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Sep 30, 2023 - 6:39:32 PM
6 posts since 8/10/2023

Still upgrading the ESS Gibson I recently bought.
This banjo still has original tuners on 5th, 4th, and 1st. In this case original is not desirable. They seem "wore slap out". I am still trying to talk myself into Rickard Cyclones for 4 & 1, when I could go cheap and swap out some Waverly's from a neglected banjo sitting in the closet. The worst is the 5th.
My question to all ye esteemed banjo advisers is: What is the best approach to removing what I believe is the original 5th string peg? Did Gibson of 22 years ago glue in the right angle 5th string tuner, or would it likely be pressed in? If the answer is "it was glued in", then I would like to know how to best remove it. If it is pressed in, then I am tempted to use leather for chafe gear on a pair of vice-grips. Ok?
I have liked using a Waverly 5th string peg on which can also be swapped out. Would that require reaming?
In reading some reviews of the Rickards Cyclones, I learned that they improved intonation when capoing. As much as I'd like to belive that, I don't understand how that can be. Besides, if you use Keith D-tuners, only two of the four would be Rickards. To enjoy the freedom of not having to retune when using the capo, wouldn't it require that all four peghead tuners be Rickards? And does that work?
When I'm playing "in tune" I am so much happier. Really important.

Sep 30, 2023 - 6:47:23 PM

39 posts since 3/3/2008

I've got a few sets of Rickard tuners and they are great. I wish that they made the 5th string tuner also (it's a Rickard branded Gotoh) in the higher ratio but it's still good like it is. I found that reslotting and properly lubricating my banjos' nuts helped a lot too.

Sep 30, 2023 - 6:58:02 PM

39 posts since 3/3/2008

And to answer some of your other questions: the 5 th string tuners would have been pressed in when new but are often glued in by owners and others when they get loose.

Here is a video on removing the 5th string tuner

New 5th string tuners usually have a longer "key" spline on them that you'll probably need to cut a small slot for with a file/chisel/knife.

I wouldn't recommend gluing in the new tuner.

Oct 1, 2023 - 4:52:44 AM
Players Union Member



17294 posts since 8/30/2006

Recording King, Gold Tone Master Planets and Gotoh.

You remove the knob, screw and washer. The body can then be gently wobbled, but soldering gun heat can be applied to the body only.
I have a small channel locks that can be fitted with felt jaws, leather is fine and it should wobvble and lift right out.

There are two schools about the use and retention of the "ear." Many people grind it off. The removal of more wood is difficult and/or easy but splitting the neck is a heart breaker.

I use the Stewmac reamer, but the Gotoh use another angle and many people buy the long plumbing reamer and cut it off.
Remember not to ream the truss rod or get any glue on the truss rod or any possible coating.
I haven't had any trouble with the Stewmac reamer on Gotoh.
Use of a toothpick is allowed.
Bart Reiter ground off thousands of tuner ears. And with lesser tuners, the nickel can be slippery, so many people use too much glue.
Installing at 11 o'clock is what I prefer, some use 12 o'clock to keep the string out of the binding and fingerboard. I like keeping the 5th string tight against the pip or screw or fret whichever refit I'm doing on what model.
I would match what came out of there.

Note: When changing strings on any tuner, I rotate each post 180 degrees to give other teeth a chance to grip

I've used the Rickards but only if spec'd by each user. Lock your strings against ANY post. I don't like to increase fiddle factor.
Make sure to ream at a right angle.
My mentor uses chair doweling repair stuff if needed setting for 24 hours.
My new friend for all purposes is Timbermate from Australia, black or blond from Woodworkers Source.

Any new tuner body is tapped in carefully with a 5/16" deep socket over the shaft using a plastic mallet.  I've seen DIY use a clawhammer,  no way.

I tap to the spline limit, keep an eye on things.  All of the 5th string tuners are 12:1 or 14:1  measure your depth.

I love the planetary 5ths, they allow lefties and righties.

Edited by - Helix on 10/01/2023 05:01:13

Oct 2, 2023 - 5:15:55 AM

6 posts since 8/10/2023

Thank you Larry and Chris. Although I have done this before, I wanted to be real careful with this, one of the nicest I have ever owned. I feel more confident after reading your tips.
The big question, whose answer is yet to be seen, is whether or not there will be any necessary modification to the hole for mounting a Waverly 5th string tuner. I was hoping to avoid reaming.

Oct 2, 2023 - 10:16:03 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


27576 posts since 6/25/2005


Removing a geared ped is similar to removing the friction peg in the article.

Oct 2, 2023 - 6:52:09 PM
Players Union Member



17294 posts since 8/30/2006

The Waverlys I used matched the StewMac reamer. So cleaning the hole is then easiest and suggested essential.

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