Just a short advice note on swapping ukulele tuning pegs for others and some of the work you may need to do to achieve itIn this first picture you will see a 'before and after' on a Martin Soprano ukulele - previously Grover friction pegs, latterly Gotoh UPT's. A change I wanted to make just for the fun of it.. And really easy to do..
Now often a peg swap will allow you drop the new ones into the holes left by the old. You simply unscrew one and fit the others directly - a two minute job. I was asked however about the steps taken if you find new pegs don't fit in the holes left by the old ones. In fact that was the case with the move from these Grovers to the Gotoh pegs - they needed a wider hole by about 1mm all diameter. All you need to do is to widen them with the right tool for the job. I used a luthiers / carpenters reamer pictured below to do the job. Some would suggest using a drill or a rat tail file, but that is a sure fire way to cause the wood outer to split, or make the hole uneven. The reamer is on a long taper allowing you to create a variety of diameters, but in this case I needed to widen the holes to 10mm, which was the maximum on the reamer. It leaves a very slight taper (very) in the hole, which isn't really an issue in practice as the headstock is not that thick, but if that bothers you, you simply run the reamer in from the other side and repeat. Make sure you cover the back and front of the headstock in good masking tape to avoid the edges splitting and go very SLOWLY letting the reamer do the work. Takes minutes to do.
Now this is for a hole that needed widening by a fair amount - you may find that your new tuners nearly fit but not quite - for that sort of widening you may be able to do the job with some sandpaper wrapped around a pencil. In my case though, that would have been both long winded and likely to mis-shape the hole. Horses for courses
Of course, if you decide to go back to smaller pegs that's a much bigger job to reverse if you want to shrink the holes, but thankfully I knew from the start I wanted these UPT pegs, so don't plan to.
One other point I am often asked about is what to do if you move from geared pegs to frictions and leave a screw hole from the geared peg. Personally, I work on the basis that nobody ever sees them anyway (as they are on the back) and ignore them myself. If they trouble you, it's a case of plugging them with thin dowel and matching the colour... This isn't an issue however in swapping friction pegs as there are no screw holes.
There are some other more complex swaps to bear in mind, like collars that require counter sinking and tuners that need a specific taper, but this guide covers the more common straight swaps.
And, why would you want to change friction pegs anyway? Well, because in many cases stock friction pegs can be awful and represent everything that people don't like about them. Good friction pegs however, are a joy. The friction pegs I replaced on this one were actually good ones already, but I just wanted a set of UPT's!
This video will tell you how cheap and decent ukulele pegs can differ quite significantly..
And of course, this process left me with a spare set of Grover tuners - Waste not want not and all that, so they were re-deployed on a Concert Ukulele - I personally don't mind the screw holes, so I filled them with the old geared tuner screws for safe keeping!
Hope that helps!
© Barry Maz