Talk:Machine head

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really nice article dude, props

Just a suggestion: the four photos are from the same distance, and are more photos of headstocks. The first photo should be a close-up of one machine head, an open one for clarity. --Billyshiverstick (talk) 02:54, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

Ok - I put the picture in but I can't fix the [ } syntax at the top. Sorry. Freakin' shortcuts, this language is like using WordPerfect in 1996.... somebody please fix. Tx Billyshiverstick (talk) 04:02, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

The main reason for the merge is that in reading headstock, I looked up machine head and couldn't work out from photo or description what the difference between them is. -- SGBailey 23:39, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Technically a machine head (or tuning machine) refers only to one of several geared tuning pegs - the machine heads reside on the headstock (or peghead) of a guitar, mandolin etc, or on the pegbox of a double-bass or electric violin. Non-geared tuning devices (as found on traditional violins, ukuleles etc.) are usually called pegs or tuners. --Butterfingersbeck 6 January 2006

Aren't these also called capstans? Jason Quinn 23:54, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I've never heard of such a name. GreyCat 09:05, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

The capstan is another name for the string post, around which the string is wrapped.--Butterfingersbeck

Electric guitar MC heads[edit]

We need a better pic than this. Something showing the actual mechanics at the back of the headstock!--Light current 01:31, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

I was wondering if anyone knew what Grover means when they lable their machine heads as "Horizontal" or "Vertical"? PAStech0057

It refers to the orientation of the capstan relative to the headstock. If the capstan runs across a slot in the headstock as in a classical guitar, it is horizontal. If it runs through a hole from the rear to the front of the headstock, as in most electric guitars, it is vertical. Horizontal models will be designed to have the end of the capstan held in a hole. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:18, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

My Machinehead is better than the rest (Pop Culture References?)[edit]

Who thinks we should start a small area for pop culture referring to machine heads?

Alin0Steglinski (talk) 04:03, 10 July 2013 (UTC)


When were they invented? When did they become widespread? Who were the first makers?

Lots of missing information.

Paul Magnussen (talk) 16:17, 1 September 2015 (UTC)


What he said. Were they invented by the Romans, or maybe a creation of the dinosaurs? If they were originally plants, were those tubers, or perhaps some nut-bearing tree?

And why have so few found this gap troubling? ("really nice article dude" HAH.)

Another major development: enclosure. Eventually the gears were covered with little sheet-metal canisters -- persisting as the "Kluson style" -- which greatly reduced the amount of grime and grit attracted to the gear lubricant.

Mid-century, the next step was to cast-metal bodies, entirely sealed. This kept the gears lubricated for a substantial number of years. More importantly, the casing allowed much tighter tolerances in the gears -- not having to compensate for contaminants or corrosion in actual conditions -- which in turn almost eliminated backlash & made them much more precise in use. These persist as the "Grover style" and are likely the most commonly used design today.

Who invented them? When? What are the patent numbers?

I've been fixing guitars since the 1970s, and have picked up much of this along the way -- sorry, no proper sources (yet). Two sites that were actually pretty good have gone defunct in recent years, which isn't helping.

One odd variant, entirely overlooked, would be the Danelectro "skate key strip" of six tuners in one long box. There's the Steinberger 40:1. And where does the "planetary peg" banjo tuner (as used on classic Gibson Firebird) fit into all this? Weeb Dingle (talk) 18:10, 28 January 2017 (UTC)

"notable designs" hah[edit]

Back-burnering for a few days, but I'm likely going to axe the Notable designs list.

First, calling something "notable" does NOT thereby MAKE it notable. This status would have to be conferred by some cited outside authority, else it constitutes original research. I could have a quick whip 'round various vendors and easily come up with the most common ten (or twenty) styles -- actually credible but, again, original research, thus non-WP.

Second, there is not even an attempt to compare these "styles" and make any case as to how they're differentiable.

All in all, better to simply have an incomplete textual collection of what is on (or has been on) the market.
Weeb Dingle (talk) 08:14, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

needs overall rework[edit]

Upon review, I now become aware of gaps and outright errors peppering this article. For instance, citing Floyd Rose for making "locking machine heads" then sending the reader to an article ENTIRELY about vibrato bridges. To my knowledge, Rose has NEVER made a gear head.

And as of 2006, locking ones are about 50% more expensive than original is a huge fail: outdated AND inaccurate AND original research.

The misnamed "References" section must go. Five patents (four to one inventor), none relevant to the article, the oldest dated 1990. That latter, in fact, is NOT for a worm-gear mechanism (which is inherent to the machine head!!), but rather a repurposed thumbscrew fine-tuner. At best, the section ought be "Relevant patents" or such.
Weeb Dingle (talk) 08:29, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

basic terminology: wtf "locking"?[edit]

The term locking tuners has thirty instances on WP. I haven't found one that refers to Machine head. And there's NOTHING in this article that attempts to define the term. Two sites that provided some history have gone defunct, I didn't note the URLs and I've yet to find another, but the following is based on their info.

Guitarists are pretty much gullible. Many believe that there is silver content in their nickel silver frets. Of course, they probably also believe they can get lead poisoning from getting poked with a pencil... Anyway, some sellers (even Fender) have fielded gripes from angry purchasers over this.

The problem is that the term "locking tuners" has two meanings. Nowadays, people think of some sort of mechanism in the string peg that locks the string in place, preventing slippage.

But the term is much older, and possibly originated with Grover. What THEY are referring to is an "anti-backlash" design of the gears, which greatly reduced the slippage of the basic worm-&-gear design. Per Gear#Worm --

...if the lead angle is small, the gear's teeth may simply lock against the worm's teeth, because the force component circumferential to the worm is not sufficient to overcome friction. ... Worm-and-gear sets that do lock are called self locking, which can be used to advantage, as when it is desired to set the position of a mechanism by turning the worm and then have the mechanism hold that position. An example is the machine head found on some types of stringed instruments.

All Grover Rotomatics are of this improved design, therefore all Rotomatics are rightly called "locking."
Weeb Dingle (talk) 15:19, 30 March 2018 (UTC)

As the article is already significantly messed up, I am going to incorporate the foregoing in hopes of differentiating the two usages.
Weeb Dingle (talk) 17:21, 15 April 2018 (UTC)