How to Change Your Guitar Tuners

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How to Change Your Guitar Tuners
The guitar is a great instrument, but it can quickly lose its appeal if the parts don't function. (guitar image by April K from

While there are many different important parts of a guitar, some of the most important are the guitar tuners, otherwise known as machine heads. The machine heads are responsible for the tuning of the strings. By tightening them, the strings become tighter and you can achieve the tuning you want. As time goes on, though, the machine heads wear out. Changing them is not difficult; however, it is important to buy ones that fit your particular guitar.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Slot screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Guitar polish
  • New guitar tuners
  • New strings

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  1. 1

    Remove each string from the guitar and either set them aside or discard them. Replacing strings isn't a bad idea when putting any new part on the guitar because it gives it a fresh sound. Depending on the guitar, they might be three on top of the headstock and three on the bottom for an acoustic or six on the top of the headstock for some electrics.

  2. 2

    Remove the screw or nuts that are holding the tuners to the headstock. Once these are removed from the headstock, slowly pull out the tuner. It is important to note how the machine heads fit into the guitar so that when you put the new ones in, they go in correctly.

  3. 3

    Clean each individual hole and the headstock with a soft cloth. Apply some polish so that the new machine heads move in smoothly. It's at this time that you should look for anything that may be broken on the guitar. If there is, you'll have to repair it.

  4. 4

    Insert the new machine heads. If the heads rub or grind against the wood, use sandpaper to make a little more room. Sand very carefully because you want the machine heads to fit well. Screw each machine head into the headstock and then tighten them with the screw or nuts that came with them.

  5. 5

    Restring the guitar and then tune it. Make sure that the machine heads work properly. If, after tightening the strings around a couple of times, the guitar is still not getting anywhere close to being in tune, there is something wrong with the machine heads and you should try replacing them again.

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