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Mar 4, 2021 - 7:37:30 AM
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36 posts since 6/6/2015

If you were to have a new banjo built (I am), which tuners would you choose and why? I would like to keep all five tuners the same make. Please remember the "why" part of the question.

Thanks for any advice.

Mar 4, 2021 - 7:53:32 AM
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714 posts since 8/9/2019

I'd use old Grover pancakes if building a Mastertone reproduction to keep the old school look/feel.
Or Rickard 10:1 tuners just because of build quality, really precise tuning and the fact they drop right in as replacements on most banjos.

Or Waverly because they work just fine, look good and are not very expensive.

Mar 4, 2021 - 8:00:52 AM
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Lew H


2618 posts since 3/10/2008

Rickard cyclone tuners. They are pricey, but work wonderfully.

Mar 4, 2021 - 8:30:30 AM
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2563 posts since 4/7/2010

I am a big fan of Gotoh tuners. I have tried the Rickard Cyclone tuners and agree that they are as good as advertised, but after playing banjo for 45 years, I am happy wit the 4 to 1 gear ratio of he Gotoh planet tuners.

Bob Smakula

Mar 4, 2021 - 9:52:31 AM
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43 posts since 10/5/2019

I would without a doubt get the 10:1 Rickard tuners. A bit pricey but worth every penny. I have them on one banjo and every time I play the other 3 I wish I had more.

Mar 4, 2021 - 2:48:06 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


24584 posts since 6/25/2005

I just had Rickards put on a new neck I hd made. I think I land with Bob Smakula now. The Rickards are wonderful, but after decades of 4-1s, I’m so used to the number of turns when retuning that I find myself under turning the Rickards, though the precision is great. I have a friend, a semi-pro player who had played mostly guitar for many years before starting banjo a few years back. Has a new banjo with Rickards and loves them. I attribute that to 1) most of his tuning experience is with high-ratio guitar gears, and 2) 95% of his playing is in G-tuning, so he doesn’t need the quicker retune action of 4-1 tuning pegs. So I’d recommend Rickards to new-to-banjo players and probably those who also play a significant amount of guitar and mandolin. I don’t regret having the ones I bought, but would likely go with Gotohs my next time.

Mar 4, 2021 - 2:59:06 PM

413 posts since 7/20/2013

StewMac just advertised Waverly's new 12:1 guitar tuning machines on Facebook, they look really good. I'm waiting for the Banjo 5th string version .... The "why": Waverly makes durable stuff I've always been impressed with their quality. if there was ever a place for a good12:1, it would be for the 5th.

Edited by - darwinyarwin on 03/04/2021 15:05:53

Mar 4, 2021 - 5:08:45 PM

4075 posts since 10/13/2005

Agree with the Gotoh tuners Bob and Bill mentioned for the same reasons. I have ordered several Gotoh sets from Bob's and I am completely satisfied with the tuners and his service. banjered

Mar 4, 2021 - 8:03:21 PM
Players Union Member



13814 posts since 8/30/2006
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Agree with the Gotoh tuners Bob and Bill mentioned for the same reasons. I have ordered several Gotoh sets from Bob's and I am completely satisfied with the tuners and his service. banjered.

I gave up after 12 years on entry level planets.

I put Rickards on one Sassafras banjo and got the snakewood buttons, the customer was very exacting and they worked for him.

I finally bought Gotohs from Bob Smakula and got the amber buttons. My banjos sound much better. Especially with the ambers.!!

Mar 5, 2021 - 7:39:14 AM

15012 posts since 2/7/2003

Gotohs for the same reasons function and reliability second to none


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