Significant Tonal Improvement Changing Klusons for Grovers

rykus

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I can definitely hear a fairly noticable difference in swapping all the pieces the strings touch or the current passes through... usually I slowly tune my keepers with various parts.. tuners ,saddles , tailpiece, bridge , pots etc.

That being said I know a lot of pretty great guitarists that can't do a basic setup and try to play guitars with bad intonation etc usually deciding the instrument sounds bad... bought lots of poorly set up guitars in shops too that got passed over with funky pots or other tone suckers..

Funny how in the 70's when people where blaring full stacks everyone stuck brass nuts and bridges and plates etc in their guitars and swore it changed the tone now few can hear a tuner swap in an era of advanced audio recording and easy access to high grade headphones etc.

My Father has been playing 65+ years and can't tune by ear. I go to Jams and am constantly blown away by the various levels of sensitivity to tuning and intonation. This leads me to believe there are many very enthusiastic guitarists that may put much more focus on feeling or dynamics of singing and playing or playing in groups rather than ever giving as much weight to changing minute details in string to string tone balance or perfecting intonation through out the fretboard.

I like putting grovers on lightweight loud guitars.also like brass saddles on my unwound and titanium on my wound. That being said I spend a lot of time playing alone these days through fairly hi-fi amps. Still find some of the things like string volume balance is more apparent at ultra high volumes so maybe in the 70's the heavy brass softning the highs was desirable trait with the huge super leads!
 

Duane.S

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I can't believe that this thread is still going after a year and 2 months. I guess that tuners and headstock mass is a controversial thing. I believe that everything that you change on a guitar has a tonal effect, you just may not be able to perceive the effect.

I was re-reading a section in Contemporary Acoustic Guitar Design, by Gore and Gilet, and came across a paragraph that is very applicable to this discussion. Trevor Gore has a PhD in engineering and his book is heavy on math and physics. Here is the paragraph from volume 1, page 4-82:

"Consideration should be given to the overall mass of the head stock when tuners are fitted. Whilst flamenco guitars always seem to favor low mass regardless (so as to minimise sustain), most other types of guitars benefit from having a fair amount of mass in the headstock. The headstock forms the other end of the string where we want all of the energy reflected back down the string and none transferred to the structure, unlike at the bridge end of the string. This best achieved by making the headstock heavy rather than stiff. If you have ever experienced a drop in sound output having changed tuner buttons from metal (normally plated brass) to wood, now you know why. We have never had acoustical problems with heavy headstocks, but we have had with low mass ones. It is unusual to find that a headstock turns out to be so heavy as to unbalance the instrument when the player is holding it, but having to hold a headstock up over a period of an extended performance is undoubtedly tiring for the player. Having a high forehead to the headstock not only contributes to the looks of the instrument, it also adds mass."
 

Michael Matyas

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So I installed some Grovers on my ol’ beater of a Les Paul and I have to say the tonal improvement with regard to response, sustain and note to note balance across the fretboard is not subtle. The guitar as a whole feels more alive and vibrant.

I know there is a simplistic view that added weight at the end of the headstock deadens the response but this is completely contrary to basic physics. Even acoustic guitar makers know that proper bracing is crucial to enhancing and tuning tonal response.

Prior to the Grovers, The guitar was tonally a bit “unfocused”. The lighter kluson tuners allowed the resonances to either cancel out or dissipate creating a somewhat muddled response plugged in despite the guitar being acoustically quite loud. The Grovers have not lessened the resonances as the guitar still rings out loudly acoustically. However that muddledness when plugged in is gone. Now the guitar has greater definition and punch with plenty of sweet overtones and harmonics that a great Les Paul is able to deliver.

I do think to Grover or not to Grover maybe guitar dependent. Some guitars have a compact and very strong fundamental tone that would be better served with klusons. But acoustically loud Les Pauls especially those that seem to have a tonal response that a little more prominent in the lower mids might very well benefit from them.





I also like the looks, has that old school rock n roll vibe




A lot of people favor the sound of lighter tuners, but not everyone. John D'Angelico equipped a lot of his handmade arch tops with Grover Imperials, which were probably the heaviest tuners you could buy. And John D'A was a gent who knew a thing or two about tone!
 

Michael Matyas

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A resonance in the neck will affect the strings. There is no way it couldn't. Therefore any resonance change in the neck WILL be pickup up by a guitar pickup.

Scott Novak
Irving Sloane claimed that the heavier the neck on an acoustic guitar the louder it would be.
 

motowntom

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If I tape an everyday garden rock to the back of the headstock, I sense an immediate sonic variation anomaly that transverses the elliptical frequency variance of the entire tonal spectrum,,,, these rocks are for sale by me for the paltry sum of $19.99, and if you act now I will include a second "tone enhancement rock" absolutely free!
Cheers
 

JWH

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I always change out my tuners to grover locking tuners. yes there is a difference in tone and sustain. I was amazed by what a stainless steel bridge and tail piece did for the guitar tone. the OEM Zinc bridge. Zinc is a high grade form of Tin. it can flatten out under string tension. you get playability issues after awhile. No tin can Tone for me.
 

Lester

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I always change out my tuners to grover locking tuners. yes there is a difference in tone and sustain. I was amazed by what a stainless steel bridge and tail piece did for the guitar tone. the OEM Zinc bridge. Zinc is a high grade form of Tin. it can flatten out under string tension. you get playability issues after awhile. No tin can Tone for me.
I disagree with your metallurgical suggestions regarding tin and zinc! But that's only because "it's the Internet!". :)

However, I'm interested in your hands-on experience with stainless. You find that it moves sound better to the body? Or just that it's more durable and doesn't "wear"? Steel dies have significantly better transmission by the numbers... 1.3-1.4x better. Shy of aluminum, but still much better than zinc. I'm wondering if it shows up real time.
 

Blues_Verne

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A lot of people favor the sound of lighter tuners, but not everyone. John D'Angelico equipped a lot of his handmade arch tops with Grover Imperials, which were probably the heaviest tuners you could buy. And John D'A was a gent who knew a thing or two about tone!
because his builds sounded too bright???
 


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