How to Replace Kluson Tuners with Grover Tuners

Written by cole wood
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The original Kluson tuners on a vintage guitar typically demonstrate a lot of wear and many otherwise spectacular instruments will not stay in tune because of a loose connection between the worm shaft and spur gear. Replacing these tuners with a new set of Grover tuners will solve this problem and keep your instrument firmly in tune for years to come.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • Small slotted screwdriver (optional)
  • Rubber mallet (optional)
  • 1/4" diameter wooden dowel, 2"-4" long
  • Hammer
  • 25/64" reamer
  • 10mm open-end wrench

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the strings from the instrument.

  2. 2

    Remove the small screws holding the tuner housing to the back of the guitar's headstock (one at the bottom and one at the top of each unit). These can be Phillips- or slotted-style screws depending on the age of the instrument. Remove the screws and the tuner units one by one. If the unit does not easily come off of the headstock after removing the screws, try pushing it out from the front. Sometimes the tuner units will stick to the finish but they should still come out without a great deal of force. If necessary, tap very gently with a rubber mallet.

  3. 3

    Remove the bushings. For each peg hole, insert the one-quarter-inch wooden dowel from the rear of the headstock and tap lightly with a hammer until the bushing comes out.

  4. 4

    Ream the peg holes to 25/64."

  5. 5

    Unlike the Kluson tuners, the Grovers use screw-in bushings. One by one, insert the new Grover tuners into the peg holes from the rear of the headstock and finger-tighten the bushings, taking care to include the washers on the front of the headstock. For each tuner, insert and tighten the included small screw at the back of the headstock with a small Phillips-head screwdriver. These holes and thread sizes should correspond perfectly to what remains from the bottom screws on the Kluson tuners.

  6. 6

    Tighten the screw-in bushings with a 10mm open-end wrench.

  7. 7

    Restring the instrument.

Tips and warnings

  • If your guitar is younger, its Kluson tuners may use screw-in bushings and the peg holes may already be the size required for Grover tuners. If your bushings have hex-shaped heads, they are screw-in and you will need to remove them with a wrench. Check the peg hole size by attempting to insert the Grover machines from the rear of the headstock before reaming. If they fit, proceed from Step 5.
  • If you are installing a used set of Grover tuners (not recommended), the bushing size may be 3/8" rather than 10mm.
  • Do not substitute a drill bit for the reamer. A drill bit will almost certainly split your headstock.

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