Wanting to replace 5120 tuners, but…

I'm not sure which way to go. My 5120 has the open tuners and frankly I have no problem with them whatsoever! I just haven't warmed up to their looks! I know that the "Grover 18:1 Sta-Tites" are probably the closes direct replacement out there. GFS also has "Wilkinsen Open Tuners" that may be the knock-offs to the Grovers. But what I'd really like is a closed tuner. It's purely a preference issue. Which would be the best replacement that would require the least modifying (if any). I was hoping that if the mounting holes were different, the holes would be covered by the replacement tuner. Replacing parts is one thing, but I'm gun shy when it comes to bodywork! Any suggestions? (I tried to upload a pic but wouldn't work) -Five-
http://store.guitarfetish.com/3x3vikegkekl.html these are nice ...
afm_380: I looked at those before but I don't care for the "Green-Key" look. They tend to shout out Gibson. That's not good for my Gretsch!
Pappy: That's why I still haven't ruled out the "Grover Sta-Tite" open tuners completely. It's still an upgrade in quality. This is one of those mods that can take its time. The guitar is fine as is with no tuning problems at all. So if/when I find what I like, I'll go for it. In the meantime, I'll keep looking at what others have done here with their 5120'. This forum is always great for suggestions and ideas. Anyone else....?
These are a perfect fit the screw holes will line right up and you can reuse the existing 9mm bushings. I like open back tuners and am using the Wilkinson 18:1 Waverly copies sold by GuitarFetish on my 5125 and I love 'em. CLICK HERE.
I know what you mean. The stem on the electro tuners seem so... flimsy. But I love my Grovers. I also like to keep wieght down wherever possible (and since closed backs aren't essential...).
Caught me in a weak moment. I just ordered them for my 5122. 18:1 at that price???
Yeah, I know the link went to the Kluson knockoffs. I was showing FiveAces a closed back tuner that would work on his guitar and not look Gibson. I just mentioned in the reply that I had gone with the Wilkinsons. They are excellent and they have virtually no lash and the buttons look great.
Bear: I consider the Kluson knockoffs as a good choice if I go the closed tuner route. Do you know for a fact that these are truly a direct replacement...as no mod needed whatsoever?
Measure the distance between the mounting screws on your open tuners. Center to center should be 1". If it is, then the answer is yes.
Hey Bear: just noticed....Happy Birthday!
Wrong Bear, but thanks anyway!
Oh! that's too hard 2 bear !!!
Ordered the Wilkinsons for my 5122 this morning before my second cup of coffee. Can't wait. Bear went back and looked at the pic of your 5125 - just beartiful. The pic makes the strings look like barge tow ropes... are those fairly heavy guage? Edit: Email just now that these things shipped already, for delivery Friday. I was all geared up for an extended delay, now I think my head's going to explode.
Thanks for the compliments on my guitar. I'm really happy with it. I use Elixir Nanoweb medium strings (.011 - .049), not real heavy but they sound great in my humble opinion and they tow a great barge. You'll really like the Wilkinson tuners.
I've been comparing all your inputs for tuner replacements. I do think I may go with the Wilkinson 18:1 Open Tuners. I was comparing them to the OEM tuners on my 5120 and, to my surprise, realized that the OEMs are also 18:1 tuners! It's just that they look kinda cheesey to me. Am I just being picky?
The Grover Imperials would look great on a 5120, check out the pic of a Phoenix.
IMO, getting knockoff tuners is really no better than sticking with the stock ones unless you are just going for aesthtics. If you are going to replace stock tuners on a 51 series, buy good ones that you like (the price difference between knock offs and decent ones isn't much), and ream the holes if necessary. That said, I have heard some good stuff about the Wilkonson "waverly" tuners. Keep in mind that these (funtionally) aren't much different than what comes stock.
If you dont mind having small holes in the back of the headstock I highly recommend Sperzels (which I dont mind at all). You can dive bomb and it's still in tune. That is nice. I didnt mind the looks of the stock tuners, but string bending and the use of the bigsby would take the g and b string out of tune pretty quickly.
bobbyrivera: I agree with your comment... not much difference in price between knockoffs and the real thing. Well... except the "Wilkinson Waverlys" are about 20% of what the real Waverly's would cost. For me, it is solely a "look thing" because the OEM tuners really work fine. (Maybe I just have too much time on my hands!) Also, many of the Gretsch hollowbody designs use the open tuners so it keeps with the Gretsch look. bigorange: I know... sounds bad (being picky again) but I don't want holes showing on the back of my headstock. If it was black, it would be easy to fill & touchup. But having the Orange makes it harder to match. IMHO I have yet to encounter a tuner (especially those with an 18:1 ratio) that wouldn't hold tune under most harsh Trem/Bigsby use unless the mechanism was physically worn with age and the gears are really loose. Don't get me wrong, there are some bad (cheap) tuners out there. But when I've encountered specific strings that change tune, rewinding the string on itself to prevent string slip will usually cure the problem. Anyway, this tuner thing has become more of an obsession that a necessity.
I'd take this opportunity to put locking tuners on. I personally have no problem with open backs (I think Waverly is the best on the planet) and if I could only stand closed back, Imperials are awesome. But If I was changing tuners from anything to anything, I'd probably go locking, as long as aesthetics aren't an issue (they are kinda ugly). Easy string changes and consistent tuning. What more do you want? Especially if you are gigging with it.
Yeah... locking tuners are ugly. I think the the Imperials are awesome, but the electromatic 5120 headstock tuner holes is smaller spaced than some of the other Gretsch headstocks. The imperials (according to the specs on Stew-Mac) look like they would be a tight squeeze. Anyone know differently?
I just finished installing the Wilkinson 18:1 Waverly's on my 5122. One thing to note... The shafts are a tiny bit longer than the stock tuners. Both the button shaft and the string shaft. Also, the grommets that come with the Wilkinsons are of a slightly larger diameter than the headstock holes. For ease of installation, I kept the stock grommets so I would not have to ream the holes. Other than that, the Wilkinsons are definitely an upgrade. You can tell just as soon as you begin to tune them. Also upon inspection of each you immediately see the difference in quality. The Wilkinsons are clearly superior.

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