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Jun 5, 2020 - 9:12:58 AM
3850 posts since 5/1/2003

I'm replacing the guitar style tuners on this Rogue neck. I did a test drilling on a piece of plywood. I only have a 3/8 " which is too tight and 13/32 " which is a little sloppy for fit. So that leaves 25/64" or the metric equivalent. Since I need to buy a proper bit,what is the correct size for the Gotoh tuner?
also,I think I'll remove the Rogue stamping since it's now attatched to a Slingerland Maybell pot. Does anybody know how to make a custom sticker that could be placed on the peghead? I've had a $150 bid by a artist to paint something,but I'm unwilling to spend that on this banjo at this time,though I do like it a lot.
I tune it to E,I call it my poor man's John Harford banjo. ;)


Jun 5, 2020 - 9:24:43 AM
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3857 posts since 10/13/2005

DON'T USE A DRILL!!!!YOU ARE LIKELY TO TEAR UP THE AREA AROUND THE TUNER HOLES OR EVEN SPLIT THE HEADSTOCK!!! Most folks will say get a hand router. I've replaced tuners to Gotohs by using a rat tail file and toward the end a piece of sand paper wrapped around a pencil. Cheapskate, er, banjered

Jun 5, 2020 - 9:34:16 AM

2892 posts since 2/18/2009

I can't advise on using a drill bit or not, but if you do the size you need is either 10mm or 25/64", which is approximately 9.92mm. With a caliper the raw brass Gotohs I mostly use are about 9.73 mm, so they fit really nicely in either one.

Jun 5, 2020 - 9:48:41 AM
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Bill H


1323 posts since 11/7/2010

Gotoh's web site lists the shaft diameter as 9.5mm, which converts to .374", just a hair under 3/8". I would think a 3/8" bit would be the correct size. As Tom warns, drilling through an existing hole can be a bit dangerous. I certainly would not attempt this with a hand power drill. Ideally the existing holes would be close enough to stretch a bit with sandpaper or a fine rat tail file. Proceed with caution.

Jun 5, 2020 - 9:51:25 AM
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2892 posts since 2/18/2009

Back before a kind person sent me some 10mm drill bits I used to drill a 3/8" hole when building banjos and then ream the holes to fit with a cello peg reamer I happened to have. Gotoh planetary banjo tuners will not go through a 3/8" hole, at least none of the ~150 sets I have had.

Jun 5, 2020 - 10:14:59 AM
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3172 posts since 5/29/2011


There is a graphic artist named Ronny Taylor who sells peghead logos made to order. His eBay user name is vidiot. He charges $15 for two logos but in my experience he often sends more than two. He is very good and has a pretty quick turnaround time. I usually have the logos I order in a week or less. Here are a couple of pictures of logos he has made for me.

Jun 5, 2020 - 10:23:35 AM
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243 posts since 12/7/2017

When I use a drill bit I always clamp a piece of wood or anything very tight on each side of the headstock (or whatever), so drilling through is not very risky.

Jun 5, 2020 - 10:35:24 AM

3172 posts since 5/29/2011

Originally posted by pasdimo

When I use a drill bit I always clamp a piece of wood or anything very tight on each side of the headstock (or whatever), so drilling through is not very risky.

Drilling out an existing hole to a larger diameter is another matter. A bit can grab in a predrilled hole and cause all kinds of unpleasant results.

Jun 5, 2020 - 10:55:03 AM

2234 posts since 4/7/2010

I like to fill the peghead holes with a dowel the same wood type as the neck, then drill with a forester bit.

Bob Smakula

Jun 5, 2020 - 11:17:25 AM
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2215 posts since 9/16/2007

Diameter of Gotoh tuner is 0.374, and they will be a snug fit into a hole drilled with 3/8 (0.375) inch bit: I just did this. In practice, however, I ream slightly larger to allow humidity induced movement without a binding fit.

If you use a regular twist drill, dub it and drill from each side to center.

Jun 5, 2020 - 1:22:48 PM
Players Union Member



1534 posts since 6/20/2014

I have replaced tuners on several banjo's over the years. Swapping guitar style tuners for Gotoh, Schaller or 5 Star and I never once considered using a hand drill. I have always used a rat-tail file and then used a wood dowel which I wrapped sandpaper around it to finish to size.....The other thing which is important is to clamp a scrap piece of wood to the underside of the peghead so you do not risk the chance of tearing out the wood. In reality this about as basic as you can get with woodworking other than perhaps using a reamer, but the same amount of caution is required as well as test fitting several times to get a proper fit.

Jun 5, 2020 - 1:47:09 PM
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3850 posts since 5/1/2003

I'm so glad I asked. I shall not drill. I will probably hire my luthier to size the holes,I can proceed from there.
Mark Harper,thanks! That Logo sticker guy is just what I was looking for.

Many thanks to all who responded.

Edited by - Ks_5-picker on 06/05/2020 13:49:50

Jun 5, 2020 - 7:29:42 PM

1599 posts since 6/2/2010

Drilling is not really a problem if you clamp wood on both sides of peghead with pre-drilled holes.

I have never had a tear-out using this method even with a hand drill.

Jun 5, 2020 - 7:51:57 PM

10783 posts since 10/27/2006

I’ve been running the drill bit backward for years. It works.

Jun 6, 2020 - 2:30:56 AM

174 posts since 8/11/2015

I’ve installed Gotoh tuners on three banjos so far. Using only a hand drill (I don’t have a shop or a hobby room or anything) I got some tearout from the final largest drill bit on the first two, even though I drilled small holes first and then increasingly larger ones from both sides. The size have been 10mm exactly, not 9,5 as far as I am able to recall.

The last attempt however produced beautifully even holes, using a step drill bit (the type that looks like a golden Christmas tree). The holes were super smooth and even. Starting from small holes that are safe to drill with a backing board, you carefully step up to the final size from both sides.

The tuners do cover a bit extra outside of the hole, so minor damage to the edge wouldn’t be necessarily be seen once the tuners are in place. But we strive for perfection of course. I learned about the step drill bit in a video from Crimson Guitars.

Edited by - Random Scandinavian on 06/06/2020 02:33:37

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