Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
amezcua
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Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by amezcua » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:07 pm

I have a Tatay guitar with unoriginal tuners .The fit is not too good and they are quite worn after many years. What style of plates were around in Literato Azorin 13 when the originals were fitted .Around 1950 with Hot Hide Glue construction .Titebond arrived in 1955 but maybe not so early in Valencia .. There is a trace of the original pattern in the varnish .There are old screw holes showing past the ones fitted . The shafts don`t line up too well with the original holes. The measurements for screw positions and shaft holes seems to vary a lot with different brands . One aspect is gold plating and I used to think that was a fad but if you see old watches with gold plating they often look brand new without a trace of corrosion . Perspitation can mess up most metal surfaces .
So what should I be looking for with a genuine oldie ? The shaft spacing I think is numero uno . I won`t be too fussy about screw tops eg cross headed etc .

MessyTendon
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:48 pm

Do you have photos of the tuners? I have a later model Tatay guitar...and the tuners were just terrible. I swapped them with a set of OEM Cordoba guitar tuners and it worked.

It might be worth a gamble to try an inexpensive set of tuners from any on-line vendor. There are all sorts. I think the OEM cordoba tuners are very good in function.

OldPotter
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by OldPotter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:46 am

The measurements for screw positions and shaft holes seems to vary a lot with different brands .
Screw holes never seem to match, they generally have to be filled and redrilled. Roller spacing seems to be pretty exact at 35 mm. I'm not sure which drawings you have looked at? I have seen some drawings at stewmac which show a tiny and insignificant variation. I couldn't machine a piece of wood to that accuracy. Note that in the past there have been some machines made with longer spacing than 35mm. 39mm is mentioned on the forum here occasionally and once in a while other sizes are asked for. Its important to measure the hole spacing accurately.

Without knowing what tuners would have been fitted originally, perhaps the golden age tuners at stewmac would "look" about right. Seems to be a reasonable price and probably better made than the originals.
"When I was younger, I could remember almost everything, whether it happened or not." Mark Twain

amezcua
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by amezcua » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:46 am

I don`t have a camera for any photos . Having a closer look at these tuners the only sign of wear is in the centre of the gears where the brass gets pressed out a little.The plating at the ends is rubbed away a tiny bit . The rivets holding the worm gears on poke out at the back a fraction . I always thought that would be dead flat. Not that I ever really thought about it .
I have a sneaky feeling I have divided this topic and half of it I am posting somewhere else ..

OldPotter
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by OldPotter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:17 am

I think your most important point was the possible poor fit of the present tuners. Even if they could be cleaned and lubricated to work, the poor alignment of the roller holes is a concern.

If you are going to spend $60-200 on a new set of tuners it makes sense to spend $30 on a Vernier caliper first to make sure of the fit, unless you are absolutely sure of the dimensions. Even a cheaper one will be better than a ruler.

Yes I have read your other post, I was wondering if the moderators could amalgamate the two? Though some of the subject on the other post is not quite on the same topic. I think the OP has to ask for these sort of changes.
"When I was younger, I could remember almost everything, whether it happened or not." Mark Twain

amezcua
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by amezcua » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:24 pm

I do have a German made digital caliper but where to start measuring first ? The bone nut is well embedded so that gave a fixed line to measure from . Each plate position is slightly different. They are not exactly aligned to the top surface either . Each has it`s own tilt . I straightened the plates to remove a few kinks. All the original holes have been clumsily adjusted over many years .One hole has become a lopsided oval . Of course in at least 62 years this could be it`s third set of tuners going by the extra fixing holes. The original screw holes must be those with a neat round hole with no fibres stretched apart by screws .But there is still plenty of wood to keep the head intact. As I was looking for this topic I noticed another one asking whether Mahogany was an inferior wood. I think this neck is mahogany and I had an idea that cutting the neck in one piece might not be the best way . The top surface has an extra layer glued to it as usual , but would separate layers along the sides give more stability for the machines to fit against ? Maybe guitarists are not the best cabinet makers or carpenters in the world . That could be a decorative and also practical addition . One thing I noticed with the strings wound on the shafts was how the strings had worked their way into the extra space between shafts and the wooden head .
When I removed the bass side tuners the inner ends had grubby surfaces with no trace of any rotating contact with the wood .Support is only needed on the guitar body side so maybe a few thin strips of maple (which I have in the spares box ) could be inserted and glued while the tuners are in position . Rather like wooden feeler gauges . No pressure as they say just a series of thin strips which can be sanded to fit the space. Unlike a violin there are parrallel sided holes rather than tapered holes and they are angled against the opposite side. Violins have their peg holes filled and then re drilled .No such easy option for a guitar .

OldPotter
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by OldPotter » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:56 am

It looks as though measuring the hole spacing will not be possible, if the roller holes have been filed out. Still it may be possible to get a good guess at what the roller spacing should be. Similar edges of the holes should be at the same spacing as the centres
I can't think of a perfect solution, filling the roller holes in a similar way to a violin repair is the best solution I can think of, but its a very risky and difficult thing to get right. Perhaps best left to a luthier. I would be using a drilling jig and a machine (not tapered) reamer to enlarge the holes a tiny bit. Just enough to make them round. Then make some cross grain plugs on a lathe to fit exactly in the holes and then redrill using a jig. Every step is time consuming and a bit risky. Cross grain turning is not something I would do normally but have had to make some plugs recently and they came out well enough.
Gluing in some Maple strips might work, I have never tried it. I think if you made the holes undersize and used a drilling jig and reamer to make them align, that might work. If you can get a good fit of the maple into the ovalized holes.
Perhaps the roller holes in the headstock are just too large now or perhaps the rollers are on the small side. Normally rollers are a nominal 10mm, most are just under that and some are around 9.5mm. Rollers with bearings on the end are usually a precise 10mm. So if the holes in the centre of the headstock are 10mm exactly then tuners with bearings would be a simple way of sorting it out.
The bearings on the plates of the tuners should be enough to support the string tension, so perhaps its not necessary to make the holes on the outer part of the headstock fit perfectly. But then the string tension is transferred to the plate screws, and so they must hold well. Its usually suggested that screw holes are filled with toothpicks glued in. As long as the filler wood is a similar density to the headstock wood.
Its usually advised to reduce the number of string turns on the roller. It might help with tuning stability and stops numerous winds being caught up at the ends of the roller. When the string is tied on you pull as much through as is possible and then lock the string with one wrap around it. Some tie a knot and some push the string through the hole twice
Mahogany is thought to be one of the best woods for a neck. Provided that its quartersawn, usually nothing else needs to be done. If the grain is not at around 90 degrees to the top, then it could be laminated to improve stability. In the past some cheaper guitars were made with Mahogany backs and sides and this is what the other thread was referring to.
I'm still surprised that the tuners fitted were 33mm spacing, not something I have heard of.

edit; The only other thing I can think of is to use single tuners, can't remember where to get them, possibly Schertler???
"When I was younger, I could remember almost everything, whether it happened or not." Mark Twain

amezcua
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by amezcua » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:38 pm

When I first wrote I was not familiar with roller spacing and realise now that 35mm is the normal modern standard. Just by marking three 35mm spaced dots on the edge of an envelope and comparing the holes in the wood shows they were originally 32mm apart. The tuners I have are the right size for that but some bad alterations made it confusing. I may have given misleading details about the measurements previously . It would be madness to attempt to change to a 35mm spacing as that would involve cutting far too much wood out . The two latest sets of screwholes were made without using a 1.5mm pilot drill . I began sealing the largest cracks with Titebond .That was ok but on the other side I used Superglue into the screwholes and you could see it soaked well into the fibres. Any traces of the cracks were superglued also on the inner surfaces. Using the 1.5mm drill to restart the holes was very effective.The screws are held very securely now.
I used some thin offcuts of maple .Thick enough to close the roller to wood gaps. I started with a strip 1/4inch wide .Cut 3 pieces long enough for the inner rollers. Then split them into matchstick widths .I dipped one side in Titebond and slid it in between the roller and the side of the hole. About 4 or 5 pieces closed up the worst gaps. I held them with bent nose pliers .So they were arranged side by side parrallel to the roller only on the guitar side. It`s just to take any pressure from the strings. I used the Titebond on it`s own for thinner gaps just to see how it worked. That was a bit messy but I gave it time to dry and cleaned all the excess off the rollers. I was able to remove the tuner sets after that and it all feels secure .There is a tightness on the top e string caused by a stray brass gear that is different to the others. I will try some careful filing to relieve the pressure between worm and gear. My first impression of these tuners was that they were worn but after cleaning they seem good for a while now .
There are separate tuners on GAK that are £22.99 .There you see . I don`t know if that`s cheap or what . I e mailed them to see if they have left and right types .Identical singles are no good .Peg above worm gear is my new rule .Something I never thought about before . Nice that I caught those covered up cracks before they got away . Superglue is my best friend for that job .
Were rollers spaced out differently in Spain ?

OldPotter
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by OldPotter » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:59 am

You deserve a Bravo at least for carrying out a fiddly and awkward repair. :bravo:

I looked at the GAK tuners, they look fairly low cost, the plates are just folded, it doesn't give great support for the worm shaft but better than nothing. Schertler tuners are available from Stewmac (USA) and are very nicely engineered, they just look a bit like office furniture. I suspect that even cheap tuners are available in left and right versions. £25 is cheap for a set of tuners.

Roller spacing doesn't seem to have been standard in the early days of mechanical tuners. 35mm is the modern standard with at least one manufacturer making a 39mm set. I think it was Landsdorfer (taken over by Reischl) who made a 36 or 37mm set, just can't remember now. I had not heard of a 32 mm set, it doesn't leave much room to turn the buttons. If you wanted a special set made then perhaps Rubner would give you a price? They mass produce tuners in Germany and seem to make good quality tuners at a reasonable price and I am told that they will make special sets. There are specialist makers who will make whatever you need but the price is high (several hundred pounds) and there is usually a waiting list. ( Rodgers, Graf, Scheller, Allessi etc.)
"When I was younger, I could remember almost everything, whether it happened or not." Mark Twain

amezcua
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by amezcua » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:17 pm

Thanks Old Potter . I found the same single tuners on Strings Direct . I can`t remember the precise wording I used when I found them first. They should have been in my Bookmarks but went off somewhere . So I filled in an enquiry to Strings Direct to make sure they were for left and right sides . They confirmed that after some confusion next day .When I logged onto Strings Direct I entered GT412 Tuners ----"No Results for GT412 Tuners" Try Tuning Machines ---No Results etc etc
But if I remove the word ---Tuners ---and write----- GT412 ------there is the picture . I wrote to the firm and told them it is not good for a customer or them to make a search so difficult . Economical , short , clever (?) , but difficult .
But Strings Direct sell them cheaper than GAK.
But folded worm gear supports equals no rivets . Swings and roundabouts. Tuning with fingers crossed then .

amezcua
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by amezcua » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:29 pm

I received the packet of single tuners from Strings Direct. 2 days is quick . Thinking about the difference between a folded metal support for the worm gear and riveted supports ; The old riveted supports looks more secure but on the ones fitted there are metal bumps sticking out the back which press into the wood or make the plates stand off the surface . In fact both those things happen .The screws are not in the same place as the rivets so these old brass plates have been distorted by the fixing screws. That leads to the rollers pointing different ways and maybe generating some friction or stresses . The new single plate tuners can sit flat against the wood and the plate holes are longer ( not circular) to allow for any innacurate drilling . The contact between roller and wood "at the centre" can be arranged for each string . Maybe expensive 3x3 tuners still need very accurate roller holes to match that . They may also ensure no rivets poking out to ensure flat plates. All good detailed stuff to ponder on .
With 3 separate tuners each side there are 6 holes each side to fix. Woe betide any careless fitting without a 1.5mm pilot hole for each tuner. 1.5mm drill bits are the smallest size carried by Halfords. About £2.30p for two in a packet. The diagonally angled holes will be nearer the edges so that job needs your best efforts . This Tatay neck and head is cut in one piece and does not have a glued on head so the grain direction is slanted on the head .

OldPotter
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by OldPotter » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:31 pm

The old riveted supports looks more secure but on the ones fitted there are metal bumps sticking out the back which press into the wood or make the plates stand off the surface .
I wondered if that would be the case, almost all of the more modern ones that I have are virtually flat at the back.
Maybe expensive 3x3 tuners still need very accurate roller holes to match that
I am told that most luthiers will use a drill jig to get good enough accuracy. Some new tuners have a cast plate and some are CNC machined, things that would not have been thought of years ago.

I have used a self centreing drill bit when drilling pilot holes for tuners, its just a bit of brass with a conical end that sits in the tuner hole. The centre is drilled with a 1.5mm hole. Just turned up in the lathe. It just helps to start the drill in line. Some will use a bradawl to mark the start and some won't pilot drill at all. It becomes a bit more tricky if there is not much space.

My first good guitar came with folded tuners ( late 60's) and I didn't change them for 30 years. (I didn't play the guitar for 20 years...) At that time I hade no idea that you could change tuners and had not heard of different brands. They still worked when I took them off but were becoming a little sloppy.
"When I was younger, I could remember almost everything, whether it happened or not." Mark Twain

amezcua
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by amezcua » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:48 pm

Sloppy tuners is the way a healthy tuner gets old . That comes from the brass gears wearing a groove caused by the harder worm gear metal . I must look up e - b a y and see if replacement gears is possible .
The expensive Graf tuners site mentions the stages of tuner design and they show the not so recent models which had rivets poking out the back . The latest ones are properly flat now . The description of tiny improvements costing loads seems a bit off with Graf tuners. They have engineered all the friction out of the mechanism with bronze gears and thicker shafts to spread the load .Pressed in metal parts instead of screwed in feels a tiny bit scary .But it looks very professional . I can`t recall if they used a fish scale decoration on the surface. I still can`t make a connection between fish and guitars . It seems an odd combination .
On the 50s Tatay the replacement tuners had rivets . When I took them completely apart I found some nasty bits of filing on the brass shafts . All the gears were cream crackered with a few alternative parts that were forced to fit one way or the other .A plastic sleeve got itself twisted round 180 degrees so the hole was blocked. The shaft hole was off centre and the replacement sleeve was too long so the end was filed but still left a bit poking out to do some damage. A straight comparison with the other rollers should have been obvious . He can stay away from my motorcycles .
A good word for the old worm gears. On their own after a hard life they were still turning smoothly and showed no wear at all .
Grafs did not throw us a crumb about lubrication. Is it possible they will run with no extra squirts or blobs? So for penny pinching players you can get 15 or 20 sets of tuners instead of perfectly engineered ones. Of course the gears are still open to the wind and weather. They must have gone for the traditional look . No harm in that .
About staying in tune . Are all guitarists aware that the violin rule applies to guitars also? "Always tune Up to the note and not down ". Lubricate the nut grooves with a soft lead pencil . There was a violin teacher on one forum who did not know why a pencil should be used on the nut .

OldPotter
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Re: Tatay tuning machines 1950s.

Post by OldPotter » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:59 am

Are all guitarists aware that the violin rule applies to guitars also? "Always tune Up to the note and not down
This is widely known, but as with many things in the weird world of guitar, there are many myths and legends to confuse the less sceptical. My teacher has a guitar with Rodgers tuners, which he tells me can be successfully tuned down. They are about half the price of one of my guitars. The rest of us just have to suffer the extra 5 seconds of tuning up.

Oddly when I do have to tune down to a "dropped D" tuning I find that the tuning will tend to creep up. I think this is due to the residual tension of the string on the roller gradually working its way on to the working length of string. Others are convinced that the string has a "memory" and is trying to restore the original tuning. My strings just don't seem to remember to stay in tune.
"When I was younger, I could remember almost everything, whether it happened or not." Mark Twain

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