I'm considering options for the fifth string tuner on a left handed banjo. I've used Gotoh tuners exclusively on my right handed banjos so far, and I'd like to use Gotoh on the lefty if possible. I don't see any obvious reason why this wouldn't work. The tuner button would have to be turned in the intuitive direction (i.e. away from the pot to tighten the string). I'd have to install the tuner a bit closer to the peghead than a right-handed installation so that the post ends up in the right place. Assuming (charitably) that I cut the socket correctly, I don't see why the tuner would tend to be pulled out of the socket by string tension.
The tuner post would be loaded in the opposite direction; on a RH banjo the string tension tends to load the post CW, and on a LH banjo the string tension tends to load the post CCW. Would the tuner tolerate this loading? I could set up a little mock-up and try it out.
Does anyone have any experience or conjecture to share? Thanks in advance!
I have done that and it worked fine, though it looked a bit different and may have been confusing to tune. I spend so relatively little time tuning left handed instruments that I always have to stop and think a bit anyway.
One option is the Waverly Planetary fifth string peg which has no post. I have not researched the ability of this item to be used in a left handed application but I don't see where it would be an issue. My D P Hopkins Maple Golden Deluxe has this tuner and I like it. Some have mentioned that changing strings is more difficult but I have not had any issues. One benefit of this tuner is that the sharp string end is concealed and will not poke the operator of the instrument.
Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 02/01/2023 04:12:56
I am uncertain about Gotohs but on Asian 5th string tuners the string post can be removed and installed in the opposite end by removing the small pin in the spline that locks the string post in position thus turning it from a right hand tuner to a left hand one.
I have a Waverly on one banjo. I like the look and it works well and it would work for a lefty. But I do keep a small pair of needle nose pliers in my case — sometimes I find it hard to get the old string out.
Glad I read this thread. I am just about to put in an order for Hardware to build a banjo for my daughter, who happens to be a lefty. I flipped the plans, but did not even think of needing to consider a left handed tuning mechanism.
I will remove the Gotoh from my cart and replace it with Waverley, I think
Here's a picture of a lefty with a 5th string tuner like the Gotoh one. You have to drill the shaft-hole back closer to the 4th fret so the gear body part clears the bump-out on the neck.
Edited by - Ken LeVan on 02/02/2023 04:44:47
I used to flip Schaller 5th tuners around for left hand use. The downside, as mentioned previously, is the gearing is backwards from what is intuitive. I haven't done the rework in about 10 years, so I would have to reinvent the wheel to do its again. And with Schaller having redesigned their 5th banjo tuners about 5 years ago, I do not know if it is possible to convert to a lefty tuner anymore.
Richie Doston is a member here. He has a tutorial.
I've used both standard 5th tuners and that cute little Planetary with I prefer due to the gearing.
Thanks, gents, for the helpful replies. I’m going to go for the Gotoh option this time.
On two occasions I bought inexpensive tuners on eBay,6 or 7 in two lots and they were ALL left handed. I didn’t know you could reverse them any way.
'Gold Tone BG 250F' 3 hrs
'Richelieu Golden Eagle' 3 hrs
'Old thread post' 5 hrs