How to install electric guitar locking tuning pegs

How to install electric guitar locking tuning pegs


Ever get frustrated because your guitar keeps going out of tune in the middle of a jam session or gig? You're not alone; tuning stability is a big deal for anyone who plays the guitar. That's why we're going to talk about locking tuning pegs today. These little upgrades can be a game-changer for keeping your guitar in tune and making string changes a breeze.
In this tutorial, we'll break down what locking tuning pegs are, why they're awesome, and how you can install them yourself. So, stick around to find out how you can make your guitar more reliable and easier to manage!

What Are Locking Tuning Pegs?

What exactly are locking tuning pegs? Great question! Locking tuning pegs are a type of machine head—you know, the twisty things at the headstock of your guitar—that "lock" the string in place once it's threaded through the hole. This is different from your standard tuning pegs where the string winds around the post multiple times.

The "locking" feature usually involves a small mechanism inside the peg, often controlled by a thumbwheel or a small screw.
In most locking tuning pegs, there will be a mechanism actuated by a thumbwheel, screw or Allen key that will lock the string in the tuned position. In the more advanced automatic systems, once you've pulled the string through and start tuning up, the locking mechanism will clamp down on the string, holding it firmly in place. Either mechanism will make sure that there is no slippage, which is often the culprit when your guitar falls out of tune.

To put it simply, it's like having an extra set of hands helping you keep everything stable while you rock out or serenade. Cool, right?

Benefits of Locking Tuning Pegs

Alright, now that we know what locking tuning pegs are, let's dive into why they're a must-have for any guitarist looking to up their game. Trust me, once you hear about these benefits, you'll wonder why you didn't switch sooner!

Enhanced Tuning Stability: Say goodbye to constant retuning. Locking pegs keep your strings in place, so you stay in tune longer.

Quick String Changes: If you've ever struggled with string changes, you'll love this. Locking pegs make the process super quick and easy.

Reduced String Slippage: No more strings slipping out of tune in the middle of a performance. These pegs lock 'em down tight.

Simplified Tuning Process: Less winding means it's quicker to get each string up to pitch. Plus, fewer winds around the post make for a cleaner look.

Less String Breakage: With a more secure hold, there's less stress on the string at the tuning peg, which can mean fewer broken strings.

Increased Sustain: Some players even notice an improvement in sustain and tone with locking tuners, thanks to the more secure string anchoring.

Locking tuning pegs offer a bunch of advantages that can make your life as a guitarist way more enjoyable. Whether you're on stage or in your bedroom, these nifty gadgets can help you play better and worry less.

Popular Brands and Models

Okay, so you're sold on the idea of locking tuning pegs and wondering what brands you should look into? Don't worry, I've got you covered. Here are some popular brands known for producing quality locking tuning pegs that you can trust:

JP Music
PRS (Paul Reed Smith)
Graph Tech Ratio
These brands are known for their durability, ease of use, and overall quality, so you really can't go wrong with any of them. Whether you're looking for something more budget-friendly or willing to splurge for premium quality, there's something on this list for you.

Gold guitar locking tuning pegs

We have plenty of high quality tuning pegs on our site, click HERE to check them out.

Types Of Locking Tuning Pegs

Hey, you've made it this far, and you're probably feeling pretty good about diving into the world of locking tuning pegs. But hang on a minute—did you know there are different types of locking mechanisms? That's right! Knowing the options can help you pick the perfect set for your guitar and playing style. So let's dig in!

Standard Thumbwheel Locking
These are probably the most common types you'll encounter. They have a little thumbwheel at the back or bottom of the peg. Once you get the string up to pitch, you just turn that wheel, and it clamps the string in place. Super easy and very effective!

Talk about convenience! With auto-lock tuners, you don't have to do anything to lock the string. Just tune up, and the internal mechanism automatically locks the string as it tightens. It's like magic!

Built-in Locking Capstan
In this type, the locking mechanism is integrated into the winding peg itself. You'll usually tighten a screw on the top of the capstan after winding the string. These often look more traditional, so if you're into that vintage aesthetic but want modern reliability, these could be for you.

Cam Lock
These are a bit less common but still very effective. In these tuners, a cam mechanism is used to lock the string. You typically have to use an Allen wrench to tighten a bolt, which in turn activates the cam lock.

Locking Nut Systems
Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat because it's not exactly a "locking tuner," but some guitars use a locking nut at the headstock to keep strings in place. Usually, you'll find these on guitars built for heavy whammy bar use like Floyd Rose systems.

Pin Lock
In these, a pin pops up and holds the string in place when you start to tune up. These are very secure but might be a bit more finicky to set up initially.

Quick Release
These have a quick-release button that pops the string out when you're ready to change it, making the string-changing process even faster.

Each type of locking tuning pegs come with their own pros and cons, but they're all designed to make your life easier and keep your guitar in tune. Have a think about what kind of player you are and what you need from your tuning pegs, and you'll find the perfect match. Happy strumming!

Chrome locking tuning pegs

Tools Needed for Installation
Alright, you're convinced locking tuners are the way to go and you've picked out a brand and the type. So, what's next? Time to roll up those sleeves and get to installing! But wait, let's make sure you've got all the tools you'll need for a smooth installation process. Trust me, there's nothing worse than getting halfway through a job and realizing you're missing something crucial.

Here are the tools you'll generally need:

Screwdriver: You'll need this for removing screws from your old tuning pegs and installing the new ones.

String Cutter: For cutting off the excess string length once you've locked them in place.

Allen Wrench: Some locking tuners come with a small Allen wrench to tighten the locking mechanism, so have one handy just in case.

Tuner: Well, you'll want to tune your guitar after installing the new pegs, won't you?

Soft Cloth or Towel: Good for laying your guitar on to prevent any scratches during the process.

Optional but Helpful - Pencil: You can use this to mark holes if your new tuners require different positioning.

Drill (sometimes): If new holes need to be made or old ones need to be enlarged, a drill could come in handy. However, this is usually not necessary for most installations.

And that's pretty much it! Most of these tools are probably lying around your house already, and if not, they're easy to find at any hardware store. Gather them up and get ready to take your guitar to the next level!

Pre-Installation Tips
Great, you've got your tools ready and you're raring to go. But before we jump into the actual installation, let's talk about some pre-installation tips that can make the whole process go a lot smoother. Trust me, a little prep work goes a long way!

Read the Instructions: Sounds obvious, but seriously, take a minute to read any instructions or guidelines that came with your new locking tuners. Different brands might have unique steps.

De-String Carefully: Before you do anything, you'll need to remove your old strings. Do this carefully to avoid any sudden tension changes that might harm your guitar neck.

Clean the Headstock: With the strings off, it's a great time to give your guitar's headstock a quick wipe down. A clean surface ensures better installation.

Check the Fit: Before you start unscrewing anything, place the new pegs in the existing holes to make sure they fit. If they don’t, you'll need to decide if you’re comfortable enlarging the holes or if it's time to consult a pro.

Take Photos: Snap a few pics of your current setup before you start. This gives you a reference point in case you need to look back and see how things were originally arranged.

Prepare Your Workspace: Make sure you've got a flat, stable surface to work on, and maybe lay down that soft cloth or towel to protect your guitar's finish.

Keep Parts Organized: As you remove the old tuners, keep all the screws and parts in a small container so they don't get lost. You never know what you might need later.

Be Patient: If this is your first time, don’t rush it. Take your time and double-check each step to ensure you're doing it right.

Alright, you're all set to go! With these pre-installation tips, you're one step closer to a more stable, easier-to-tune guitar. Let's do this!

Step-by-Step Guide to Installation
Alright, folks, this is the moment we've been waiting for! You're prepped, you're pumped, and you're ready to get those new locking tuning pegs on your guitar. So let's get into it! Here's a step-by-step guide to installing those shiny new pegs:

Step 1: Detune and Remove Old Strings
Slowly detune and remove the old strings. It is best to install new strings with the new tuning pegs.

Step 2: Remove Old Tuning Pegs
Grab that screwdriver and start removing the screws holding your old tuning pegs in place. Be gentle; you don't want to damage your guitar's headstock. Once the screws are out, gently remove the old pegs.

Step 3: Prepare the Peg Holes
Check if the holes in the headstock are the right size for your new pegs. If they're a perfect fit, awesome! If not, you might need to widen them a bit (and this is where that optional drill could come in handy).

Step 4: Insert the New Locking Pegs
Now for the fun part! Insert your new locking tuning pegs into the holes. They should fit snugly but not too tight. Some models might require you to attach a nut or washer on the other side of the headstock to secure them in place. Tighten 'em up!

Step 5: Screw Them In
Use your screwdriver again to secure the new pegs with screws. Make sure they're tight, but don't go overboard. No Hulk-smashing, please; we don't want to crack the wood.

Step 6: String Up the Guitar
Time to string your guitar! Thread the string through the peg hole, tighten it up to pitch, and then lock it down using the thumbwheel or Allen wrench, depending on your model. If it is an auto-lock system then just tune the strings up and the pegs will do the rest.

Step 7: Cut Off Excess String
Once the string is locked in place, use your string cutter to remove any excess string sticking out. But be careful not to cut too close to the locking mechanism; you don't want it to slip out.

Step 8: Tune Up
Last but not least, grab that tuner and tune your strings up to pitch. With locking tuners, you might find that the tuning process is quicker and more stable. Woohoo!

Step 9: Final Adjustments
Strum a bit, stretch the strings gently (they're new, after all), and then retune. Once everything sounds good, you're done!

And there you have it! You've just upgraded your guitar with locking tuning pegs. Give yourself a pat on the back, strike a power chord, and enjoy your newly stable tuning. Rock on!

Whether you're gigging every weekend or just jamming in your bedroom, locking tuners are a must-have for keeping your axe in tune and making string changes a breeze. Plus, with so many types to choose from, there's definitely a set out there that'll fit your style and needs like a glove.

So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge and get yourself some locking tuning pegs! Trust me, your guitar—and your audience—will thank you. Until next time, keep those riffs tight and your tuning even tighter. Rock on!

We have a wide range of Guitar tuning pegs on our site, click HERE to check them out. 

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