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Where Purchased: Deering Banjo Co.
In the spring of 2008 Deering began installing this new sealed guitar-style tuner on all banjos in its Goodtime line, in place of the open geared tuners used on Goodtime banjos since the model's inception in the early 1990s. Deering sold me a set of the new sealed tuners (manufacturer unknown to me) for retrofit purposes at a cost of $40 for a set of four plus $13 shipping + handling.
According to Deering, the old open Goodtime tuners had a gear ratio of 6:1 while the new tuners are 14:1--a significant upgrade.
Deering cautioned me about the advisability of doing this retrofit, but I persisted. The procedure required removing the old tuners, including a metal "collar" left behind in each 1/4" hole when the old tuner is removed. To get the "collar" out, I used a nail set and a hammer, from the back of the peghead, to tap each "collar" out far enough to grab it with a pliers from the front of the peghead and easily pull it out.
The next step required enlarging the 1/4" hole to 3/8"--which still left the hole too small to get the new tuner into it. Since the next drill bit in my set was obviously too large, I used the moving 3/8" drill bit to "ream" out each hole until it was large enough to accept the new tuner. There may be a better, easier way to do this, but being a rank amateur at this sort of thing, this is what I did. I also applied a tiny amount of silicone spray to the tuner shaft, which helped get each tuner a little farther into the hole--at least I think it did; maybe not.
Finally, when I had each tuner far enough in its hole that I could place the gasket/washer around the tuner from the front of the peghead, then get the nut started on the threads of the tuner coming through the front of its hole, by tightening each tuner's nut with a socket wrench I was able to pull each tuner all the way into its hole and flush with the back of the peghead. A 10 mm socket or wrench is the right size for doing this. If each new sealed tuner is carefully positioned, after installation there is only one tiny screw hole visible, from each old tuner, on the back of the peghead.
As I said, I'm a rank amateur at this kind of thing, so more experienced persons may find this procedure easier to do than I did. Still, the end result is highly satisfactory as far as I'm concerned. The new tuners make an excellent upgrade to any Goodtime banjo.
Overall Rating: 10
'Cut down rim' 3 hrs