Thursday, 14 June 2012

One small victory - slipping friction tuner finally sorted

One small step for a seasoned ukulele player, one giant leap for yours truly - the slipping friction tuner (original, I believe) on my vintage 1920's Slingerland Maybelle banjo-uke is finally fixed, and I have done it myself...

I had already fixed it up to a point... after real problems with it when I first had the uke about three months ago, when it wouldn't hold at all, and then I couldn't even remove it from the headstock because it was stuck... but at that time with a little helpful advice and direction from my friends in the UU Forum, I got it out, stripped it down, put it back with a thin rubber washer - and it would hold in C tuning. But it wouldn't hold in D.

On advice at the weekend from a very seasoned player, (read my last posts about the GFS meeting) I went off yesterday in search of a more substantial washer, to put just below the button of the tuner, to lengthen it and give room for the screw to screw down a bit further.

The man in the local model train shop turned out his stock of little brass washers for me - but they were all too small - a bore of 2/8" is too small for the tuner to go through. Next to one of those great hardware shops - the sort that's independently owned by a little man who still stocks bits and bobs of all sorts, and an Aladdin's cave of plumbing and electrical parts...

He, too, was so helpful - fetched a drawer full of fibre washers - all far too big and all the same size - but he patiently ferreted around in the bottom of it, looking for tiny ones, and turned up a few possibles - and just one that looked perfect; smaller than my little finger-nail, made of leather, and just the size hole in the middle that meant it only just fitted, pushed on hard. What a hero! Perfect! And back at home, that worked perfectly. The tuner no longer slips, and holds the tuning so that I can tune in D if I want.

Here you can see the tuner with the washer, showing how it gives extra length for the screw at the top of the button to turn. The photo also shows one of the other tuners, which is fine.

One small success with one small job. The big job - big for me, at least - with the banjo-uke still looms large and rather scary.... and will probably have to wait a bit...

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HI! I hope you enjoy this blog and I'd love to hear your comments! But I know you'll forgive me if I read them over before I click the "publish" button! Thanks!