Drop-in replacement tuners for Epiphone ES-335 Pro Limited Edition

Discussion in 'Other Epiphones' started by Yeahno, May 29, 2016.

  1. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    I have an Epiphone ES-335 Pro Limited Edition. To date, I've made a couple of mods, all for practical reasons: replaced the plastic nut with bone (it was binding) and replaced the jack with Switchcraft (it was stripped from the factory).

    I'd like to replace the tuners next in the hope of making the tuning more stable, which tends to drift in 24 hours on the stand. Currently, the guitar has Kluson-style tuners. I could live with either better Kluson-style or nickel-plated kidney beans (Gotoh? Grovers?)

    I don't want to ream anything out. I just want a straight swap that will make things better. I'll hang onto the original tuners in case this guitar is, one day, improbably worth more than I paid for it.

    Can anyone point the way to better tuners?

    Many thanks!
     
  2. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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  3. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    How do the tuners "drift in 24 hours on the stand"? Does tuning go flat or sharp? If it goes sharp, the problem is string binding on the nut when you tune it. This is common, and has nothing to do with the tuners. Rather it is a matter of need to lube the nut -- either with graphite or with available lube made for this purpose. Only if tuning goes flat do you need to consider new tuners.

    You say the input jack was defective from the factory, indicating you bought the guitar new. If so, that should be covered by warranty. You should call Gibson to see if there is a warranty servicer in your area. If there is, and if your tuning is going flat (meaning they are defective) a warranty replacement should be in order, at no cost to you.
     
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  4. pomaranc

    pomaranc Senior Member

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  5. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    The nut is lubed with graphite. The guitar goes flat.

    And while it's true the jack was under warranty, it was really flimsy. I'd rather replace it with Switchcraft and forget about it.

    Sounds like new tuners are exactly what I need.
     
  6. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    Those definitely look the same, at least cosmetically.

    I was hoping to avoid having to make any modifications to the through holes or screw holes.
     
  7. ScottMarlowe

    ScottMarlowe Senior Member

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    Yeah I've replaced the jack on a few epis. The stock jacks are mediocre at best. And it's not like Switchcraft jacks cost $50 or something, they're affordable and work well.

    BUT if you're going to the trouble of fishing it out etc, might as well build a new harness for it while you're in there, new switch pots and jacks etc. But that's just me, given the amount of trouble to replace one part, I'd do them all.

    Unless the pro comes with CTS pots etc already.

    As for the tuners, pull one of yours. If there are bushings that bolt into the tuner from the front of the guitar like these, Then you can put any 10mm sized hole tuners. If, OTOH, they use a press in bushing from the front which does not screw into the tuner, like these, then you can drop in any 9mm tuners like the ones on that page. A few guitars use the really old 8mm bushing 0.21" or so post tuners but I doubt your ES 335 Pro has those.

    Note that mahogany head stocks don't really require pilot holes but maple definitely do. So if the tuners you want to use have a different screw hole pattern don't worry too much. You can use various colored crayons to fill the old holes.
     
  8. pomaranc

    pomaranc Senior Member

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    They look almost the same but the grovers have 10mm bushings (both the vintage 135 and rotomatic), yours have probably smaller bushings.
    Could you measure what size bushing do you have?
     
  9. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    Super useful! Thank you, Scott and pomaranc!

    When I get some time, I'll pull one of the tuners and measure it up.

    Again, thank you.
     
  10. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    I replaced the Wilkinson tuners on my ES335 PRO with Kluson SD90SLN double ring tuners. They are a drop in fit. The Epiphone ES335 PRO comes with alpha pots and some kind of "Chiclet" type of cap. I replaced the whole wiring harness with a harness that I made. I used Switchcraft switch, Switchcraft jack, CTS 500K Linear taper volume pots, CTS Audio taper tone pots, Russian K40Y-9 PIO caps .022 uF, and vintage style braided shielded wire. If you change pots, you will want to get new knobs for the CTS pots because the knobs that comes on the ES335 PRO are metric and the CTS are American. I got gold reflector knobs for mine. The pickups that come in the ES335 PRO has a quick release connector. You will have to cut that off to hook the pickups to the volume pots. I installed a set of ReWind Creme Brûlée pickups in my guitar. Here is a photo of my guitar.
    [​IMG]
    I also installed a short pickguard, Faber bridge and tailpiece with bushings and posts and tone lock hardware. I installed a GraphTech Tusq XL nut and had a strap made to as close to the guitar colors as I could. It is now my best and favorite guitar.
     
  11. ScottMarlowe

    ScottMarlowe Senior Member

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    FYI, CTS now makes metric pots.

    As for quick connects I tend to pull the pickups and the wiring out at once and pass it on to folks who live on a fixed budget etc and just need decent pickups etc out of my newer Epis.
     
  12. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    I finally dug out the micrometer! The head of the tuner shaft, which appears to be the widest point, measures .231". Is that enough to seal the deal for using Kluson SD90SLN?

    When you talk about the bushings, are you referring to the Inside Diameter of the hole, or the Outside diameter of the bushing?

    Also, I notice that there are Klusons and "Klusons". Some are stamped "Kluson" but appear to be lower quality (and price) than the real deal (which I think I'd prefer). Any comments about my theory?

    I assume "double ring" refers to the two plastic rings where the key meets the shaft, while single-ring refers to one. What made you choose double ring? Look?

    I've also read that popping out the old bushings carries the risk of damaging the head stock finish. Any words of advice?

    Many thanks!
     
  13. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    When replacing the the Wilkinson tuners with Kluson tuners, it is a 100% drop in fit. No need to change the bushings and all the screw holes line up perfectly.

    Yes double ring means the 2 plastic rings. I chose them because of looks, it make no difference as to function. I have never seen a Kluson that was low quality. I have seen some generic reproductions that are lower quality. What I have is Kluson double line, double ring SD90SLNDR. When I bought them I didn't know at the time that the bushings were the same size, so I removed the Wilkinson bushings and chipped the wood on the headstock. My advice, do not change the bushings (no need to).
     
  14. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    David,

    Thank you so very much. All super helpful. Going to find a set of Klusons and make the swap.

    Cheers.
     
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  15. Victek

    Victek Senior Member

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  16. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    Okay, so after a long, long wait for them, I just took delivery of the SD90SLNs, removed a tuner and checked.

    Unfortunately, they are not a drop-in replacement for the tuners on this guitar. The post is larger, at least a mm, and the press-in bushings that came with it would require reaming out the existing holes to have any hope of fitting.

    Suggestions?
     
  17. Brians Evil Twin

    Brians Evil Twin Poophoria Sōtō Zen V.I.P. Member

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    Search "Hand Reamer" - $10 online and usually at Home Depot or Lowes. One of the most often used guitar upgrade tools I own.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. sasquatch

    sasquatch Premium Member

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    You may want to look into the Kluson Supreme tuners.
    I bought these for my SG Standard, and the press in bushings were too small and had to be replaced with a larger set to accomodate where the Tronical tuners were.
    They are 18:1 ratio and are great for what I need. Stable, true and reliable.
    https://www.amazon.com/KLUSON-SUPRE...0683086&sr=8-2&keywords=kluson+supreme+tuners
    [​IMG]
    These were shipped in a Kluson retail box (no oem/bulk packaging)
     
  19. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

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    SD90SLNDR are the Kluson Tuners I bought that was a drop in fit. I just checked and the old Wilkinson bushings slide right over the Kluson posts.
     
  20. Yeahno

    Yeahno Junior Member

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    I think your Epi's original tuners must be different than mine. Some photos:

    1. Here's the ES-335 Pro, minus one tuner, so I could measure it.

    2. The Kluson box, showing the SD90SLN tuners I bought.

    3. Calipers around the original tuner from the ES-335 Pro. This appears to be about .236", or 6mm.

    4. Calipers around the SD90SLN, measuring .250" or 1/4", .014 larger in diameter, which explains why the existing bushings would have to go if I used the SD90SLN.

    I guess not all ES-335 Pros are the same.
     

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