The tuning pegs, also known as machine heads or tuners, are an essential component of the electric guitar that enables the musician to tune the guitar strings to the desired pitch. They play a crucial role in maintaining the tone and intonation of the instrument. There are many types of electric guitar tuning pegs available, ranging from vintage-style to modern locking systems, each offering unique features and benefits.
The best electric guitar tuning pegs include Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners, Schaller M6 Locking Tuners, Sperzel 6 In-Line Locking Tuners, Fender Locking Tuners, and Graph Tech Ratio Tuned Machine Heads. These tuners feature a high gear ratio, great locks, and are lightweight.
Choosing the right electric guitar tuning pegs can greatly impact the playability and overall sound quality of an electric guitar. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose. In this guide, we have compiled a list of the 10 best electric guitar tuning pegs available, each with its own features, specifications, pros, and cons to help you make an informed decision.
10 Best Electric Guitar Tuning Pegs 2023
- Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners
- Schaller M6 Locking Tuners
- Hipshot Grip-Lock Open Gear Locking Guitar Tuners
- Kluson Revolution G-Mount Locking Tuners
- Gotoh SG381 MGT Locking Tuners
- Sperzel 6 In-Line Locking Tuners
- Fender Locking Tuners
- Planet Waves Auto-Trim Tuning Machines
- Graph Tech Ratio Tuned Machine Heads
- Wilkinson 6-in-Line E-Z-LOK Guitar Tuners
1. Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners
Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners are a great choice for electric guitar players who want a reliable, high-quality tuning peg. These tuners feature a locking mechanism that ensures the string stays in tune, even during heavy use. They also have a Rotomatic design, which means they have an 18:1 gear ratio, allowing for precise tuning adjustments.
The Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners are made from high-quality materials, including a durable housing and sealed lubrication for smooth, long-lasting operation. They are designed to fit most electric guitars with a standard size peghead, and installation is easy with the included mounting hardware.
One of the main advantages of the Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners is their locking mechanism, which keeps the string securely in place and eliminates the need for winding the string around the post multiple times. This can result in faster and more accurate tuning adjustments. Additionally, the 18:1 gear ratio allows for precise and stable tuning.
Some potential drawbacks of the Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners include their relatively high price point compared to other tuning pegs on the market, and their larger size may not be suitable for certain guitar headstocks. However, for those who prioritize reliability and precise tuning, these tuners are an excellent choice.
Overall, the Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners are a high-quality and reliable option for any electric guitar player looking to improve their tuning experience. With their locking mechanism, smooth tuning action, and durable construction, these tuners are a great investment for any serious musician.
2. Schaller M6 Locking Tuners
Schaller M6 Locking Tuners are high-quality tuning pegs that are designed to keep your guitar in tune, even under the most extreme playing conditions. The Schaller M6 Locking Tuners are made from high-quality materials and feature a locking mechanism that ensures your strings stay in tune, even during heavy use. These tuning pegs are popular among guitarists due to their durability, reliability, and ease of use.
The Schaller M6 Locking Tuners have a 16:1 gear ratio, which means that they can make precise adjustments to your guitar’s tuning. The locking mechanism is activated by simply inserting the string into the peg and turning it until it clicks into place. This locking mechanism ensures that your strings stay in tune, even during aggressive playing. The Schaller M6 Locking Tuners are available in both right-handed and left-handed configurations.
One of the biggest advantages of the Schaller M6 Locking Tuners is their ease of use. The locking mechanism is easy to use, even for guitarists who are new to using locking tuners. The high-quality construction of these tuning pegs ensures that they will last for many years of use. The Schaller M6 Locking Tuners are also compatible with a wide range of guitar models, making them a versatile option for many guitarists.
However, one potential drawback of the Schaller M6 Locking Tuners is their higher price point compared to other tuning peg options. Additionally, some users have reported that the locking mechanism can be a bit finicky and difficult to work with at first. Despite these potential drawbacks, the Schaller M6 Locking Tuners are a great choice for guitarists who prioritize reliability and ease of use in their tuning pegs.
3. Hipshot Grip-Lock Open Gear Locking Guitar Tuners
Hipshot Grip-Lock Open Gear Locking Guitar Tuners are a popular option among guitar players who want an easy and reliable way to keep their guitar in tune. These tuners are designed with an open-gear mechanism that allows for quick and precise tuning adjustments. The locking mechanism is located at the top of the tuner, which makes string changes a breeze.
These tuning pegs have a sleek and modern design and are made from high-quality materials that ensure durability and longevity. They are available in a variety of finishes, including chrome, black, and gold, to match the aesthetics of any guitar. The Hipshot Grip-Lock Open Gear Locking Guitar Tuners come in sets of six and fit most modern electric and acoustic guitars.
One of the biggest advantages of these tuning pegs is their locking mechanism. Once the string is inserted and tightened, the thumbwheel locks the string in place, which prevents slippage and ensures stability during playing. The open-gear design also makes it easy to lubricate the gears, which helps prolong the life of the tuners.
On the downside, the Hipshot Grip-Lock Open Gear Locking Guitar Tuners are slightly more expensive than some other options on the market. Some users also report that the thumbwheels can be a bit difficult to turn, especially when the strings are new. However, most players agree that the benefits of these tuners far outweigh any minor inconveniences.
Overall, the Hipshot Grip-Lock Open Gear Locking Guitar Tuners are a top choice for guitar players who want high-quality tuning pegs that offer precise tuning, easy string changes, and reliable performance. They are a bit more expensive than some other options, but many musicians believe that the investment is worth it for the added benefits.
4. Kluson Revolution G-Mount Locking Tuners
Kluson Revolution G-Mount Locking Tuners are high-quality guitar tuning pegs designed to improve the accuracy and stability of tuning while enhancing the overall performance of the guitar. Here are some of the key specifications of these tuners:
- Fits most guitars with a vintage-style 6-in-line headstock
- Gear ratio: 15:1
- Locking mechanism helps to keep the strings in tune and prevents slippage
- Staggered post heights provide even string tension across the fingerboard
- Vintage-style tuning keys with modern functionality
- Easy to install on most guitars with a 6-in-line headstock
- Locking mechanism helps to keep strings in tune and eliminates slippage
- Staggered post heights provide even string tension for improved playability
- Vintage-style tuning keys add a classic look to the guitar
- High-quality construction ensures long-lasting performance
- May not fit guitars with non-standard headstocks or tuning configurations
- More expensive than some other tuning peg options on the market
Overall, Kluson Revolution G-Mount Locking Tuners are a great option for guitarists looking to upgrade their tuning pegs for improved performance and stability. They are easy to install, have a locking mechanism to keep strings in tune, and feature staggered post heights for even string tension. While they may be more expensive than some other options, their high-quality construction ensures they will provide long-lasting performance.
5. Gotoh SG381 MGT Locking Tuners
The Gotoh SG381 MGT Locking Tuners are a high-quality option for electric guitarists looking for precise and reliable tuning. These tuners feature a locking mechanism that keeps the string in place, which can be especially helpful for players who use a lot of bends or play aggressively. The SG381 MGT model also includes Gotoh’s Magnum Lock technology, which further enhances the tuning stability by eliminating slippage at the post.
Here are some specifications of the Gotoh SG381 MGT Locking Tuners:
- 16:1 gear ratio
- 3+3 configuration for 6-in-line headstocks
- Available in chrome, gold, and black finishes
- Includes mounting hardware
- Excellent tuning stability
- Smooth and precise tuning adjustments
- High-quality construction and materials
- Available in multiple finishes to match different guitar styles
- More expensive than some other tuning peg options
- The locking mechanism can take some getting used to for players who are not familiar with it
6. Sperzel 6 In-Line Locking Tuners
Sperzel 6 In-Line Locking Tuners are a popular choice for guitarists who want a reliable and easy-to-use tuning system. These tuners are designed to keep your guitar in tune, even after intense playing or bending of the strings. Here are some of the specifications and pros and cons of the Sperzel 6 In-Line Locking Tuners:
- Six in-line tuners for electric guitar
- Locking system keeps strings in tune
- Fits standard 10mm tuner holes
- 12:1 gear ratio for precise tuning
- Available in various finishes, including chrome and black
- Locking system ensures tuning stability
- Easy to install and use
- Gear ratio allows for precise tuning adjustments
- Variety of finishes to match guitar aesthetics
- Made in the USA
- More expensive than some other options
- May require additional drilling for installation on some guitars
- Some users have reported issues with the locking mechanism slipping
Overall, Sperzel 6 In-Line Locking Tuners are a solid choice for guitarists who prioritize tuning stability and ease of use. While they may be pricier than some other options, their quality construction and precise tuning capabilities make them worth the investment for many players. However, it is important to note that some users have reported issues with the locking mechanism slipping, so it may be worth trying out before committing to a full set.
7. Fender Locking Tuners
Fender Locking Tuners are a popular choice for guitar players who want a quick and easy way to change strings and keep their guitar in tune. These tuning pegs feature a locking mechanism that helps keep the strings in place and prevent slippage, allowing for more stable and accurate tuning. Here are the specifications and pros and cons of these tuning pegs:
- Six-in-line configuration for Fender-style headstocks
- Locking tuners with staggered post heights
- 18:1 gear ratio for precise tuning
- Designed for easy installation without the need for drilling or modification
- Quick and easy string changes
- Improved tuning stability and accuracy
- No need for additional string trees or tools
- Staggered post heights for better string tension and tone
- Compatible with most Fender-style guitars
- Slightly more expensive than non-locking tuners
- May require some adjustment to get used to the locking mechanism
- Some players may prefer the look of traditional non-locking tuners
Overall, Fender Locking Tuners are a solid choice for guitar players who want an easy-to-use tuning peg that can help improve tuning stability and accuracy. They may be slightly more expensive than non-locking tuners, but the convenience and benefits they offer may be worth the investment for some players.
8. Planet Waves Auto-Trim Tuning Machines
Planet Waves Auto-Trim Tuning Machines are innovative tuning pegs designed to make string changes easier and faster. They feature a patented cutting system that trims excess string while you’re tuning your guitar, ensuring that your strings are always the right length. These tuning machines are made with precision gears and locking tuners that keep your guitar in tune, no matter how hard you play.
- Patented cutting system for trimming excess string
- Precision gears and locking tuners for stability and tuning accuracy
- Auto-trim feature ensures the correct string length
- Fits most electric guitars with 6-in-line headstocks
- Available in chrome and black finishes
- Makes string changes faster and easier
- Ensures the correct string length for optimal tone
- Precision gears and locking tuners keep your guitar in tune
- Fits most electric guitars with 6-in-line headstocks
- Available in two finishes to match your guitar’s hardware
- May not fit all types of electric guitars
- Auto-trim feature may require some practice to use effectively
- More expensive than some other tuning pegs on the market
Overall, the Planet Waves Auto-Trim Tuning Machines are a great option for electric guitarists looking for a faster, more convenient way to change strings. The patented cutting system and precision gears ensure accurate tuning and optimal tone, while the locking tuners keep your guitar in tune even during heavy playing. However, they may not fit all types of electric guitars, and the auto-trim feature may require some practice to use effectively.
9. Graph Tech Ratio Tuned Machine Heads
Graph Tech Ratio Tuned Machine Heads are a set of high-quality electric guitar tuning pegs that offer precision and stability during tuning. These tuners use a patented technology that ensures a precise 18:1 gear ratio, providing for fine-tuning and accurate tuning.
Some of the specifications of Graph Tech Ratio Tuned Machine Heads are:
- 18:1 gear ratio for precise tuning
- Individual string tuning
- Contemporary mini-button design
- 6 inline set
- Available in chrome, black, or gold finishes
Here are some pros and cons of Graph Tech Ratio Tuned Machine Heads:
- Precision and accuracy in tuning
- Contemporary and sleek design
- Easy to install
- Available in different finishes
- More expensive compared to other tuning pegs
- Some users may not prefer the mini-button design
Overall, Graph Tech Ratio Tuned Machine Heads are a great option for those looking for precise tuning and a contemporary design. They may be pricier than other tuning pegs, but they offer a level of quality and accuracy that may be worth the investment.
10. Wilkinson 6-in-Line E-Z-LOK Guitar Tuners
Wilkinson 6-in-Line E-Z-LOK Guitar Tuners are a popular choice among electric guitar players for their simple design, ease of use, and affordability. Here are some specifications and pros and cons of these tuning pegs:
- 6-in-line configuration
- Die-cast construction for durability
- E-Z-LOK locking system for easy string changes and stable tuning
- 15:1 gear ratio for accurate tuning
- Affordable price point
- Easy to install and use
- E-Z-LOK locking system holds strings securely in place, reducing the need for frequent tuning adjustments
- Smooth tuning action thanks to the 15:1 gear ratio
- Some players have reported difficulty with the locking mechanism, such as strings slipping or not locking properly
- The tuning pegs may not fit some guitars without modification
- The die-cast construction may not be as durable as other materials such as stainless steel
Overall, the Wilkinson 6-in-Line E-Z-LOK Guitar Tuners are a solid choice for players on a budget who want reliable tuning stability and ease of use. However, players who prioritize durability or have specific guitar requirements may want to consider other options.
Best Electric Guitar Tuning Pegs FAQ
Here are some common questions you may have about the best electric guitar tuning pegs.
How To Tighten Tuning Pegs On An Electric Guitar
To tighten tuning pegs on an electric guitar, follow these steps:
- Locate the tuning pegs on the headstock of your electric guitar. The tuning pegs are the six small knobs that turn to tighten or loosen the strings.
- Use a small wrench or pliers to gently turn the nut that holds the tuning peg in place. Be careful not to over-tighten the nut as this can damage the peg or the headstock.
- If the tuning peg is loose or wobbly, you may need to tighten the screw that holds the gear in place. Use a screwdriver to turn the screw clockwise until the gear is tight.
- If the tuning peg still feels loose or is slipping when you try to tune the string, it may be time to replace the peg. Consult with a guitar technician or check your guitar’s manual for information on how to replace tuning pegs.
- Once you have tightened the tuning pegs, tune the guitar by plucking the string and adjusting the peg until the desired pitch is reached. Repeat this process for each string.
By following these steps, you can tighten the tuning pegs on your electric guitar and keep it in tune for longer periods of time. Remember to take care not to over-tighten or damage the peg or headstock.
How To Put Tuning Pegs On An Electric Guitar
Installing tuning pegs on an electric guitar can be a relatively simple process. Here are the steps to follow:
- Remove the old tuning pegs: Start by removing the old tuning pegs from the guitar. Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws holding the pegs in place. Then, gently pull the pegs out of the holes in the headstock.
- Prepare the new tuning pegs: Take your new tuning pegs and remove any protective packaging. If necessary, attach any washers or screws that came with the new pegs. Make sure the new pegs are the correct size for the holes in your guitar’s headstock.
- Insert the new tuning pegs: Gently push the new tuning pegs into the corresponding holes in the headstock. Make sure they fit snugly, but do not force them in too tightly.
- Secure the new tuning pegs: Once all of the new tuning pegs are in place, tighten the screws on the back of the headstock. Make sure the tuning pegs are securely attached, but do not overtighten the screws as this can damage the headstock.
- String the guitar: Once the new tuning pegs are installed and secure, it’s time to restring the guitar. Follow the standard procedure for restringing your guitar and use the new tuning pegs to tune each string to the desired pitch.
By following these steps, you should be able to easily install new tuning pegs on your electric guitar. If you are unsure about any part of the process, it may be a good idea to consult a professional guitar technician for assistance.
Why are Locking tuners better for electric guitar?
Locking tuners are better for electric guitar because they provide better tuning stability compared to traditional non-locking tuners. This is because locking tuners have a mechanism that locks the string in place at the post, preventing slippage and reducing the need for constant retuning. This is especially important for electric guitarists who may use tremolo systems or do extensive bending and vibrato techniques that can cause strings to slip out of tune.
Additionally, locking tuners make string changes faster and easier as they eliminate the need for multiple string windings around the post. This not only saves time but also allows for a more consistent and precise tuning.
Overall, locking tuners provide better tuning stability, faster string changes, and easier tuning for electric guitarists, making them a popular choice among many professional guitar players.
Do thinner strings stay in tune better?
Thinner strings may have less tension and therefore may stretch and slip out of tune more easily. However, the overall tuning stability of a guitar depends on various factors, including the quality of the tuning pegs, the string winding type, the nut and saddle materials, and the player’s technique. It’s not necessarily true that thinner strings will always have worse tuning stability than thicker strings. The best way to ensure good tuning stability is to use high-quality strings and maintain proper string tension and intonation on the guitar.
How do I make my tuning pegs smoother?
There are a few ways to make your tuning pegs smoother:
- Lubricate the pegs: Use a small amount of lubricant such as graphite or silicone to coat the tuning pegs. This can help to reduce friction and make the pegs turn more smoothly.
- Tighten loose screws: If the screws that hold the tuning pegs in place are loose, they can cause the pegs to wobble and make tuning difficult. Use a screwdriver to tighten any loose screws.
- Clean the pegs: Use a soft cloth to wipe down the tuning pegs and remove any dirt or debris. This can help to prevent the pegs from sticking and improve their overall performance.
- Replace old pegs: If your tuning pegs are old and worn out, they may need to be replaced. New tuning pegs can help to improve tuning stability and make the tuning process easier and smoother.
- Consider upgrading to locking tuners: Locking tuners can help to eliminate string slippage and make tuning faster and more accurate. They are especially useful for guitarists who frequently use tremolo systems or perform aggressive playing styles.
Why are my tuning pegs so hard to turn?
There could be several reasons why your tuning pegs are hard to turn:
- Dirt and debris: Over time, dust, dirt, and other debris can build up on the tuning pegs, making them hard to turn. This is especially true if you haven’t cleaned your guitar in a while.
- Rust and corrosion: If the tuning pegs are exposed to moisture or humidity, they can rust or corrode. This can make them hard to turn and even cause them to break.
- Loose screws: The screws that hold the tuning pegs in place can become loose over time, which can cause the pegs to wobble and be difficult to turn.
- Worn gears: The gears inside the tuning pegs can wear down over time, which can cause the pegs to slip or become difficult to turn.
To make your tuning pegs smoother, you can try the following:
- Clean the tuning pegs: Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the tuning pegs and remove any dirt or debris.
- Apply lubricant: You can apply a small amount of lubricant (such as graphite or silicone) to the tuning pegs to make them turn more smoothly.
- Tighten loose screws: If the screws holding the tuning pegs in place are loose, use a screwdriver to tighten them.
- Replace worn tuning pegs: If the tuning pegs are old or worn out, you may need to replace them with new ones.
How tight should guitar tuning pegs be?
Guitar tuning pegs should be tight enough to hold the string securely in tune, but not so tight that they are difficult to turn or risk damaging the peg or the guitar headstock. The ideal tightness varies depending on the type of tuning pegs and personal preference.
For standard non-locking tuning pegs, the general rule is to tighten them enough so that there is no slipping or rattling of the string, but not so much that it is difficult to turn the peg or tune the string. It is important not to over-tighten the pegs, as this can cause damage to the gears or the string.
Locking tuning pegs should be tightened until the locking mechanism engages and holds the string securely in place, but not so tight that it damages the string or the peg. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific type of locking tuning pegs being used.
In general, it is recommended to tighten the tuning pegs gradually, testing the tension as you go, until the desired level of tightness is achieved.
What is the disadvantage of locking tuners?
One potential disadvantage of locking tuners is that they may require more time and effort to install compared to standard tuners, as they often have additional parts and mechanisms that need to be installed correctly. Additionally, locking tuners tend to be more expensive than standard tuners, which may not be practical for all guitarists.
Another potential disadvantage is that some guitarists may find the locking mechanism to be less intuitive or more difficult to use compared to standard tuners, particularly if they are not used to using locking tuners. Finally, some guitarists may prefer the traditional look and feel of standard tuners and may not want to switch to a different type of tuner.
Do you stretch strings with locking tuners?
Yes, it is still important to stretch strings when using locking tuners. While locking tuners can help to keep the strings in tune more effectively, they do not completely eliminate the need for stretching the strings. Stretching the strings helps to remove any slack and stabilize the tuning of the guitar. It is recommended to stretch the strings by gently pulling on them after installation and then retuning the guitar. Repeat this process a few times until the strings no longer go out of tune when stretched.
Do locking tuners cause neck dive?
Locking tuners do not directly cause neck dive. Neck dive is a phenomenon that occurs when the neck of the guitar is too heavy, causing the instrument to tip forward. This can happen with any type of tuners and is not specific to locking tuners.
However, it is worth noting that locking tuners can be slightly heavier than non-locking tuners due to the added locking mechanism. This added weight may contribute to the overall weight of the guitar and potentially exacerbate neck dive if the guitar is not properly balanced.
To prevent neck dive with locking tuners, it is important to consider the weight and balance of the entire guitar, including the body, neck, and hardware. Guitar players may also use counterweights or adjust the strap placement to help balance the instrument.
When should I replace my tuning pegs?
You should replace your tuning pegs if they become damaged, worn out or don’t function properly. If the pegs feel loose or wobbly, it may be time for replacement. If the pegs are difficult to turn or won’t hold their tension, they may need to be replaced as well. In some cases, upgrading to higher quality tuning pegs can improve the overall tuning stability and playability of your guitar.
It’s also worth noting that the overall condition of your guitar can impact the performance of your tuning pegs. If your guitar has a warped neck, for example, the tension on the tuning pegs may not be even, leading to difficulty in tuning. It’s important to regularly maintain your guitar and make any necessary repairs to ensure optimal performance of all parts, including the tuning pegs.
Do tuning pegs affect the sound?
Tuning pegs themselves do not have a significant impact on the sound of an electric guitar. However, the stability and accuracy of the tuning can affect the overall sound. Tuning pegs that are loose or difficult to turn can result in unstable tuning, which can lead to poor intonation and overall sound quality. On the other hand, high-quality tuning pegs that are properly installed and functioning well can contribute to consistent and accurate tuning, which can enhance the sound of the guitar.
- How Often Do Electric Guitar Strings Break?
- Why Are Electric Guitar Strings Easier To Bend?
- Do You Have To Press Hard On Electric Guitar Strings?
- Are Electric Guitar Strings Supposed To Be Loose?
- Best Guitar Tuning Pegs
- Best Guitar Tuners: Chromatic, Polyphonic, Strobe (Buyer’s Guide)
- What Do You Need To Play Electric Guitar? (Essential Gear & Equipment )
- 22 vs 24 Fret Electric Guitars: What’s The Difference?
- How To Tune Electric Guitar
- 10 Best Locking Tuners for Guitar (Buyer’s Guide)
- Best Electric Guitars
- Best Guitar Brands