Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

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UlricvonCatalyst
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Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:14 am

Apologies if a) this isn't the right part of the forum to post this, and b) this has been done to death.

I have an incoming NGD which will require a neck swap, amongst a few other tweaks, to get it close to how I want it, which is this:

Image

I have a donor maple neck which I'm willing to sacrifice for the cause. Unfortunately, swapping the tuners from the rosewood board neck currently on the incoming guitar isn't an option as they've been swapped out for black Gotohs; the tuners on the maple neck are somewhat cheap generic types with the 'pyramid' covers found on many old MIJ/MIK 'lawsuit era' geetars. I figured I might as well go the whole hog and try and find a set of Fender F tuners for the maple neck.

Not having infinite resources to pour into this, my question is about reissue F tuners, which I'm assuming will be cheaper and easier to come by than a vintage set. I seem to recall reading up on them when I was working on my Mustang partstang, and there being a difference in the hole size they fit, requiring transition bushings or some such if you were using them on a vintage neck.

Can anyone shine a light on this for me? Thanks!

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:11 am

I can't definitively answer your question (that's seldom possible when talking parts, which sometimes either fit or don't fit in rather unpredictable ways!) but I can provide a data point:

I have a '74 Telecaster Thinline that had original "F" tuners.

For a reason that's too complicated to get into here, I wanted to swap them out for some modern F tuner reproductions (made by Schaller). The new parts dropped right in, and worked with the original bushings flawlessly.

The new tuners came with bushings of their own, but the fit was so perfect that I just left the originals and rocked it.

Hope that helps in some small way!

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:16 am

That does help in some small way, thanks! Would still love to hear from anyone who can definitively settle the matter, though.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by Larry Mal » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:26 am

Well, if Brad can't definitively answer a question here you can bet that I can't do it, either.

But here's what I know: there seemingly were two F tuner footprints, one in the 60's and one that is more prevalent that ran for the 70's.

I discovered this because I have a '66 Jaguar and have had some 70's Fenders, Bullets and a Lead. The tuners I took from one of the Bullets was not the same footprint that would fit the Jaguar. I did some Googling and found out there there were apparently two different sizes.

Since that point, I have used the Kluson Revolutions on my F tuner guitars and they've all fit- but they all had the 70's footprint. I am not aware of any reproduction tuners that use that 60's shape, which I think ran for less years than the 70's F tuner footprint.

In short, if you have a guitar that uses F tuners and is a reproduction, it almost certainly uses the 70's footprint and any modern F tuner will work. I don't think that anyone makes the 60's footprint as a reproduction at this point.

Or, if you have a Fender made after 1969 or so, I'll bet that it uses the 70's style F tuners.

Earlier than that, you'd need to do some research and measuring. Sorry I can't be more specific.

Remember that if you don't know, Hipshot makes non-invasive tuners that will fit almost anything and have a wide variety of tuning knobs to look sort of original.

Also, the real F tuners from back in the day are not worth chasing down in my opinion, they weren't particularly good tuners even back then and the ones I've seen are wearing out. Modern tuners are much more robust and simply better mechanical devices all around.

Hope any of this helps.
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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:44 am

Thanks Larry. I was possibly under the impression that the F tuners were around longer than they were, as I know they were vintage-correct for my '66 Mustang neck, and, today, I followed a link to a vintage Tele neck from '78 and it had them too; I just assumed they were on all the Fenders from about post-CBS till whenever, but it sounds like I'm mistaken. Maybe I dreamt the bit about conversion bushings for the modern Fs, who knows?

I'm not the least concerned about the footprint of the F tuners, as long as they fit the headstock of the donor neck, which I don't believe is a genuine Fender neck, though it looks like a faithful copy - the F tuners are more of a cosmetic touch, which is why modern repros would be absolutely fine. I'm sure those exist at any rate, as I've seen them on a recent Tele Custom (MIM), like earlier today.

In any case, I'll be happy enough to just use Klusons if it comes to it, but I thought the Fs would be truer to Syd's Tele which I think was from '68 or '69 if memory serves.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:45 am

P.S. There was no sarcasm implied in quoting Brad's words back at him. My thank you was genuine.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by Larry Mal » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:10 am

UlricvonCatalyst wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:44 am


In any case, I'll be happy enough to just use Klusons if it comes to it, but I thought the Fs would be truer to Syd's Tele which I think was from '68 or '69 if memory serves.
If you aren't otherwise committed, these are wonderful tuners that I highly recommend.
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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:18 pm

Should've probably gone on google in the first place. This review on Thomman seems to confirm the issue I was vaguely aware of:

"They're fine tuners, but make sure they fit the target guitar first. In my instance, I presumed they would immediately fit into a late 60s Jaguar, but the headstock is too thick so they don't mount properly."

I guess that means the posts are on the short side, or else post-CBS headstocks were of variable thickness. I had assumed the problem would be the diameter of the holes being too wide and needing a bushing to narrow the gap a bit, as these "adapter bushings" suggest.

With two (or more) possible pitfalls, the Fs seem like a bit of a minefield, but I'll see if I can come up with a set at a reasonable enough price to hopefully make my money back if they don't work out.
Last edited by UlricvonCatalyst on Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by Con-Tiki! » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:58 pm

this may or may not help,

the first F tuners from the late 60's are very similar to the Klusons, post size and spacing.
in the late 70's ('78 maybe) the German F tuners arrive. They are superior, but have a sleeve cast into the body which requires a bigger hole in the headstock.
the RI F tuners are a direct swap for the German ones.

Larry is right about the first incarnation, they do suck. My Mustang has them, and i would ditch them in a heartbeat if there was something better that didn't require mods.

oh, and also...
I built an Affinity Strat for my nephew. It originally had those cheap trapazoid tuners, but i put RI F tuners on it without much drama. I think it only required opening the post holes a smidge.
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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:09 pm

Cool, thanks Christopher.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by mcatano » Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:35 am

Just one small note about the repro F-tuners (which I can also +1 to being a drop-in replacement for the originals): if you want to feed anything heavier than a .46 or .48 into the centre-hole, you'll need to drill it out. Similarly, be prepared for a snug fit through the tuner slot itself. A .52 will work through the slot (it's tight but it fits), but will not fit in the centre hole.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:59 am

mcatano wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:35 am
Just one small note about the repro F-tuners (which I can also +1 to being a drop-in replacement for the originals): if you want to feed anything heavier than a .46 or .48 into the centre-hole, you'll need to drill it out. Similarly, be prepared for a snug fit through the tuner slot itself. A .52 will work through the slot (it's tight but it fits), but will not fit in the centre hole.
That is really useful information, thanks. I think I'll probably be going with Pyramid Gold 11-48s when I re-jig my guitar, so hopefully I'll get away with it.

Does anyone know if the holes in Schaller-era Fs are similarly handicapped? :ph34r:

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by JVG » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:22 pm

A side note about reissue F-tuners, which may be of interest.

Until a few years ago they were made in Germany; currently they are made in Taiwan. I have sets of both, so have been able to compare directly. The metal on the German ones looks a bit nicer, especially the backplate - it is sleeker and gives the impression of being more solid. Interestingly, the Taiwanese ones are significantly smoother in operation, and are nicer to use. It may be that the German ones can be made smoother if opened up and interfered with, I’m not sure.

Thought i’d mention it because some shops are still selling slightly older stock of German origin, whereas other places have the newer Taiwanese ones. I think the Fender product number is the same.

Cheers!
J.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by UlricvonCatalyst » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:24 pm

Thanks, J - more useful information.

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Re: Vintage v Reissue F Tuners Question

Post by will » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:05 am

Con-Tiki! wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:58 pm
the first F tuners from the late 60's are very similar to the Klusons, post size and spacing.
in the late 70's ('78 maybe) the German F tuners arrive. They are superior, but have a sleeve cast into the body which requires a bigger hole in the headstock.
the RI F tuners are a direct swap for the German ones.

I've had good luck disassembling the newer "F" tuners, sawing/filing off the "sleeve" that sticks up, and filing the covers so that they would fit on a headstock driller for the earlier-style "F" tuners.

Also, if the tuner shafts don't stick up far enough for those thick later-60's headstocks, you can frankenstein swap some from Music Man / Schaller tuners with the parallelogram shaped covers.

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