General tech questions

Press Fit Tuning Peg Bushings


I have had to replace Tuning Pegs on a couple guitars over the years, my current issue is Tuning Peg Bushings...

I recently purchased, at a very nice discount, a Chinese-made Reissue. I really like the guitar. I sent the first one back as all 6 Tuning Peg Bushings were rising up out of their holes when pulling full Standard Tuning tension. I was a little curious, as the guitar was brand new, but not so much to dig in too much as I wanted the Vendor to see the problem. Easy return, lots of assurances...the next one will be perfect!

Well, not really.

So, an Executive Decision was made to move forward and correct whatever is so difficult to set a Tuning Peg Bushing.

First replacement eBay parts delivered (from China) had no measurement that matched what was advertised.

Hmmmm...I think now they were made to plug the ends of a Curtain Rod.

Then I scoured all the usual players - StewMac, AllParts, WD, etc.

I ordered a full assortment to find my best option. I know as a last resort I can use a nice new set of screw down diecast Pegs if all else fails...but, I was hoping for something simpler...


Here is the issue as best I can describe...

The holes were drilled a sloppy 9mm. The Bushings were 9mm, and the plan was for the two coats of paint, white undercoat then gloss black finish coat sprayed after the holes were drilled, to clog up the holes enough and be stout enough to accept the spline of the Bushing and hold tight.

Saving a few steps, did I imply "shortcut?", using folks that obviously don't play guitar to build guitars, using others to Inspect that don't play guitar and that don't work for you but for your Mainland Supplier, has its challenges.

I know lots of stuff is Made in China. 20 years ago I was "MacGyver" doing business over there...I was always uncomfortable about not having your own people running the Shop.

Step One - Get the paint out!

Step Two - Size the hole properly for the new Bushing without damaging the Finish coat.

I like the process I have worked up...just will take a while.

I am going at this very slow, removing material little by little by spinning a small diameter dowel wrapped with Sandpaper. I hope to make a lot of progress over the Holiday Weekend.

This is a sit by the TV kinda thing...

The neck/headstock wood is Canadian Maple, I think that will hold a Bushing!


Step Two now well underway.

After reviewing all the different Tuner Bushing sets that arrived, I settled on the Chrome Hex 10mm with decorative best matches my need, as well as the photo on the Warranty Card, even if it is a Bass.


These are the tools of the trade...

Calipers, pencil/dowel, sandpaper, an old parabula Dremel bit sized as a feeler gauge, a new similar bit with Chuck Key to aid with breaking the finish as I enlarge the holes.

Stew Mac Help Line gave me a few pointers, and if you watch the video clip in my prior post you'll then understand the 6mm bolt with Nylon and Metal washers...


I like the rate at which material is being removed. Each new piece of sandpaper is a bit longer than the last, which increases the diameter of the pencil/dowel applying gradually more pressure for the sandpaper to work.

I am wearing skin off my fingers, yesterday I added a blister!

So, in between, a couple days off...

I am getting a little "hourglassing" in the holes, but well within good practice. Once I am happy with how working from the topside looks, I'll work in from the backside until I am ready to set the Bushings.


I ran into that same problem a few years back,I didnt plan on ever removing the tuners so I used a gel Super glue,they are still there.


I gave that option a lot of thought...

In the end, it just seemed to me they used the wrong part.


Your A more determined man than me, I tried obtaining the correct size bushings and gave up after a futile attempt at dissecting the Metric to Standard size options available.


I'd be afraid that using a bolt to pull it into a Gretsch headstock would crack the wood. I'd probably just put some masking tape over the whold and bush the bushing through it.


I am concerned about the finish. We'll see how it works out.

If you watch that vid clip, that Maple headstock only has clear. But, how the bolt-thru-hole moves the Bushing in is really preferred. The other thing I notice is how the Bushing in the vid sits up, little, if any, headstart whereas the Bushing could be a 1/3 the way a tapered Bushing. Not sure how much interference he had, looks like a fair amount, and the wood held up fine with that "crunch" torque setting the Bushing.

Part of the reason for the Dremel bit is to take that paint edge back from around hole. I'll add more support on the backside when I put the Bushings in.

Also, having the decorative washer gives me another couple millimeters should I get any fracturing.

Between the 2 layers of paint, hole oversized, etc., it seems the factory was short the correct Bushing parts, and hoping the improvisation would hold...


It has been a few weeks now, I forgot ...

1 of the 6 Bushings on the second guitar did have some dried out masking tape wrapped around it...

Early on, on the first guitar, I tried the masking tape wrap thing on the E/6th while pondering Super Glue, it was useless.


Now, 3 more "sanding" sessions are complete. Each session a new strip of 120 grit. That is about as thick a paper as can be spun up around the dowel and not go hex or octal versus round.

My headstock is .700" thick. The spline length on the Bushing .250" with an added 1/16" chamfer. That old Dremel bit was worked to give a .390" max diameter. The new Bushings are 10mm (.394"). Stew Mac suggested .010" interference.

The new Bushings will start in all Peg holes. They sit down about 1/16" past the chamfer. The D/4th Peg hole was different than all the rest, much more hourglassed from the Factory as if it were the first hole being drilled, and the operator noticed they had the wrong bit in the drill press. It was not the one with the masking tape wrap, that was A/5th. It sits down an extra 1/32nd compared to the rest of the holes.

I think soon I will need to stay off the topside, once all holes take the old Dremel bit the same, then work more from the back so as to save my good tolerances at the top lip. The new Dremel bit is making that all work out well.

I have used about 2/3rds of a sheet of 120 paper.


Topside entry done, I'll give it a last look after I size the holes a bit more further in from the backside. About .007" more to go. I want this feeler gauge to drop down another 1/16" or so...

This has taken some time. 2 coats of paint and .035" around the I.D.

Maple is hard!

If I had access to the workshop up in WNC, this would have taken an hour.

If I watched more TV, I would be done...


So, Ok now, the moment of truth...will the headstock or finish crack while cranking down the new 10mm Bushings?


Fitting the 3-on-a-Side tuner assemblies, now that was a challenge.

Can someone say "equi-distant" in Chinese?

Mandarin or Cantonese accepted.

Not that I haven't seen a pair from right here in the USA be a bit off, but those are now 100yo. Apparently copied...

The little screw hole pattern on the backside is unique, nothing else matches in the marketplace...

I hunted.


I lost a bit of clearance with my peg thru holes from the added height of the new hex 10mm Bushings, but no real issue.

The next test will be to string her up. I need to get a few inexpensive sets of strings, not worth the nicer ones while still fiddling around.

The fact that the assemblies aren't true dimensionally or perpendicularly gave me a little bit of tilt. If I get any creep like before, I have a plan...

So, I am in a better place, no marks, no errors, a few ultra-fine easily buffed dust lines in the clear that only someone as AR as I am would ever notice.


It's good to have a hobby!


You think, your wife?

My wife begs for this kinda stuff!


Now all strung with a set of DR Blues .010's.

No Bushing movement whatsoever.

Very Thankful for that...


My E/6th took up most the tolerances of Mainland measuring, it was my Pinball Machine "Tilt"...but, solid, no creep.

The G/3rd has a 1/4 of that leaning the other direction, away from the neck.


So, Barney's buddy and cellmate Cousin Roger is back from the Infirmary!

They make a nice pair.


How could I not try to make one of these Reissues work?

If I had cracked off the headstock, my wife would have ordered another just to keep me occupied.

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