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  1. #1

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    Been playing my old Kay a lot recently, and for a while now the tuners have been quite stiff. Can I just drop a little 3-in-1 in the hole? Or is there something better? Or should I realize these tuners are over 60 years old and maybe it's time to find replacements?

    Oil old tuners?-20200111_112050-jpg

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  3. #2

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    yes you can...just a drop though..you don't want to saturate the wood around it...also good idea to put a few drops on q-tip and rub the posts...teflon oil would be ideal

    cheers

  4. #3

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    I've used Tri-Flow rather than oil (because it was what I had). It helped a bit. It's best to take the strings off so that you can turn the tuners freely and work the lubricant in. However, Dan Erlewine says it's better to clean the tuners out first and then use grease rather than oil. Lubricating guitar tuners | stewmac.com

    Especially if the stiffness comes from the tuners being clogged with schmutz, this makes sense. But if the real reason for the stiffness is that something is bent/broken/worn-out, it's best to replace the tuners. Even if nothing is broken, modern 3-on-a-plate tuners are likely to be a LOT better than what's on that guitar, and pretty cheap. So in the end, I'd recommend replacing them and keeping the old ones aside in case you sell the guitar.

    John

  5. #4

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    3 in 1 will work just fine. I use clock oil mostly because I have it.

    I add a tiny drop of oil every time I change strings.

    Some covers pop off with a little prying.

    Before I went for new tuners I would take them off, take them apart clean with WD40, dry them then lube with a little food machine grease.

  6. #5

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    Thanks guys, this is all helpful.

  7. #6

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    only thing i'd add is be very wary of wd-40 around guitars..its really a water displacer rather than a lube...with time it tends to gunk up...i've seen pots on old guitars that were sprayed with wd-40 and became frozen with gunk...no amount of cleaning worked...replacement being the only solution..and same for tuning pegs..tho they can be taken apart and cleaned at least...try naphtha or 90%+ iso alcohol if you really want to clean the gears...

    those old kluson 3 on plate tuners are cool..and very simple...if the gears are not stripped..and the posts not bent...a little cleaning and lubing should have them good as new

    lastly the reason why i mentioned teflon oil is because it does not attract dust and dirt...its used for bike chains for that very reason...

    cheers

  8. #7

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    IMO grease is better than oil, but oil is better than nothing. I agree that tuners that old are probably caked with solid gunk, and could stand cleaning. It's not a quick and easy job, though. They would need to be taken off the guitar, then disassembled and cleaned. A little oil might take care of the problem temporarily. It's worth a try.

  9. #8

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    the small hole on the back of the kluson tuner is made for oil!! just use it judiciously!

    cheers

  10. #9

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    Don't like thin oils around guitar wood. Would use grease. Gun grease works well for lots of stuff around the house as it inhibits corrosion. You can push a little into the hole with a toothpick.

  11. #10

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    actually the kind of teflon lubricant i was speaking of ^ is not even considered an oil...tho in liquid form



    blurb-

    Use on any moving part, 3 dimensional lubricant utilizing advanced DuPont Teflon fluoropolymer, organic molybdenum and a polymerized wax structure Goes on wet to deeply penetrate and loosen frozen or rusted parts Sets up with a clean, dry, long-lasting film which will not attract and absorb dirt and grime Features patented self-cleaning technology, so parts stay clean, work better and last longer

    and spout fits kluson tuner hole quite well!

    invaluable guitar repair item..works great on frozen trussrod nuts as well as any moving metal parts

    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 01-11-2020 at 08:14 PM.

  12. #11

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    I fixed an old guitar with those tuners that were pretty much non functional. Assuming the gears themselves are intact, you can soak the tuners in a solvent that will dissolve the old grease. This may take a while, and you should agitate the tuners to loosen the gunk until it can drain out. Then inject a little new grease with a syringe. Grease is better than oil for tuners.

  13. #12

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    hey mr. b...how about a quick picked tune on said kay...to reward us for our interest..hah

    something sweet...like trane doin my favorite things...ur choice

    cheers

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilpy
    I fixed an old guitar with those tuners that were pretty much non functional. Assuming the gears themselves are intact, you can soak the tuners in a solvent that will dissolve the old grease. This may take a while, and you should agitate the tuners to loosen the gunk until it can drain out. Then inject a little new grease with a syringe. Grease is better than oil for tuners.
    This is my way of thinking but wouldn't hurt to try the drop or 2 of lube several mentioned.
    I'm guessing Beaumont's aren't frozen since he's playing it, but feeling stiff.
    If me I'd drop a tiny bit of oil to start, it flows better than grease and might get things turning.
    If no I'd probably use Gilpys method, just making sure the solvent won't harm the tuner buttons.

  15. #14

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    I have used the same spray lubricant as for motorcyle chains. Remove tuning machine before application. Penetrates well and dries up to a thin layer of lubricant suitable for relative high loads. After application I rotate the tuning machine to facilitate distribution on the gears. Then I wipe off external faces before reinstallation. A qtip wetted with the same will clean/lubricate the bore of the bushing.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    hey mr. b...how about a quick picked tune on said kay...to reward us for our interest..hah

    something sweet...like trane doin my favorite things...ur choice

    cheers
    This was a little rough, I have this guitar set up more for rhythm playing, but here's a quick "Stella."

    Btw, tried the 3 in 1, moved the tuners back and forth a bit, definitely helped.. next string change we'll see what I decide...they make drop in replacements that are pretty cheap.


  17. #16

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    Stellllaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!


    BTW, the lettering on your shirt is backward. I suppose that's an iphone artifact. I've never understood why they do that.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    Stellllaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!


    BTW, the lettering on your shirt is backward. I suppose that's an iphone artifact. I've never understood why they do that.
    Whoa, just noticed that...did an update on my phone (Android) the other day, apparently it turned off the "don't flip my selfies" button.

    Why would anybody want them backwards, anyway? So it looks just like what you see in the "mirror?"

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont;1000936
    [video=youtube_share;a_hyuSI1xhc
    https://youtu.be/a_hyuSI1xhc[/video]
    nice mr.b..thanks...looks and sounds good...i love the old harmonys, regals, kays, etc

    cheers

  20. #19

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    My Android phone doesn't have that button, doesn't seem to need one. It just shows everything normally. ¯\_(?)_/¯

  21. #20

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    That hole was meant for oil. I recommend sewing machine oil..... light, no smell. Regular maintenance versus big doses.
    About like clock oil!

  22. #21

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    Hi, B,
    If rust is suspected, use PB Blaster which is the best rust remover/lubricant I've found for anything metal/mechanical. It will free up any rust-inhibited tuners without destroying the gears(possible using only a lubricant). Just follow the directions. Also, if your guitar has vintage value, I've been told by many luthiers that replacing the tuners will effect its value to a collector. So, try PB. It will work. However, this may be the only option if they are beyond help(unlikely and you want to play this instrument). I hope this helps you. Good playing .. . . Marinero

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    This was a little rough, I have this guitar set up more for rhythm playing, but here's a quick "Stella."

    Btw, tried the 3 in 1, moved the tuners back and forth a bit, definitely helped.. next string change we'll see what I decide...they make drop in replacements that are pretty cheap.

    Mr B, I have to oil my tuners just like you did, and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to play like you.
    I love your playing man, you know that. And I always enjoy the background “music”. They must be getting too big to climb on you when you are playing now.. I miss that.
    Joe D

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    My Android phone doesn't have that button, doesn't seem to need one. It just shows everything normally. ¯\_(?)_/¯
    I swear mine didn't either until this past update!

    Anywaaaay...thanks again everybody. This guitar is not particularly valuable, I just like it a lot and it has a little sentimental value (bought it right around the time I got married) so I'm planning on hanging onto it...might even get it refretted to make it a little easier to play, the original frets are actually in good shape, but MAN they are TINY!

    I hadn't played it much in a while, but I'm getting really into the idea of being a good rhythm guitar player, so it's been out and about a lot.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Mr B, I have to oil my tuners just like you did, and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to play like you.
    I love your playing man, you know that. And I always enjoy the background “music”. They must be getting too big to climb on you when you are playing now.. I miss that.
    Joe D
    Lol, they've been too big to do that for a while, but that doesn't stop 'em! Unfortunately now, they're big enough that if they do climb on me, I probably gotta ditch the take.

    But they are getting more independent...less and less "Daddy, can you do this with me?" Now I gotta ask, and sometimes I get told "No, I'm doing this instead." Sigh. I didn't think getting more free time would be sad, but there it is.

    At least we can still play board games, and I need to help out with the tougher Legos.

  26. #25

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    The time is coming when it will kill them to ask you for help. That phase will come and go.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    The time is coming when it will kill them to ask you for help. That phase will come and go.
    Yeah, we were just talking about that in the other thread, right? This stuff has been on my mind a bit. I know it's inevitable. I'll be waiting on the other side for them.

    I'm super close with my dad now. I'm hoping I'm doing what I need to do to make sure they'll want to be that close to me when they get older. Damn this shit is difficult.

  28. #27

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    Human relationships are always difficult. Spouses, siblings, children/parents, friends, colleagues, it's all hard, and the closer the relationship, the more difficult, because the more you care about someone, the more they can hurt you, and the more they make you happy. All I know is to keep on loving your kids, and hope for the best. It saddens me when I see parents and children who are estranged. I don't even like the occasional disagreement, although they're inevitable.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I swear mine didn't either until this past update!

    Anywaaaay...thanks again everybody. This guitar is not particularly valuable, I just like it a lot and it has a little sentimental value (bought it right around the time I got married) so I'm planning on hanging onto it...might even get it refretted to make it a little easier to play, the original frets are actually in good shape, but MAN they are TINY!

    I hadn't played it much in a while, but I'm getting really into the idea of being a good rhythm guitar player, so it's been out and about a lot.
    Nice playing as always!

    Which model is that and what year? I have an older Kay 1956 all-mahogany--nice guitar in every way but the neck is just barely usable. I have it set up with a super-high action for slide right now (which I can't really play but why not?). I have a 1960's Harmony that looks similar to this one. The higher quality Kay and Harmonys are very good indeed and IMO on a par with the cheaper Gibson offerings of the time.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Jeff
    Nice playing as always!

    Which model is that and what year? I have an older Kay 1956 all-mahogany--nice guitar in every way but the neck is just barely usable. I have it set up with a super-high action for slide right now (which I can't really play but why not?). I have a 1960's Harmony that looks similar to this one. The higher quality Kay and Harmonys are very good indeed and IMO on a par with the cheaper Gibson offerings of the time.
    From what I've been able to figure out, it's a early 60's "Master Cutaway" model. It would have been a student model, but the top of that line. A local guitar repair shop guy, who loves old Kays and Harmonys and Danelectros says it's probably a pressed solid top, lam back and sides. The neck is in great shape on mine, and it's HUGE. The frets are the tiniest fretwire ever. It's quite loud, and really has that "feel it thump your chest as you play" thing going for it.

  31. #30

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    yes many of the late 50's-early 60's harmony, regal, kay archtops used pressed spruce tops...a nice touch..tho often prone to some cracking along the grain line..particularly near the binding edges

    & many do need a neck reset to get the neck angle right for lower action...

    fun guitars...that often sound great...and look cool!

    cheers