Significant Tonal Improvement Changing Klusons for Grovers

Duane.S

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I read this with interest, because I have done the opposite - put Kluson (Tone Pros version) on LPs that had either Schallers or Grovers. (though many years ago I would fit Grovers as an improvement, but then that was mainly due to the fact they were better, smoother tuners with a better gear ratio)
Never thought much of the sound difference since in recent years I did it mainly for cosmetic reasons. But I do recall reading an article in TQR (Tone Quest Report) that said the best examples of vintage LPs they had tried (57, 58, 59) all weighed between 8,5 and 9 lbs AND they all had Grovers on them. So there seems to be some consensus about your observations being correct.

Hmmm - now I'm wondering if I should order some Grover sets again. The quest never ends :)
Changing from Klusons to Grovers adds about 4 ounces. You could try putting a capo on your headstock that weighs 4 oz. (tape on some washers if necessary) and see if you hear a difference. Depending on many factors, adding weight to the headstock may not have the effect you are looking for.

There is also the
Fender Fatfinger....
 

Scott A Novak

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Then how does adding mass shift the resonant frequency?
To dampen anything you need to ABSORB energy. Adding mass does NOT absorb energy

If you increase the mass of a string (Make it thicker) it will lower the resonant frequency, (Aka pitch).

Essentially what it amounts to is that when you apply the same force to a larger mass (The headstock with more massive tuners) it will accelerate more slowly. But once you get that mass moving, it continues to move until acted upon by an outside force, in this case the spring tension of all of the strings, the neck, and body combined, which store the energy until the motion stops and then the direction changes and that stored energy accelerates the headstock in the opposite direction.

The wood of the guitar is the least elastic material and will do most of the dampening (aka: energy absorbing) of the sound.

Scott Novak
 

Scott A Novak

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You could try putting a capo on your headstock that weighs 4 oz. (tape on some washers if necessary) and see if you hear a difference.
But adding mass is only part of the equation. Less say that you added that mass affixing it with a rubbery glue that doesn't harden rock solid. Whenever the headstock moved there would be relative motion between the headstock and the weight and some of that energy would be absorbed by the glue and turned into heat.

A capo is NOT solidly affixed to the headstock and there would be relative motion between the headstock and the capo which would cause some energy loss in addition to some shift in resonant frequency.

It's not just the fundamental resonant frequency that you need to be concerned with. Adding mass to any part of the guitar will affect the way the harmonics travel through the guitar. It's not unlike adding mass to a portion of the string by touching it when you pluck the string to obtain a harmonic of the natural resonant frequency of the string.

If you added mass to the middle of the string, it would reduce the distance that the string traveled in the middle. But then midway between the middle and each end of the string, the string would be moving at maximum distance at twice the resonant frequency of the string.

The question isn't whether or not this effect happens. It is only how audible the effect is and how much ability a person has to notice the difference. Some people are tone deaf and can't hear subtle changes in tuning that make the rest of us cringe. Likewise, some people won't notice subtle differences in tone. What may be a huge difference to me might not be very noticeable to the next person.

Scott Novak
 

ARandall

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^ Don't forget that each guitar is unique too. Not every guitar might really produce the frequencies that are most affected strongly....or might produce others that mask it more. Like swapping in an extended range speaker where no frequencies in the source signal are above what the stock one produced anyhow.

Tuners are also a string anchor, which is why changing them (and things like nut, bridge and tailpiece) are more likely to affect the tone than anything else. They are a fundamental part of the physics of holding string tension.
 

Duane.S

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To dampen anything you need to ABSORB energy. Adding mass does NOT absorb energy
Running into a fly with my car absorbs very little energy (small mass), running into a brick wall absorbs a lot of energy (large mass).

Essentially what it amounts to is that when you apply the same force to a larger mass (The headstock with more massive tuners) it will accelerate more slowly. But once you get that mass moving, it continues to move until acted upon by an outside force, in this case the spring tension of all of the strings, the neck, and body combined, which store the energy until the motion stops and then the direction changes and that stored energy accelerates the headstock in the opposite direction.
Not if you don't have enough energy to overcome the higher mass. In the case of infinite energy, a non infinite mass can be overcome. In the case of a guitar certain frequencies will not have enough energy to overcome that extra mass, so the mass is effectively damping that frequency.

The wood of the guitar is the least elastic material and will do most of the dampening (aka: energy absorbing) of the sound.
I agree with this, that the material choice will have a great effect on resonant frequency. Thinning a headstock will have an effect as will as adding carbon fiber rods or plates (low mass but very rigid).

But adding mass is only part of the equation. Less say that you added that mass affixing it with a rubbery glue that doesn't harden rock solid. Whenever the headstock moved there would be relative motion between the headstock and the weight and some of that energy would be absorbed by the glue and turned into heat.
Agreed, like thich polyester finishes.

A capo is NOT solidly affixed to the headstock and there would be relative motion between the headstock and the capo which would cause some energy loss in addition to some shift in resonant frequency.
Agreed, but as a test it can tell you if it is worthwhile to pursue changing to heavier tuners. Just keep adding weight till you hear a difference or the headstock breaks. ;)

It's not just the fundamental resonant frequency that you need to be concerned with. Adding mass to any part of the guitar will affect the way the harmonics travel through the guitar. It's not unlike adding mass to a portion of the string by touching it when you pluck the string to obtain a harmonic of the natural resonant frequency of the string.
Agreed, careful consideration of where you increase or decrease the mass can allow you to tune the guitars response.

If you added mass to the middle of the string, it would reduce the distance that the string traveled in the middle. But then midway between the middle and each end of the string, the string would be moving at maximum distance at twice the resonant frequency of the string.
if you Increase the mass of the string you'd have to increase string tension in order to maintain pitch. This would drive the guitar harder and it may be able to overcome the mass that is damping that frequency. For people who use heavier gauge strings adding a small weight to the headstock may not be effective.

The question isn't whether or not this effect happens. It is only how audible the effect is and how much ability a person has to notice the difference. Some people are tone deaf and can't hear subtle changes in tuning that make the rest of us cringe. Likewise, some people won't notice subtle differences in tone. What may be a huge difference to me might not be very noticeable to the next person.
I agree, so I encourage people to experiment. Sometimes things that have little effect in reality have a large effect psychologically. And that is OK.

I think that we agree on most things, but weather adding mass is damping or not is an argument that i'd have to consult a physics professor on. I'm thinking that much of this may be semantics. The details of how these things manifest themselves are probably of little interest to most of the people on this forum. But I do enjoy the discussion.
 

Razzle

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Interesting thread, didn't know or even think about this before, what matters to me with tuners is stability for tuning and ease of use.

One thing I didn't see mentioned...

The higher mass argument to me matters less with more mass on the headstock, as it does with the mass of the tuners THEMSELVES.

So the tuner itself has more mass, so that's the material that's transferring the tone from the strings to the headstock. It's not that the headstock itself has more mass, it's more that the "medium" of transfer of the frequencies from the strings get to the body better because the "mechanism" of transfer (tuner mass itself) is what's dong it.
 

efstop

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I like Klusons with plastic knobs.
My $88 Squier with cheap tuners stays in tune better than any of my Gibsons, no matter the tuners installed.
Physics is involved all musical instruments, but I ignore the math when I'm playing. WGAS?
 

Duane.S

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So the tuner itself has more mass, so that's the material that's transferring the tone from the strings to the headstock. It's not that the headstock itself has more mass, it's more that the "medium" of transfer of the frequencies from the strings get to the body better because the "mechanism" of transfer (tuner mass itself) is what's dong it.
The vibration energy from the strings will try to vibrate the entire guitar. Areas that are very stiff or heavy (high mass) will not vibrate as easily as areas that are flexible or light. When a part of the guitar is vibrating it is absorbing energy from the strings. This is part of what makes certain guitars sound the way they do.

By changing from Kulsons to Grovers you are adding about 4 ounces to the headstock, which is essentially adding more mass to the headstock. By adding this mass the headstock it will not vibrate as easily making the guitar more efficient. This could be good, bad or have no effect because the headstock wasn’t stealing that energy from the strings (it was stiff or heavy enough).

There are many things that make one guitar special and another of the same model not so good. Everything has some effect but a lot things are beyond perception. But some changes can truly transform a guitar.
 

spitfire

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Running into a fly with my car absorbs very little energy (small mass), running into a brick wall absorbs a lot of energy (large mass).
This is a completely erroneous analogy. Your fly-car analogy is talking about the energy already in the masses. Scott A Novack is talking energy going into the mass. I think it's possible there's some misunderstanding of terms.

I think rather than say "absorb" it would be better to say "dissipate". In a resonate, mechanical system, you have at least two reactive elements. these can usually if not always be modeled as a mass and a spring. Neither will dissipate energy, though arguably each will very temporarily absorb energy.

For example, in a simple mass hanging from a spring, you can pull the mass down. This stretches the spring. The energy put into the system form the pull, is stored in the stretching of the spring. You could perhaps say the spring absorbed this energy. The spring most certainly did NOT dissipate the energy.

After pulling. the mass is released. The spring will accelerate the mass upward. At the point the spring is at it's neutral position, the mass will have been accelerated to it's maximum speed. The energy that was stored int the spring is now stored int he kinetic energy of the mass because the mass now has velocity. If you want, you could say the mass has absorbed the energy, but again, it has not dissipated it.

Now, the mass continues upward and starts compressing the spring. The force of compressing the spring slows the mass and at some point, the mass comes to a stop and the spring is fully compressed. The energy is now stored back int he compressed spring. Again it has not dissipated.

The compressed spring will now push the mass down accelerating it and again the mass will reach maximum velocity at the spring neutral point. Then the mass will start stretching the spring and the force of this stretching will slow the mass to a stop and the spring is again at it's fully stretched position. The energy is again stored back int he spring.

Every oscillation the energy moves back and forth between the reactive elements. But the energy is NEVER dissipated. This is true of EVERY resonant system.

The amount of mass makes no difference to the energy transfer. A large mass neither stores (absorbs) more energy. Every cycle the spring and mass will each temporarily store ALL of the energy.

In a perfectly lossless resonant system, the system will oscillate forever. This system would be said to have infinate Q. No energy is lost from the system. The loss in the system is from damping (as Scott Novack originally said). A mass is not a damper. In real mechanical systems, damping is due to friction. This can be from an intentional; damper, like the shock absorber on a car suspension (car is the mass and the car's springs are the spring). This is why cars have shocks, so they don't keep bouncing (oscillating) up and down.

Bottom line Scott knows what he's talking about.


Not if you don't have enough energy to overcome the higher mass. In the case of infinite energy, a non infinite mass can be overcome. In the case of a guitar certain frequencies will not have enough energy to overcome that extra mass, so the mass is effectively damping that frequency.
A larger mass will require more energy to accelerate (move) it to a given velocity. But it will move. Even a baby could move the mass of a car, to a very small speed if there is no friction. For example, in space. Or if a fly hit a car, in space, the car would move a very small amount due to this. Both conservation of energy and momentum are at play.

Frequency has NOTHING to do with the ability to overcome a mass. Impedance matching and dampening (friction loss) do affect how a mass will move and how a system will vibrate

In a system, the impedance of the system will vary with frequency. As vibrating energy moves through the parts of a system, each subsystem can be viewed as having it's own impedance. For the vibration to travel completely from one subsystem to another, they must have the same impedance. To the extent that the impedances are not the same (mismatch), not all of the energy will transfer. The vibration will get reflected back at the boundary of the two subsystems.

This in fact is what is happening where the string meets the bridge and nut. Almost all of the string's vibrational energy is reflected back into the string. This is why a string rings for a relatively long time. But some of the string's energy does pass from the string into the guitar body. If it didn't, acoustic guitars wouldn't work.

And, once some of the vibration goes into the body, it can flow back into the string. So neither the string or body (and all it's parts) are independent. They combine to from a complex vibrating system.

But again, a mass does not dissipate or permanently absorb energy, other than the mount it temporarily stores and gives back during every cycle of the vibration. In a guitar the energy is lost in many places. The flexing of the string heats the metal slightly, the string moves air, every other piece compresses and relaxes a tiny amount heating it up, like the string. The entire guitar body vibrates (we feel that) and some of that gets dampened by or bodies at our hands and our beer bellies.
 

ARandall

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^Yes, most people's idea of a guitar's energy system either forgets (or is not developed enough even to know) the immense relative energy stored in the string tension at equilibrium.
By comparison the amount of extra energy introduced during strumming is perhaps 1/10th that.

But this is why you do get the body vibrating. That same spring coil effect actually is in the neck especially. The mass of the body and its potential energy at rest is the 'momentum' that makes the string vibrate for far longer that just the string would do on its own.......its high surface area to mass ratio and the resistance of the air around it would dampen its vibration much sooner otherwise.
 

HogmanA

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Scott and Spitfire, I think you may be wrong.

You have to consider what 'absorption' even is. If a panel of a machine is vibrating, an engineer will dampen the vibration by adding weight and thereby shifting the resonant frequency. That is all that is required. (I have the term damping applied to just this scenario in a scientific paper somewhere, but I am not at computer just now).

Let's look at car suspension dampers. They don't work by friction! (well, they can, and certainly friction will be involved depending on the design, within the fluid itself, etc).
But they don't convert all the springs movement into heat! Ha!

They change the resonance of the system!

Look it up!
 

Scott A Novak

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I think that we agree on most things, but weather adding mass is damping or not is an argument that i'd have to consult a physics professor on. I'm thinking that much of this may be semantics.
I think that semantics may be the issue here. In this case the semantics are important.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/damping

damping
noun

1 technical: A reduction in the amplitude of an oscillation as a result of energy being drained from the system to overcome frictional or other resistive forces.

1.1A mechanism for bringing about damping.

1.2A method of bringing about a reduction in oscillatory peaks in an electric current or voltage using an energy-absorbing or resistance circuit.

https://www.miniphysics.com/damping.html

An oscillation is damped when the amplitude and mechanical energy of a system gradually decreases to zero as a result of dissipative forces.(air resistance, friction, internal forces)

Amplitude and frequency will be reduced during damping.

Damping is the process whereby energy is taken from the oscillating system.

When there is damping, amplitude decrease and period increase.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

The important point is that damping requires the removal of energy from a resonant system. Ultimately the removed mechanical or electrical energy is converted into heat.

Mass loading does NOT remove energy from a system. It may shift the resonant frequency, or may reduce the amplitude of the fundamental resonant frequency and transfer that energy into higher frequency harmonics, but the total amount of mechanical energy is conserved.

Back to my original claims. Changing the mass or a tuner WILL affect the tonal balance to some degree, whether or not it is noticed by most people.

A tuner that is firmly attached to the headstock will reduce the amount of energy lost. A tuner that is NOT firmly attached to the headstock WILL cause a loss of mechanical energy and result in less sustain, whether it is noticeable to most people or not.

Sometimes things that have little effect in reality have a large effect psychologically. And that is OK.
I agree with this one. But in the case of tuners I do think that some people are also better able to hear the differences between them, and some people find the differences more important than others.

Scott Novak
 
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Scott A Novak

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Let's look at car suspension dampers. They don't work by friction! (well, they can, and certainly friction will be involved depending on the design, within the fluid itself, etc).
But they don't convert all the springs movement into heat! Ha!

They change the resonance of the system!
The first shock aborbers were not hydraulic and were in fact purely resistive, with one material rubbing against another

A "spring damper", also erroneously called a "shock absorber" in the USA, is primarily a resistive device which generates HUGE amounts of heat while it is dissipating the suspension spring's stored energy. It generates so much heat that shock absorbers used for off road racing have heat radiating coolers installed in the shock absorber's oil lines.

Shock absorbers are not purely resistive devices, especially not pressurized gas shock absorbers, which actually increase the spring rate and can alter the resonant frequency of the suspension system.

Shock absorbers usually have internal valving that allows the piston inside the shock aborber to move more easily in one direction than the other. Primarily they allow easy compression, but introduce substantial resistance when uncompressing. It is done this way to dissipate the stored energy of a compressed suspension spring as it is uncompressing.

Scott Novak
 

Pageburst

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this is 100% correct.

I’ve been trying to understand the mechanics behind the improvements I noticed in note to note balance, playability and to a certain degree tone, though the latter is subjective.

i think this nails it and also puts to rest the nonsense about mass absorbing energy. with that logic, everyone would be making guitars out of balsa wood.

additionally, you are not increasing overall mass to the guitar itself, what you are adding is mass at a point where the strings connect to the the headstock. I suspect these Grover tuners have greater stiffness and that combined with a more solid couple to the headstock, reduces energy loss. What you have is more or cleaner string energy transferred to the guitar.

simply adding mass to the headstock DOES NOT accomplish this whatsoever. Any slop or resonances inherent in the kluson tuner will still be there.

It is the added mass and superior connection at the couple point which generated the improvements I’m hearing.

Maybe, the current run of Klusons are less than stellar as I did notice buzzing in the kluson g tuner. I had to tighten it repeatedly to get it the buzzing to stop. I suspect if you could measure the internal resonances of the kluson as opposed to the Grover you would see more resonance “slop” in the kluson.

Anyway, I have found many of the comments here illuminating and I truly appreciate this discussion. I do wish Grover or any quality tuner company made similar tuners that did not require the slight enlargement of the standard kluson sized tuner holes. Then it would be painless to test this theory on all my Gibson guitars.


I think that semantics may be the issue here. In this case the semantics are important.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/damping

damping
noun

1 technical: A reduction in the amplitude of an oscillation as a result of energy being drained from the system to overcome frictional or other resistive forces.

1.1A mechanism for bringing about damping.

1.2A method of bringing about a reduction in oscillatory peaks in an electric current or voltage using an energy-absorbing or resistance circuit.

https://www.miniphysics.com/damping.html

An oscillation is damped when the amplitude and mechanical energy of a system gradually decreases to zero as a result of dissipative forces.(air resistance, friction, internal forces)

Amplitude and frequency will be reduced during damping.

Damping is the process whereby energy is taken from the oscillating system.

When there is damping, amplitude decrease and period increase.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

The important point is that damping requires the removal of energy from a resonant system. Ultimately the removed mechanical or electrical energy is converted into heat.

Mass loading does NOT remove energy from a system. It may shift the resonant frequency, or may reduce the amplitude of the fundamental resonant frequency and transfer that energy into higher frequency harmonics, but the total amount of mechanical energy is conserved.

Back to my original claims. Changing the mass or a tuner WILL affect the tonal balance to some degree, whether or not it is noticed by most people.

A tuner that is firmly attached to the headstock will reduce the amount of energy lost. A tuner that is NOT firmly attached to the headstock WILL cause a loss of mechanical energy and result in less sustain, whether it is noticeable to most people or not.



I agree with this one. But in the case of tuners I do think that some people are also better able to hear the differences between them, and some people find the differences more important than others.

Scott Novak
 
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judson

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long and somewhat interesting thread......

so everyone knows about firebirds with kluson banjo tuners that may contribute to neck dive are massive and most firebirds produce what some proclaim as an icepick sound...

so if i replaced my kluson banjo tuners with a lightweight carbon fiber tuner...would my firebird sound like a dog whistle?

:hmm:

:iough:
 
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