as an onboard mechanism that trims excess string for quick and easy changes.

PLANET WAVES BY D’ADDARIO
$51

Da Vinci

Through design and new-material research, these eye-catching 18:1 machines allow for superior performance without grease or polymer lubrication. Available in eight different finishes.

SCHALLER
$95

Vintage Machine Heads

These solid-nickel machine heads feature period-correct vintage styling and traditional pearloid buttons, and offer precise tuning and a well-appointed, classic look.

GIBSON
$59

WJ309 Series

A great match for archtops or any other 3x3 headstock that would benefit from an art-deco dressing up, these sealed, imperial-style tuning machines are chrome-plated and have an 19:1 tuning ratio.

WILKINSON
$47

Ratio Standard

Available in a variety of styles and finishes, these tuners feature varying individual gear ratios to dramatically simplify the tuning process by providing quicker, more accurate tuning on every string.

GRAPH TECH
$109
Steve Vai's "Secret Weapon Is the Same As Everyone Else’s” | The Big 5

Plus, what the shred shaman looks for in a guitar, and the surprising solo artist whose catalog he always has on hand.

Read More Show less
Johnny Winter's Burning Blues by Corey Congilio

Learn to rip like one of the all-time masters of modern electric blues.

Read More Show less
x