Best Guitar Tuning Pegs: Reviews and Guide

One of the most important traits for your guitar is the ability to stay in tune, therefore having the best guitar tuning pegs is essential.  Once a guitar goes slightly out of tune, a guitarist will pick it up. When playing in front of a crowd, it can ruin the song and be even downright embarrassing. 

If you’re one for upgrading and customizing your six string axe, then having the best guitar tuning pegs is a must. There are many accessories that you can afford to go the cheaper route on. However, I wouldn’t suggest going cheapo on what will keep your guitar in tune. 

These little guys are made with shell, metal, plastic inlays, and beards. Many guitarists will want to put in new tuning pegs to upgrade the hardware or give their guitar a different look. 

Although small in size, these tuning pegs are very important to your guitar.  

Best Guitar Tuning Pegs 

In this guide we will look at the best guitar tuning pegs available. Although it may not seem like there are differences there are. 

In our best guitar tuning pegs we will look at all of it along with the pros and cons of each along with some frequently asked questions. 

1. Grover 102-18C Rotomatic 18:1 3 per Side Tuners, Chrome

First up on our list of best guitar tuning pegs is from Grover (not the Sesame Street character). These tuners provide great tuning and stability. These are designed for 3×3 headstock found on Epiphones and Gibson’s. 

You will get a very smooth and easy tuning experience. They will fit a 10 mm hole. These tuners will look very nice and improve the overall look of your guitar. 

These tuners will also assist in ensuring that your action will be smoother and precisely linear. This will allow for a perfect pitch almost any time. 

Believe it or not, these tuners will actually change the tone and playability and for the better. Some guitars will notice a punchier sound. They weigh a little bit more so you will notice your neck is a little heavier. 

Taking only about 15 minutes to install you will be happy that you made this choice. The 18 to 1 turn ratio allows for easier tuning because you can get more precision.

At the end of the day, the most important aspect of tuners is to, you guessed it…..keep your guitar in tune and this is what these tuners do. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Fine tuning and great stability.
  • Smooth tuning action. 
  • Designed for 3×3 headstocks. 
  • Will enhance guitars overall sound. 
  • Easy to install. 
  • Will improve overall appearance. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Won’t fit a fender style headstock. 
  • Could need re-drilling if holes don’t match up. 

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2. Gotoh Locking Tuners Nickel (3 per side)

The Gotoh locking tuners have a very classic and vintage design. With a retrofit for an 8 mm hole it maintains a classic look without the need to drill into your headstock. 

These will not fit a modern 10 mm headstock so they are made specifically for that retrofit. With a magnum lock system built into the string post, tuning your guitar will be a breeze. 

With mounting screws included, these tunes will be very easy to install into your guitar. These tuners are slightly lighter than so it can have an impact on the balance of the guitar in a good way.  

If you want that classic look along with the stability of a locking tuner then these would be ideal. The lock on these tuners may be a little different than most. Instead of the traditional screwing the locking mechanism in, these will require string tension to lock.  

This will allow your guitar to stay in perfect tune. The only modification may be to slightly enlarge the holes to accommodate the new bushings. 

Installation can be a little tricky because of this as you will have to align the hole drilled in the headstock with the bushing for the tuner itself. 

Gotoh may not have a smooth turn like the ones mentioned above. However, these will hold their tuning which is what matters. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Vintage design. 
  • Mounting screws including. 
  • Will hold the guitar in tune. 
  • Lightweight. 
  • String tension locking makes it easier to tune. 

Cons

Cons:

  • Will not fit modern 10 mm headstocks.
  • Installation can be tricky. 

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3. Fender Locking Tuners – Polished Chrome

These Fender locking tuners make our list of best guitar tuning pegs for a number of reasons. Available in polished chrome, black, brushed chrome, and gold there is something to match all colors of guitars. 

These tuning machines have a gear ratio of 18:1. Brushing and washers are included along with mounting hardware. The Fender locking tuners are used on the American Deluxe and American Elite Series models. 

This comes with two heights of tuners (three long and three short). The three short tuners are for your E, B, and G strings while the tall tuners are for the D, A, and low E strings. 

Easy to install, these tuners will keep your guitar in tune and will make string changes a breeze. 

The locking system is really solid as it anchors the string well without the need of lots of winding. These tuners will improve the tuning stability of your guitar and will improve the overall sound. 

Two styles are available: modern and vintage. The vintage tuners have an oval knob while the modern style has the newer diamond shaped tuner knob.  

Depending on which model and style Fender you have, you may need to drill location holes. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Branded with the classic Fender “F.”
  • Comes four different finishes. 
  • Bushing and washers included. 
  • Mounting hardware included. 
  • For American deluxe and American Elite Series. 
  • Makes changing strings easy. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Comes in two different heights. 
  • May need to drill location holes depending on the type of Fender. 

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4. D’Addario Auto-Trim Tuning Machines, 6 In-Line setup

The D’Addario auto-trim tuning machines are next up on our list. Available in black, chrome, and gold these tuning pegs will automatically cut excess string while the guitar is being tuned. This eliminates the need for clippers. 

The individual string clamps will securely hold the string and the tuning peg and this will avoid the annoying repeated wraps around the post.

All you will need to do is insert the string, tighten the clamp, and tune.

With a 18:1 gearing ratio this will ensure a smooth and exact tuning each and every time. These pegs will also alleviate string slippage. 

If you have a tremolo these tuners are great even if you get aggressive with its use. 

Using these tuning but be an improvement in tuning stability for your guitar. They have a nice fit and feel and will feel very secured once installed. 

These tuning machines have a small silver dot on the center peg which aids for string insertion. 

If you have a Stratocaster or Telecaster, the alignment will more than likely be off so you may have to drill holes for the screws.

In the beginning they may be a little stiff however after a few times of turning the pegs, they will loosen up. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Reasonable price. 
  • Available in a variety of colors. 
  • Easy to install. 
  • Very secure. 
  • Cuts excess string when being tuned. 
  • Won’t need to wrap string multiple times around the post. 

Cons

Cons: 

  • Will probably need to drill the holes for proper alignment. 
  • May need to upgrade washers. 

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5. Hipshot 6GLO Grip-Lock Locking Guitar Tuning Machines 3+3 – Universal Mounting Plate UMP included

Designed for the 3×3 style headstocks, these come in black, chrome, and gold. These tuning pegs grip your strings for a very accurate tuning. 

All Hipshots tuners include a universal mounting plate. With a solid and well made construction these tuners will do wonders for your guitar. 

Installation is super easy and these tuning pegs will come with instructions. They are also subtle in appearance which really adds to the overall look of the guitar. 

These will also keep your guitar in tune eliminating those embarrassing moments when you play or perform in front of people and you go out of tune. 

When stringing your guitar, you don’t wind the strings. You will just need to pull the strings straight though, clamp, and then tune up. 

Some things to note is the mounting plates can be delicate so you will want to be careful during installation. 

Also depending on the neck style that you have, there may be a need to drill holes for proper alignment. 

Pros

Pros:

  • Available in a variety of colors. 
  • Provide precise and accurate tuning. 
  • Comes with instructions for installation. 
  • Makes restringing easy. 
  • Perfect for 3×3 headstocks. 

Cons

Cons:

  • Hole may need to be drilled for proper alignment. 
  • Mounting plates are delicate. 

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Best Guitar Tuning Pegs Buyers Guide

We just reviewed and went over the pros and cons of some of the best guitar tuning pegs out there. 

Some are designed for the 3×3 headstocks (found on Gibson’s) and some are for the “T” neck style found in Fenders for example. 

Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions below to better help you with your buying decisions. 

What are guitar tuning pegs made of?

Some tuning pegs are made of metal, plastic inlays, or rings.

Are all guitar tuning pegs one size fits all?

That would be great if tuning pegs were “one size fits all” however, they are not. As we have mentioned before, some made and designed for different headstocks. 

 When you are putting on a new pair you will need to make sure the measurement of the hole that you would screw in is aligned. If not, then you may need to drill a new hole to accommodate the mounting tabs. 

How to clean guitar tuning machines?

The best way to clean your tuning machines is to put a small amount of cleaner on your cloth and thoroughly clean the knobs. 

You can then use a soft bristle brush or even a toothbrush to work on getting those hard to reach areas that might accumulate dust and debris. 

Check out our article on the best guitar cleaners out there for more information: Best Guitar Cleaners. 

How do you know your tuning pegs need to be replaced on a guitar?

The main indicator is when your current tuning pegs will not hold and keep the tune of your strings. Also if you feel the string slipping when turning the pegs, then that is also a sign. 

If you are playing and you are having to continually stop and retune then it may be time for new tuning machines. 

What are locking tuning pegs?

Locking tuners have a pin that will lock the string in place. This prevents the string from coming loose. This will create less winding and quicker restringing. 

Is the plastic washer on a guitar tuning machine essential?

The plastic washer is there to ensure and prevent over tightening. The washer also acts as a bearing and a seal so it is quite important. 

If missing then when you turn the tuning peg you will have metal on metal between the button and soon it will wear away. This will then lead to you being unable to tighten the button any further resulting in loose and inaccurate tuning. 

Will changing my guitars tuning pegs affect the sound?

A slight difference in mass with a different set of tuning pegs could slightly alter the tone. I don’t think that will be noticeable to anyone but the guitar player as they know their instrument best.   

Best Guitar Tuning Pegs Conclusion 

In conclusion, you see there are quite a few great options for your guitar when it comes to tuning pegs. The key is to make sure you are getting the correct ones based on your headstock. 

Be prepared that if they are slightly off that you may have to create new holes but it shouldn’t be something that stresses you out. 

New tuning machines can give your guitar not only precise and accurate tuning but a sleek and clean look and feel. 

We hope you have enjoyed our article on the best guitar tuning pegs. Be sure to check out our other articles as well.

Thank you for reading and remember: HAVE FUN!!!!

 

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