Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Discussion Forum

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!

 All Forums
 Other Banjo-Related Topics
 Collector's Corner
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Hoping to refurbish old Grover tuners.

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

Robert Billings - Posted - 01/17/2020:  08:21:56

I'm wanting to improve the "smoothness" of these Grover tuners on a 1925 TB 3, ball-bearing tone ring Mastertone.
They rotate, but not that smoothly. Are there any suggestions?

waystation - Posted - 01/17/2020:  08:29:12

I'll be watching this thread. I have a set of gold-plated Planets from the same era that need service, and I couldn't find anyone who does the work. If you find someone, I'll probably follow you in.

That said, the two-tab Grovers pictured here were fairly common back in the day, and there are still lots of them around, owned by people who put more modern (and, honestly, better) tuners on their conversion necks. An option for you would be to find a collector or an upgrader willing to part with a set that works better than yours. The price shouldn't be too scary.

kmwaters - Posted - 01/17/2020:  09:15:59

Get some Keiths

waystation - Posted - 01/17/2020:  10:33:26


Originally posted by kmwaters

Get some Keiths

Keiths, with or without stops, will radically change the look of the banjo. Rickards, Waverlys or Gotohs would be more traditional looking. But I read the OP's previous thread about the banjo and I think his intention is to keep it as original as possible. Hence overhauling instead of replacing the original tuners.

Another problem - any modern tuner is going to leave the screw holes of the original tuner tabs visible. That won't look good even with a traditional looking tuner.

kmwaters - Posted - 01/17/2020:  10:36:44

Excellent points I did not realize.

Edited by - kmwaters on 01/17/2020 10:37:54

jimt - Posted - 01/17/2020:  11:39:31

The problem is dried grease, formed into lumps, making the tuners act they way they do. Moving a solvent through the tuners to dissolve as much grease as possible will help. I've had the best luck with a syringe and plastic tubing to wash out the tuner body. Remove the tuner from the banjo, remove the tuner button from the tuner, soak the tuners in solvent for a while or hours or days, rig up your flushing apparatus, and douche away. Rotate the gears a few times while douching, er, flushing. Evacuate the solvent, let dry for several hours, and re-lubricate with an oil product that applies wet then gels into a grease. I've had good luck doing this.

jimt - Posted - 01/17/2020:  12:05:06

I just read your earlier post. You have the TB-3 BB banjo that was re-assembled incorrectly. Your problem may simply be that the tuner button screws are overly tight. This will definitely affect how they operate. Back off the screws and see if it makes a difference. Tighten the screws about 1/2 turn after the screw makes contact with tuner button. Firm-ish, not tight, is what you want.

Edited by - jimt on 01/17/2020 12:06:10

Robert Billings - Posted - 01/17/2020:  15:48:35

Thank you very much everyone!
To clarify, I'm wanting to put this banjo up for sale on the Hangout for a friend.
I don't want to do any renovating as prospective buyers might like it in it's most original form.

hbick2 - Posted - 01/17/2020:  15:49:51

The same thing works with Planets. I have used Planets for decades and have never had one go bad. They don't work well, however, if the screw is too tight.

mikehalloran - Posted - 01/21/2020:  22:35:43

Those probably have a 2:1 ratio. Easy to check by counting the number of turns of the know to rotate the shaft one time. If 2:1, good luck getting anything resembling smooth out of them but do try.

You will want to post whether 2:1 or 4:1 in any ad you run. Enquiring buyers will want to know.

Brett - Posted - 01/22/2020:  14:03:06

The tuners are advertised regularly for asking price around $100. I doubt they bring that, because they are terrible, even cleaned and greased. I’ve got 2 or 3 sets. You might be wasting your time, but you might enjoy the tinkering.

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories