Significant Tonal Improvement Changing Klusons for Grovers

jwinger

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Unless there is a before/after recording with clear evidence, it’s likely just the placebo effect...
Respectfully, if you'd try'd it you'd know you don't need to bother with a recording to be aware of the difference. It's very clear
 

crosstownblues

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All I can say then sir is we all hear things differently then, but that's not exactly a new insight
I didn’t say I didn’t hear a difference, just that I didn’t think it was a difference I preferred. After all, it’s only a matter of what’s better for the player, isn't it?
 

tonybony

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I can hear a clear difference between Klusons and Grovers. The Grovers seem to emphasize the fundamental. As to which is better, it depends on the Les Paul in my opinion, but the difference is apparent to my ears.
 

Kody

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what about the kluson revolution style tuners? anybody tried them? i like the idea here but i dont want to modify anything for fitment.
 

The Nighthawk

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Yes it's no joke. I was upgrading my Jimmie Vaughan Strat. I installed Sperzal lockers. I thought I was playing a different guitar. What ring and sustain! The Sperzals are very heavy for one thing. I only opened up the holes just enough to "tap in" the tuning machines extremely tightly. (be careful on that) The tool that I used to bore out the tuner holes is the drum shaped sanding bit that comes with all Dremel tools. I didn't know that the fit would be so tight. Some people might be afraid to pound the Sperzals in for fear of breaking the headstock. Heavy, tight fitting tuners gives the same effect as clamping a weight on your headstock increasing ring and acoustic volume.:thumb:
I also upgraded the tuners on my Jimmy Vaughan Strat, but with Kluson locking tuners. Result: more snap, more clarity, more sustain. But no doubt different density, weight and fit to the headstoock. I almost always upgrade to locking tuners on my guitars. The difference is always dramatic. Some are Grover typoe, some are Sperzel, some Kluson. Two examples stand out.

First my 2016 LPM Les Paul, with a Maple neck which had a much better top end tone than the Studio I A - B 'ed it with in the sttore, but had the dreadful E-tune things (which weigh practically nothing or a battery powered system couldn't turn them) I put on Grover type cheap Chinese copy locking tuners and the fuzziness was erased instantly. Yes the E-Tune thing tuned it automatically - but you had to do it after every song.

Second was my Fender Bass VI - I swapped the Klusons out for locking Klusons. The tension on these guitar tuners with bass strings is extreme, but the improvement was immediate. much crisper tone, and better stability. I had a similar improvement in tone (slightly different characteristics) when I slid a Staytrem bridge under the old strings. It not only cured the buzzing but also lifted the clarity of the same tired strings.
 

The Nighthawk

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Great thread, lots of good 3.00am reading. My 2 cents: there's three things in play here.

Physics, hearing and perception.

First the physics:

Everything on a guitar affects its tone. It's a purposely constructed semi-closed system of tuned vibration with components designed to aid its purpose, but limited by economics and the quality of construction, fit and finish.

The tuners make a huge difference, they're at one end of the primary vibrating mechanism, the strings. Their density, precision in operation (& gear ratios), and construction quality all makes a difference that SOME people can hear.

Second, hearing. We all have different hearing capacity. Some people hear things in music that others cannot. This may not be fair but it's just a fact. Annoying to feel you're missing out on something you can't even detect. But that's just how it is. Life ain't fair.

For example, I have the ability to hear much higher frequencies than most people. I discovered this in a grammar school biology class in 1973. I could detect frequencies way beyond other people. My science teacher was pissed, he was convinced I was lying, but I successfully detected sounds way beyond anyone else in the room. Even beyond the point where I could 'hear' them, but rather was able to detect them even when I couldn't say they actually made an audible tone.

This has had no benefit for me in life at all. Except I am really stirred emotionally by Rickenbacker 12 strings, the rich, lush sweep of sub-harmonics and overtones just make me shiver. Sadly it isn't tied to musical ability. I have a reasonable amount of musical aptitude and 40+ years of practice but I'm never gonna shock the world with my amazing abilities.

Some people can hear things most people cant. No-one can hear 3 grammes of additonal mass, but they can hear a change in tone or timbre. This drives people who can't hear it nuts. Which is unfortunate but just the way it is. No amount of scientific testing will prove otherwise. An oscilloscope showing a wave isn't sound, just a representation of sound. Science can only help by testing hearing rather than the source of sound.

My source for this knowledge is a friend who is a physicist who worships at the Church of James Earl Page and his Les Paul, and is also one of my country's leading audiologists. The qualities of sound, especially from a Les Paul are an enduring source of delight, backed up by an extraordinary understanding of the science of both sound and hearing. Except she's a woman so what would she know? That was a joke! She's an extraordinary woman.

Last is perception. What we hear is one thing, but what we assess as better or worse, good tone versus bad tone is entirely subjective. That's the reason for the endless search for tone. We all hear that magical perfect tone differently. For me it begin in the 1970s when I heard Marc Bolan playing a Les Paul through a Marshall on Get It On (Bang a Gong). A basic 12 bar boogie shuffle that grabbed me by the guts and wouldn't let go. I actually reproduced it one time in the 90's with my LP Standard and a Laney 'Vox clone' amp. But it slipped away and it keeps on evolving as I get closer.

YMMV, as they say.
 

Subterfuge

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interesting comments about hearing much higher frequencies than most people discovered in Biology Class in 1973 .. in 1973 I was 17 and probably had pretty good hearing at the higher frequencies .. we all know regarding hearing loss that the higher frequencies are the first to go ... I've always used the Diapason Pierre Verany Test Disc of reference test tones to test my hearing range .. it's been years since I've used the disc but last time I tested I know I was essentially deaf above the 8K signal ... I probably could have heard it if I were to raise the sound level by 40 to 50db .. at 64 I'm sure I have lost even more hearing in the higher frequencies ..
 

efstop

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interesting comments about hearing much higher frequencies than most people discovered in Biology Class in 1973 .. in 1973 I was 17 and probably had pretty good hearing at the higher frequencies .. we all know regarding hearing loss that the higher frequencies are the first to go ... I've always used the Diapason Pierre Verany Test Disc of reference test tones to test my hearing range .. it's been years since I've used the disc but last time I tested I know I was essentially deaf above the 8K signal ... I probably could have heard it if I were to raise the sound level by 40 to 50db .. at 64 I'm sure I have lost even more hearing in the higher frequencies ..
The flyback transformer in old TVs put out a 15.75 KHz (B/W TV) sound. When I was young I could tell immediately that the TV was on.
There are no more tube TVs, and I'm old, so wondering if I could hear it now is a moot point ;)
 

Duane_the_tub

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Some people can listen to music and hear things that aren't really there. It's not about superior hearing, it's about imagination.
 

RandR

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Is English your second language because I don’t understand some of your spelling and grammar, so parts of your post don’t make sense ?
Frankly, I didn't see enough wrong with his post that would call for such sarcasm. I understood it perfectly.

Are you the grammar cop for the entire MYLESPAUL site? Asking for me.
 

Stevevall

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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




I put locking grovers on my 2000 morte. No extra holes. The change in stability was immediate, I didn’t need stretching and it stays in tun. I just got a 2020 50s standard, and I am going to replace the Klusons with locking Kluson tuners. I’m curious why you didn’t
 

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Stevevall

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I put locking grovers on my 2000 morte. No extra holes. The change in stability was immediate, I didn’t need stretching and it stays in tun. I just got a 2020 50s standard, and I am going to replace the Klusons with locking Kluson tuners. I’m curious why you didn’t put Kluso locking tuners, no extra holes?
 

MiniB

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I just got a set of Grover Milk Bottles for my 50's Standard LP as well. I'm hoping the bottom screw holed line right up and I don't have to drill/widen them, in case I want to switch back or to vintage-style Klusons (with push-in adapter bushings, got several extra sets), would rather not plug and drill again.
 

MiniB

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So put a set of Grovers on my 2020 USA LP Std, replacing the stock Kluson-style tuners (with hex bushings). The bottom securing screws pretty much lined up directly, so that was nice that I didn't have to plug/drill new little holes. Was able to keep the same set of strings on too.

The difference in tone/response is altogether in line with the video I posted earlier comparing them on an ES-335. Immediately notice more in the lower mids on each note, with more fullness and sustain, and seemingly more volume even played unplugged. I liken it to switching on a compressor in your signal chain, set relatively low but enough to bring everything out. Very noticeable on the bridge pickup which now has more of a 'bark' as opposed to the 'quack' like before.

But like a compressor, even though it lifts some of the lesser things, it also seems to bring some of the peaks down, if you will. Not that the guitar is darker, per se, but maybe because things are fuller and more even dynamically, it doesn't seem to have as much 'zing' and 'snap' up top, and you may find yourself re-doing your pole pieces to bring more of it out and redo the balance between strings. Low strings still have definition (thankfully) but a little less of that steeliness/twang. Adds a nice thick fluidity to single-note runs and leads, but you might end up missing some woody airiness or sizzle that you had before.

I'm actually tempted to put the Kluson-style tuners from the LP Std on my 2019 ES-335 to see if it brings out some more snap, since that came with Grovers and has a lot of syrupy mids. For now, I'm staying with the Grovers on the LP Std, but might change from brass to steel tailpiece studs to bring back a little more snap/chime. It can be a balancing act.
 
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Wuuthrad

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This is total Nonsense: Guitar strings don’t vibrate past the nut, the tuner makes no difference to the tone, only intonation- it’s all in your head!
 

MiniB

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I don't think it's necessarily about the string per se, but mass added to the resonant foundation....like how different guitar bodies and materials/woods will sound different. I wouldn't have thought that the anchoring structures past the nut and bridge would have made such a difference until I noticed it. I think because the guitar's neck itself generally resonates/vibrates more on a solid-body guitar than the body itself, the change in mass is more significant. If one notices audible differences between zinc and aluminum tailpieces, it only makes sense that they would between tuners of even wider variation mass and structural variation.

For example, play your electric guitar unplugged with nothing touching it except your hands and body. Then play it with the headstock (carefully!) held against a door or table. There's vibration going through there alright, even if it's not from that short string length behind the nut.

Again, unless it was specifically doctored/mixed to be different, the video posted earlier is a good example of the difference in timbre. Could it be more or less for certain guitars and even certain ears? Perhaps....probably, even. But it's there. And whether it's 'better' or not will also probably depend on the guitar itself, and if you felt you needed or welcomed that change in timbre. My LP Std was rather quacky and a bit harsh before especially with 50's wiring (which I also think helps notice the differences since it's generally clearer). Something with a thicker sound or like an all-mahogany Studio or Custom may actually benefit from more snap and a little more air with Klusons.

Question is whether the Grovers are actually increasing the lower mids or if they're dampening the other frequencies so as to allow the mids to be more prominent in the eq, and we interpret that as more volume or fullness.
 
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