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Tools for the Task: 3x3 Replacement Tuning Machines

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
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Danelectro Nichols 1966
danelectro.com

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