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Nov 25, 2020 - 1:09:53 AM
45 posts since 8/20/2019

Are Gotoh tuners from Balsam Banjo Works a significant improvement over the stock RK-R35 tuners, or about the same quality? I’ve seen a few comments that the stock tuners weren’t great.

I have a new RK-R35 on the way. I also have a set of Gotohs on the way, intended to replace the guitar style tuners on an RKOH-06. (I bought this -06 used and am using it to learn some setup techniques. I learned how to do railroad spikes on it and now want to try enlarging tuner holes for planetary tuners. It’s a surprisingly good banjo, but at $120, I’m not afraid to experiment on it.) Anyway, I COULD move the stock planetaries to the -06 and put the Gotohs on the R35, but I wouldn’t want to unless it were an actual improvement.

Edited by - Doug Brock on 11/25/2020 01:43:12

Nov 25, 2020 - 7:39:12 AM
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3553 posts since 5/29/2011

I don't know what kind of tuners RK banjos come with but Gotoh tuners are very good quality. If it were me (big if) I would put the Gotohs on the RK35 and put the tuners from it on the RK06.

Nov 25, 2020 - 8:02:19 AM
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PeterT

France

28 posts since 6/27/2012

I changed the stock tuners on my RK35 for Gotoh and I was really pleased with the improvement.
In my opinion, worth the expense

Nov 25, 2020 - 8:06:38 AM
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3 posts since 10/9/2014

I replaced the tuners on my RK 36 with Gotoh tuners. It is definitely and up grade the stock tuners aren’t terrible at all but I found the Gotohs to be and improvement

Nov 25, 2020 - 8:09:12 AM
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KCJones

USA

1140 posts since 8/30/2012
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I don't have a RK-35 anymore, but when I first was shopping around I remember that the Gotoh tuners were a big selling point of the RK-80 over the RK-35. This makes me think that the RK-35 tuners are not Gotoh and swapping them out would be a significant upgrade.

The recording king website lists the RK-35 as having 'planetary tuners', but it specifically calls out 'Gotoh tuners' for the Elite models.

Having played several banjos with tuners from 5 star, golden gate, Schaller, Gotoh, Waverly, and Rickard, I haven't seen any functional difference between any of them except Rickards. Rickards are amazing tuners, everything else is second best. But if I were you I'd put the Gotohs on the 35.

Nov 25, 2020 - 8:52:49 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13295 posts since 8/30/2006

I use both brands and spec them both now. I’ve been using Gotoh 5th string tuners for a decade, for some reason, they’re cheaper

For the RK’s. They are entry level in a good better best price point
I have never had one fail, nor slip during performance, practice or jam
I lock my strings ,so sometimes after people crank them down too tight, the review is “trash.
Other times, yes there is a quality control issue at that price point, but not every one of them
When changing strings, rotating the post 180 degrees evens out the wear and tear, yes, do change the strings
Gotoh planets are silky
I just bought new Gotoh tuners and Amber tuning knobs from Bob Smakula for my 3 personal players
RK AND GOTOH buttons are not interchangeable

My response is meant to be least restrictive, meaning lower tension on banjo strings means less stress on tuners , so metal and plating and gear accuracy specs can be stretched to compete on eBay for people seeking an imported bargain

Gotohs are high quality. I’m just now changing out my RK’s after 11 years
I will get another decade out of the Gotohs, and I’ll be 86.......so? My older hands deserve finer tuning

Cheers

Edited by - Helix on 11/25/2020 09:03:10

Nov 25, 2020 - 9:00:57 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13295 posts since 8/30/2006

Use those planets on the o6 and hear the sound improve
Or sell them, I could use them

Nov 25, 2020 - 10:29:13 AM

45 posts since 8/20/2019

Thanks for the responses! Looks like I’ll be putting the Gotohs on the R35. (I forgot to mention that the Gotohs have the black buttons - I’ve always had a fondness for black tuner buttons and have them on my favorite instruments. So, another reason to put the Gotohs on the R35.) Now if that FedEx truck will just show up already! :)

Nov 26, 2020 - 4:43:59 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

13295 posts since 8/30/2006

There is a person here that does a great job of using Ritz dye on the stove, the longer you leave the tuner buttons, the darker they get.
I saw deep bright primary colors.
I'm putting black on my bluegrass longneck.

Nov 26, 2020 - 6:14:02 AM

45 posts since 8/20/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

There is a person here that does a great job of using Ritz dye on the stove, the longer you leave the tuner buttons, the darker they get.
I saw deep bright primary colors.
I'm putting black on my bluegrass longneck.


Interesting! I never would have thought of trying that!

Nov 27, 2020 - 8:15:47 AM

2234 posts since 6/30/2020

Doug,
You will appreciate the Gotoh tuners over the inexpensive OEM units found on your RK R35.
Most of my guitars have been upgraded to Gotoh tuners so when I bought a RK R36 It was natural that I upgrade that also.
I installed a Gotoh 5th string tuner as well as the four planetary tuners and the difference is noticeable and worth the cost. The OEM tuners were serviceable but not as smooth as the Gotoh units and were a bit touchy to dial in when tuning.
The black buttons will look great!

P-A-L

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