Significant Tonal Improvement Changing Klusons for Grovers

scooter500

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
366
Reaction score
127
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 :)
The Tone Quest Report must be respected. That's one.
Resonance in a guitar is addictive. That's two.
 

irocdave12

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Messages
2,802
Reaction score
3,643
I changed my pants one time and it totally changed the tone of my farts so he may be on to something here
 
Last edited:

SparkyJones

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
248
Reaction score
108
its most likely to do with the mass of the tuners,
I remember back in the day there was a short lived craze adding mass by screwing metal plates to the back of headstocks, Some say it made a difference, never tried it so don't know, but the thinking behind it makes sense
This has been my experience. I swapped out the stock Grovers on my Hummingbird for a set of Grover Kluson style and the stock Grovers went right back on. It significantly changed the sound of the instrument.
 

myoldfriend

Suffers from GAS
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
171
Reaction score
101
I replaced the tuners on my Lester with some potatoes from In N Out and I must say it was a tasty improvement... Problem now is cleaning all that ketchup off my strings.
 

Bobby Mahogany

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
23,842
Reaction score
36,510
Funny how it's so clear for some how little details can affect the tone of an electric guitar
while others will just go "It's all in the pickups!"

I was first briefed by a musician friend a long time ago when I mentioned that I would
like to change my Kluson's for Grover's "à la Jimmy Page".
He asked me how I liked the tone of my guitar and let me know it wouldn't sound
the same if I did. Explained to me about mass, metal vibration and shit.
I was totally shocked that making that change would affect the tone but
could understand the principle.
That's also around that time that I started to be aware of wood resonance and the influence on tone.
All my musician friends agreed that guitar components, would they be wood or else, could affect
the tone of a guitar.
Eventually I became a guitar "crackpot" too and have experienced those tone changes one would not expect.
I have also worked in the musical instruments industry for some years and have had the opportunity to try and test
many guitars, amps and stuff.
All I can say is when you meet a guitar that talks to you, get it.
Or you might spend the rest of your life trying to find that "tone" again!
There ain't no two guitars that are just the same.
LOL.
 

PermissionToLand

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
Messages
630
Reaction score
347
Funny how it's so clear for some how little details can affect the tone of an electric guitar
while others will just go "It's all in the pickups!"

I was first briefed by a musician friend a long time ago when I mentioned that I would
like to change my Kluson's for Grover's "à la Jimmy Page".
He asked me how I liked the tone of my guitar and let me know it wouldn't sound
the same if I did. Explained to me about mass, metal vibration and shit.
I was totally shocked that making that change would affect the tone but
could understand the principle.
That's also around that time that I started to be aware of wood resonance and the influence on tone.
All my musician friends agreed that guitar components, would they be wood or else, could affect
the tone of a guitar.
Eventually I became a guitar "crackpot" too and have experienced those tone changes one would not expect.
I have also worked in the musical instruments industry for some years and have had the opportunity to try and test
many guitars, amps and stuff.
All I can say is when you meet a guitar that talks to you, get it.
Or you might spend the rest of your life trying to find that "tone" again!
There ain't no two guitars that are just the same.
LOL.
... so some guy gave you a pseudo-scientific rant decades ago and you've been believing the confirmation bias ever since. You should listen to actual scientists instead of the consensus of your musician friends.
 

Dolebludger

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
14,618
Reaction score
13,357
When I touch the tuner shafts in the classic Kluson tuners in my real 61 SG Standard with strings off, they wiggle about — not really tight in the headstock. On my guitars with Grover or Spretzel locking tuners, there is no “wiggle” in the posts with strings off. And those guitars have better tone and response.

This means to me that the tuners are making firm contact with the headstock, which I feel is an important thing in maximizing tone. It is not a matter of mass at the headstock, IMHO. Rather, it is a matter of firm string contact with the body at every point. Some think that string contact above the nut and below the bridge makes no difference, and I can see why they believe that. The nut and the bridge supposedly take care of tone above and below those points. In theory, that should be the case. But to my ears theory is not correct. On my LP, I have a milled aluminum and a milled brass TPS. They are of course behind the bridge. But yet, they do affect both primary and amplified tone. So, to me, “loosely goosey” string posts on classic Kluson tuners could degrade tone.

The only reason I don’t change the tuners on my real 61 SG LP tuners from classic Kluson to something else is that it is vintage and collectible and I want to keep,it original. But I don’t play it often.
 

Bobby Mahogany

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
23,842
Reaction score
36,510
... so some guy gave you a pseudo-scientific rant decades ago and you've been believing the confirmation bias ever since. You should listen to actual scientists instead of the consensus of your musician friends.

I could easily reply:
"You should listen to actual musical instruments instead of the consensus of your pseudo-scientific friends."
And that could develop into the useless argument we've seen so many times around here.

As I was implying.
Some get it, some don't.
Some hear it, some don't.

I respect that you obviously don't, although I wish for you that you could.
Just respect others that do.
That will be all.
Have a good night!
 

Dolebludger

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
14,618
Reaction score
13,357
Yes, and happy Thanksgiving to all. It may have something to do with our amps and other gear, but for me, good tone from my guitars depends (in part) on how well the strings are secured to the body, even above the nut or below the bridge.
 

Scott A Novak

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
47
It is not a matter of mass at the headstock, IMHO. Rather, it is a matter of firm string contact with the body at every point.
While I'd agree with you that the string contact points are important, I don't think that you can rule out mass or the material that the tuners are made from. It is all going to have some effect and you shouldn't ignore any possibility.

You can hear a difference between a brass vs aluminum tailpiece, so why shouldn't the tuner material affect the tone? The Sperzels have an aluminum body vs the Grover Rotomatics which have a zinc body. I do have reason to believe that a hard aluminum alloy will sound better than zinc. I'm curious to know what tonal differences there are between the Grover Rotomatics and the Sperzels. I also hear some people complaining that locking tuners don't sound as good as non-locking.

I have a trapeze tailpiece on my ES-335 and I hate the ringing of the strings between the bridge and the tailpiece. At some going I'm going to replace the trapeze tailpiece with either an aluminum stop bar tailpiece or an aluminum wrap around tailpiece.

... so some guy gave you a pseudo-scientific rant decades ago and you've been believing the confirmation bias ever since. You should listen to actual scientists instead of the consensus of your musician friends.
One test is worth a thousand theories.

Some people say that they can't hear a difference in tone between various tuners and others claim they can. I've found that when doing listening tests, some people just don't have the necessary attention span, and others just don't care. To make matters worse, most guitar amplifiers, cables, and speakers don't have excellent resolution and have so many sonic problems that can make it difficult to hear subtle differences in guitars.

Scott Novak
 

Dolebludger

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
14,618
Reaction score
13,357
Scott,

I agree with you in that the material out of which anything that has contact with the strings and the body can make a tonal difference. But the firmness of the contact also makes a difference.
 

charlie chitlins

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
3,240
Reaction score
2,943
That was my point exactly. Clearly it's a bunch of crap or people would be doing it, since it would be about the simplest and easiest mod to possibly do on a guitar.
Bass players have done it for years and continue to. The initial idea was to get rid of dead spots that, for whatever reason, bass guitars are afflicted with. I think there is still a product called a Fat Finger.
Jaco used small c-clamps.
 

ErictheRed

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
5,333
Reaction score
6,565
If tuners change the tone of the guitar, it's not because of the insignificant difference in mass between tuner types, that's absolutely preposterous. It's because some tuners are more stable than others, make better contact with the headstock, vibrate less with respect to the headstock, etc. The difference in mass between Kluson and Grover tuners has absolutely nothing to do with tone.

You might just tighten or loosen the screws of your existing tuners and get the effect that you're claiming is due to mass. How often do people check all of the small pieces of hardware on their guitar like that? Almost never.
 
Last edited:

charlie chitlins

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
3,240
Reaction score
2,943
I changed the tuners on my beloved old Danelectro once. I was gigging it regularly and keeping it in tune wasn't terrible, but wanted improvement.
I can't remember what I put on...Schallers or Grovers....it never even occurred to me that there would be a difference, but it was huge. I can't say if it was better or worse, but it was different enough that it sure didn't sound like MY guitar anymore. I put the cheapie 3-on-a-strip tuners back on and all was right with the world again.
I sometimes wonder if extra headstock mass is what makes budget Epiphones sound good.
OTOH, I have a lightweight aluminum tailpiece that I have tried on several guitars...a Firebird, a couple Vs and a couple Lesters, and I can't tell the difference.
 

ErictheRed

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
5,333
Reaction score
6,565
Make a video playing your guitar straight into your amp, strumming some simple chords. Then clamp some extra mass to the headstock, and strum. Remove the clamp and strum. Put the clamp back and strum. Play some arpeggios and simple melodies with and without the clamped mass to your headstock, so that we can all see the amazing tonal differences that extra headstock mass provides.
 
Last edited:

Wrench66

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2013
Messages
541
Reaction score
298
Pretty sure Johan Sedgborn (sp?) did a few vids on similar topics. The weight, and material clearly made a difference in his videos.
 

Pageburst

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
91
Reaction score
221
Make a video playing your guitar straight into your amp, strumming some simple chords. Then clamp some extra mass to the headstock, and strum. Remove the clamp and strum. Put the clamp back and strum. Play some arpeggios and simple melodies with and without the clamped mass to your headstock, so that we can all see the amazing tonal differences that extra headstock mass provides.
your statement is completely erroneous with regard to the topic discussed. slight additions or subtractions off mass are irrelevant. It is the improvement in the coupling of the stings to the headstock which creates the tonal difference or improvement noted.

adding mass to a guitar does nothing to improve the existing tuner nor reduce the dissipation of energy due to tuner ”slop“. Pluck a string and put your finger on the back of Kluson than do the same to a Grover. You’ll Clearly see which tuner dissipates energy and which provides a cleaner couple.

frankly i could care less who uses grovers or doesn’t. I merely wanted to share an improvement i noticed in case others might be interested. Why some folks need to spread completely baseless and irrelevant information on a topic they have no experience with is beyond me. But it seems to happen a lot. Unfortunately, this disinformation lessens the utility of forums like this while diluting the collective knowledge base.
 

northernguitarguy

SWeAT hOg
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Messages
33,438
Reaction score
58,327
Make a video playing your guitar straight into your amp, strumming some simple chords. Then clamp some extra mass to the headstock, and strum. Remove the clamp and strum. Put the clamp back and strum. Play some arpeggios and simple melodies with and without the clamped mass to your headstock, so that we can all see the amazing tonal differences that extra headstock mass provides.
It can’t be done. We can’t ‘hear’ the same psychoacoustics.
 

ErictheRed

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Messages
5,333
Reaction score
6,565
Pretty sure Johan Sedgborn (sp?) did a few vids on similar topics. The weight, and material clearly made a difference in his videos.
A set of Kluson tuners weighs about 5 ounces, and a set of Grovers about 8.5 ounces. Are we seriously suggesting that someone can hear the 3.5 ounce difference in tone...?
 




Top