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Are malfunctioning tuners worth fixing?

ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
I don’t know what’s going on with me and tuners lately. I replaced the set that came with my Alves de Puga guitar when one became completely unusable. I put on a set of Schaller Deluxe and they work great.

Lately, one of my tuners on my MDC 50 is starting to act up. The original Dupont tuners were replaced with Rainer Muellers by Chappie from this forum before he sold it in 2011. The guitar was built in 2005, so if he replaced them because of a malfunction, they didn’t last 6 years.

Seeing the price of actual Dupont tuners, I’m wondering if I should try to work on these. I’ve seen videos of people flushing and dipping the tuners in Naptha cleaning solution, then re-lubricating with a syringe. I don’t know if that’s possible with these, though, because they may be completely sealed.

If I choose to replace them, I would tend to want to put Dupont tuners back on and bring the guitar back to original specs. On the other hand, the Schaller tuners are more than $200 cheaper and have a good reputation.

Are Dupont tuners really that much better? Considering what may have been the life of the originals, would it be worth getting them again?

Chappie, if your still hanging around, can you fill me in on what happened to the original tuners? I am, by the playing and enjoying the hell out this guitar.

Here’s a pic of the current tuners.


  • BonesBones Moderator
    Hey Chief, what do you mean by Naptha? Mineral spirits?
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    I don’t know, but the video I saw just called it Naptha.
  • Naptha is a very light petromleum distillate. It works great to reduce alkyd (oil) based paints and is a decent thinner, cleaner as it wont damage most finishes with short duration contact.

    Gun wash will clean just about anything out of a hard to get to place but woe betide any poly or alkyd finish it comes in contact to.

    Polyepoxilene's will withstand it for a while. 2 part poly that is well hardened for short periods.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    The videos I saw took the tuners off the guitar before cleaning and regreasing. Therefore, contact with the finish of the guitar is not an issue.

    Part of my question deals with bringing a stuck or hard-to-turn tuner back on line. The other part is my wondering about how long these things last. I don’t remember having any trouble with tuners on my Strat or other guitars. I’ve only run not this problem with this style of guitar.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    One of the Miller (Rainer Mueller) tuners on my previous Rodrigo Shopis guitar began to stick badly. Rodrigo took it apart and found the lube had dried out. He relubed it - with Vaseline as I recall - and it was fine.

    BTW, I love the Miller tuners and consider them to be the best, better than the Duponts and better looking than the Schallers.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Hey Klaatu, you bring in some interesting points. But, before tell you what they are, I’ll tell you that I called Michael to ask him about what kind of tuners were originally on this guitar. He said most likely they were open three on a plate. I found that interesting in light of the fact that Dupont sells closed tuners, but this guitar probably did not come with them originally. They are available here and other places, but they cost quite a while. I was thinking about what I might replace my malfunctioning tuner with when I read your message. So. . .

    First, it looks like Chappie (still in the forum?) bought this guitar from Rodrigo; there’s a picture of it in his shop when he was considering it.

    Second, I think it was Rodrigo who put on the Rainer Millers because they are already on it as indicated by the old picture.

    Third, Chappie sold it to Mr. Rice in CA (also on our forum). I bought it from him in a sweet deal. It’s my number one axe, for sure. Just had the frets leveled and dressed. Perfect!

    Fourth, you bring up the idea of taking apart, cleaning, and regreasing. That’s what really got me asking the question here. Haven’t taken off the turners on the afflicted side, but I got the impression that they are riveted and sealed. Do you know any different? (Does anybody?) These are the older looking Rainer Millers tunes in antique brass.

  • You might be able to drill out the rivets, open the tuners to clean and lubricate, then when it's time to put back together, use screws instead of rivets.
    A friend has a guitar made by Mazaud, didn't like the look of the rivets and Mazaud used small screws instead. I can't imagine he did anything but as above.

    In case the casing still doesn't lift up once the rivets are out, then maybe drill small holes (1/16 or maybe 3/32?) from the shaft side next to it so can use a spray lubricant, Liquid Wrench type.

    For how much they are it's worth trying to save them.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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