What Is A Locking Tuner Guitar And How To Tune A Guitar With Locking Tuners?

locking tuner guitar
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Installing a locking tuner guitar on a cheap, beginning guitar you got on Amazon from a no-name manufacturer can turn your instrument into something you can practice on a regular basis. The greatest news is that locking tuners are inexpensive to purchase, simple to install, and just take a little common sense to have them set up right on your guitar. 

If you’re considering replacing your tuners with a set of locking tuner guitars, start by looking for sets that don’t require any drilling or other modifications to your guitar. If you’ve never installed locking tuners guitar before and want a simple procedure to follow, these sorts of tuners are ideal.

Some common misconceptions about locking tuner

how to tune a guitar with locking nut
Common misconceptions about locking tuner

Guitars, like most other string instruments, are prone to going out of tune, especially if you don’t have a high-quality instrument or if you’re a very aggressive guitarist. If you’re a guitarist who uses a lot of string bending, tremolos, or other methods, these effects can all have a detrimental effect on your guitar tuning.

Numerous artists believe that by installing locking tuners on their guitars, they would be able to prevent their instruments from falling out of tune altogether. This isn’t fully accurate, though. Locking tuners aren’t completely resistant to out-of-tune situations.

If you’re having trouble keeping your instrument in tune, get your locking nut and bridge examined to determine what condition they’re in (you may do this at home). 

Most of the time, the tuning issues you’re experiencing aren’t due to inadequate tuners, but rather to a problem with your nut and bridge. Getting that out of the way, locking tuners will reduce the chances of your instrument going out of tune. The most significant distinction between conventional standard tuners and locking tuners is that locking tuners do not require you to wrap your guitar strings around the tuners many times to secure the string to the tuning peg.

Tuning issues can be exacerbated by wrapping your guitar strings around a tuning peg. Instead, locking tuners require you to insert your guitar string into the peg and secure it with the given mechanism.


One of the issues that are concerned when choosing a guitar is Maple fretboards or Rosewood fretboard?

Comparison between locking tuners vs. traditional tuners

locking tuner guitar 1
Comparison between locking tuners vs. traditional tuners

Regardless if you have the finest expertise or the most costly gear. If your instrument doesn’t stay in tune, it won’t provide great sound quality. In the guitar industry, the value of excellent tuners in the overall sound of your instrument is underappreciated. While most people spend their time discussing whether companies make the greatest guitars.

Once you go through the trouble of replacing your locking tuners because your conventional tuners aren’t keeping your guitar in tune. Ensure your bridge, strings, and pickups are all in good working order. These parts of your guitar are very crucial, since if your intonation is off, your guitar will not stay in tune. Please bear in mind that locking tuners will not prevent your guitar from going entirely out of tune.

Because your strings stretch naturally as you move them, your guitar will occasionally get out of tune. The weather and humidity levels might also affect your instrument’s tune. Locking tuners essentially reduces the impact of playing your instrument on its intonation, which means you won’t have to tune your instrument as frequently as you would with regular tuners.

The majority of people who utilize locking tuners do it for cosmetic reasons rather than to improve their intonation. People typically use locking tuners as a kind of persuasion since they don’t have to tune their acoustic guitar as often and changing strings is considerably easier (and takes less time). 

During using conventional tuners, you tighten your strings by wrapping them up tight and tying them into a knot using the tuning pegs. With locking tuners, however, you don’t have to spend as much time tightening the strings because all you have to do is spin your tuning peg halfway to tighten the string. This not only reduces the amount of time it takes to alter your strings, but it also makes the procedure considerably simpler.

Benefits of using locking tuners

locking guitar tuner
Benefits of using locking tuners

Locking tuners offer many benefits to musicians over regular tuners, which is why so many people suggest converting to locking tuners. Even if you’re one of the finest guitarists in the world, or if you’ve invested in the best instrument money can buy, a simple adjustment to locking tuners may improve your sound.

Locking tuners will not keep your guitar strings in perfect tune all of the time. They will, however, hold your strings into place, preventing intonation changes caused by string sliding or the winding loosening up. Whereas locking tuners are crucial to your overall tone, they will be rendered useless if your intonation is incorrect. Before switching to locking tuners, make sure your intonation is in order.

The major advantage of having locking tuners, according to most people, is that the procedure of replacing your strings becomes considerably faster. Simply twist a screw inside of tying your strings in knots to fasten your fresh strings.

Side effect of using locking tuners

guitar locking tuner
Side effect of using locking tuners

The size and look of the accessories are the most common complaints that consumers have concerning locking tuners. Some individuals think locking tuners are overly big and bulky on their headstock since they are bigger than regular tuners

You may avoid this problem by choosing thinner locking tuners. But if you prefer the natural aesthetic of a classic tuner, this may not be desirable to you.

How to restring a guitar with a locking tuner?

Place your guitar down

Lay your instrument face down on a stable workbench, table, bed, or other level surface. Avoid utilizing the floor since there is a great chance of errors and subsequent harm! To avoid scratches, cover whatever surface you’re using with carpet, a towel, cloth, or another soft covering.

Assisting the Neck

Support the neck of your guitar near to the headstock using a purpose-made neck support or even something as basic as a cushion. This will keep it in the best possible condition and prevent costly and terrible incidents.

Eliminate the Past Strings

You can skip this step if this is the first time you’re putting a set of tuners in your guitar. If not, loosen the clamp on the tuning machine’s rear.

Taking out the old string from the tuner

If your guitar has a string that runs through the body, feed the loose end until the string is removed.

If your strings go through the saddles or your bridge has a stoptail, take the string out from the ball end.

String should be fed

Feed the string through the body or the bridge, depending on your preference. Make that the strings are properly positioned in the saddles and the nut slots. Thread the thread through the tuning post’s hole

Lock the string where it belongs

Pull the string tight by hand while twisting the knob on the back of the tuning machine after it is correctly aligned. The clamp that keeps the string in place is activated as a result of this action.

Make sure the clamp is firm enough to keep the string from slipping but not so tight that it rips it.


Unlike a traditional non-locking tuner, you won’t have to turn the machine head many times to get the strings to pitch. Turn the machine head to tighten the string and bring it to the right pitch once the locking mechanism has fastened the string in place.

Remove any excess material

Take your string cutters and clip the extra once the string has been adjusted. Some locking tuners have a built-in snipper that cuts off the extra string when you move the knob to tune the string. There’s no need to worry about doing this manually if this is the case for you.

How to choose the right set of locking tuners for your guitar?

how to tune guitar with locking tuners
How to choose the right set of locking tuners for your guitar?

Whenever shopping for a set of locking tuners to add to your guitar, there are a few characteristics to look for. First and foremost, you’ll want to keep an eye on the locking tuner’s size. Certain locking tuners are specifically designed for specific guitars, ensuring that they are a perfect fit.

Some tuners may require you to enlarge the hole in your headstock in order for your locking tuners to fit correctly. If you can find a set of tuners that you can just put in and play with, you should always prefer them over tuners that need you to make changes to your instrument in order to install them.

But don’t be alarmed; making changes to your headstock to suit a set of tuners is entirely standard. Look at the locking tuners’ orientation. Tuners are usually staggered so that they all line up on the same side of the headstock. However, 3/3 sets of locking tuners are available for headstock designs that are comparable to those found on a Les Paul.

Do you have to drill holes?

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Do you have to drill holes?

Drilling holes in your headstock might be a scary prospect, especially if you spent a lot of money on your instrument or if you’ve never worked with wood before.

Because various companies create gauge tuners in varying sizes, depending on the sort of guitar you bought, you might have to drill into your woodwork.

It’s not very usual for a user to locate an aftermarket guitar locking tuner that exactly fits their headstock, which is a regular problem. This would need some headstock changes, which you can learn how to accomplish properly by reading internet guidelines. Whenever you don’t feel comfortable making headstock modifications on your own. You may always take it to a guitar shop and have them do it for you. It won’t be too pricey for you because this is such a common change for people to make to their instruments.

Best locking tuners you should buy

Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners

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Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Rotomatic Tuners pic

The Grover 502C Roto-Grip locking tuners are drop-in tuners with an 18-1 gear ratio and a 3/3 tuner arrangement. This ratio allows these tuners to suit a wide range of popular guitars. Which means you may not need to make any headstock changes.

Grover Rotomatic tuners are among the most popular aftermarket locking tuners on the market, and with good reason. These locking tuners are also included with all of the necessary mounting hardware.

Pros of Grover 502C

  • Excellent tuning ratio
  • Black chrome, chrome, and gold chrome finishes are available.
  • Installation is a breeze.

Cons of Grover 502C

  • The Grover Rotomatic is only available in 33 different configurations.
  • Isn’t the most economical guitar locking tuner on the market Doesn’t work properly with extra-large strings

Sperzel 6 In-Line Black Locking Tuners

how to tune a locking nut guitar
Sperzel 6 In-Line Black Locking Tuners

Grover 502Cs are a popular locking tuner, but Sperzel 6 Inline Locking tuners give Grover a run for their money. The most common Sperzel tuners are the Sperzel locking InLIne tuners. Which are staggered tuners that will suit a wide range of guitars.

If you have a popular guitar, these tuners will most likely fit without difficulty. But there is always the possibility that you will need to drill holes in the headstock.

Sperzel locking tuners are renowned for their outstanding guitar tuning retention and unwavering dependability. The only criticism you could have about these tuners is that they lack an auto lock option and instead rely on a thumb wheel.

Hipshot Grip Lock

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Hipshot Grip Lock

If you don’t want to drill into your headstock to create place for your locking tuners. The Hipshot locking tuners are an excellent option. A Universal Mounting Plate is included with these hipshot tuners (also called UMP). The Universal Mounting Plate makes the installation procedure much easier, especially because no holes need to be drilled.

The most common criticism of these tuners is that they appear hefty on the headstock. But that may be the price you have to pay for locking tuners with such a wide range of applications. These tuners offer an 18-1 tuning ratio, which makes fine-tuning your modifications much easier. You may buy custom measurements for Hipshot Grip Lock tuners to ensure that you get tuners that suit your instrument. Hipshot has post holes that accommodate strings up to.60 gauge, but you may buy custom post holes up to.90 gauge. You may also pick from regular and staggered arrangements, as well as virtually any color.

Fender Chrome Locking Tuners

what is a locking tuner on a guitar
Fender Chrome Locking Tuners

These are the identical Fender locking tuners that found on the Fender America Deluxe line guitars. If you have a locking tuner system on your Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster, your replacements will fit right in. But don’t worry if you don’t know how to play any of these instruments.

Even if you have a different model or brand of guitar, you may still use these Fender locking tuners on it. You’ll need to make a minor adjustment to your headstock, but it’s simple enough that you’ll be back to thinking about your sound rather than your intonation in no time!

Planet Waves Auto-Trim Locking Tuning Machines

do locking tuners keep guitar tune
Planet Waves Auto-Trim Locking Tuning Machines

Locking tuners Planet Waves offer a distinguishing characteristic that sets them apart from the rest of the pack (and most of the other locking tuners on the market).

As you lock your string into position, the Planet Waves Auto Trim locking tuners trim it for you. This will not only save you time while installing your strings on your guitar, but it will also assist to give your guitar a cleaner appearance.

These locking tuners offer an 18-1 tuning ratio and are noted for their consistency as well as their clever wire trimming feature.

The most common criticism about these tuners is that they appear cheap, but if you aren’t bothered with the physical appearance of your guitar’s hardware, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Schaller Locking Tuning Machine Heads

guitar tuner locks
Schaller Locking Tuning Machine Heads

Some of the top guitarists in the world consider the Schaller Machine Heads to be the best locking tuners on the market. Schaller has the original patent for locking tuners, which is a fun fact!

Schaller’s locking tuners use a knurled nut to lock the guitar string in the peg; in other words, the locking tuner acts as if it isn’t locked into a nut, but the real string isn’t wrapped around a peg. All that is required of the string is that it be threaded through the hole and secured with a screw.

The Schaller Machine Heads are only available in a chrome finish, which is a major drawback for certain players. These locking tuners, on the other hand, may be used on a variety of instruments.

Pros of Schaller Locking Tuning Machine Heads

  • Simple to set up and utilize
  • The best locking tuners on the market, according to some.

Cons of Schaller Locking Tuning Machine Heads

  • Only a chrome-plated finish is offered.


What is the purpose of locking tuners?

Locking tuners are a device with a pin and a mechanism that firmly secures the string in place during playing, preventing it from becoming loose.

Is it possible to install locking tuners on an acoustic guitar?

Although locking tuners are designed for electric guitars, you may use them on your acoustic guitar as well since they allow you to change strings fast and effortlessly.

How do you put a locking tuner in place?

This is a really simple job that simply requires the use of pliers. Remove the old tuner (if applicable) and gently insert the new locking tuner into the hole. Next, double-check that the notches are in the holes before screwing the top back on and tightening it with the pliers. You’re ready to leave now.

If you want to improve your performance without spending a lot of money, locking tuners are a good option. While adding locking tuners to your instrument might help you improve your performance, they are not always required. You may have spent a lot of money on your instrument a few years ago, but all of the expensive materials won’t matter if the strings don’t keep a key.

However, We’re glad to share and introduce to you what is a locking tuner guitar and how to use a locking tuner guitar. Wish you luck on the way to choosing the right set for your guitar. See you soon on new posts about guitar in the future!