Here you are again, sitting with your freshly strung guitar, exhausted from tediously unwinding and pulling worn out strings through your machine heads. You’ve drawn blood putting on new strings, winding them around posts, pricking your fingers (your livelihood!). At this juncture you’re probably thinking, “there has to be another way.” Enter locking tuners.
Locking tuners came about with the popular increase of extreme vibrato-arm usage in the 1980s, but have since proved to be quite useful in other scenarios as well. They have been a staple for professional musicians and often incorporated on professional-grade instruments since their debut. The term ‘locking’ is slightly misleading as it’s not your tuning that locks in place, but rather your string. They’re called locking tuners because inside the eyelet of the machine head, there is a clamp that locks the string in place. While a slightly more modern take on an age-old technology may seem daunting to players first approaching locking tuners, they’re actually quite intuitive. Across the D’Angelico line, Grover Super Rotomatic Locking Tuners are featured in the Deluxe Series on solid-bodies and semi-hollows alike. Let’s dive into the specifics.
Before going over how to properly string your instrument with locking tuners, we should address the pros and cons of this style of machine head:
Now let’s go over how to properly string your guitar with locking tuners:
In the case of the Grover Super Rotomatic Locking Tuners found across the D’Angelico line, in addition to locking capabilities, they offer a 14:1 gear ratio.
What the heck is gear ratio?
When referring to a tuning machine, the gear ratio describes how many turns of the tuning key will generate a complete turn of the string post. In other words, a tuner with a 14:1 gear ratio means that you’ll need to fully rotate the tuning key 14 times to make the string post complete one full revolution. The higher the ratio, the more turns it takes for the string post to make a complete turn. Here’s the important part: higher gear ratios allow for finer tuning.
Locking tuners are an excellent choice for any serious player looking for more tuning stability and a more efficient way to restring than standard or vintage style machine heads offer. They’re as practical as they are reliable.