What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing Locking Tuners for My Guitar? - Stereo Stickman

What Factors Should I Consider When Choosing Locking Tuners for My Guitar?


For a guitarist, nothing is more frustrating than a guitar that won’t stay in tune. Whether you’re playing live or practicing at home, tuning stability is important for a good playing experience. One popular solution to this age-old problem is the use of tuner locks’. These tuners can make a huge difference in maintaining your guitar’s tuning stability. Make sense? 

Well, we’ll outline the key factors to consider when choosing locking tuners for your guitar to make things easier for you.

The Types of Tuner Locks

Let’s break down what tuner locks are and how they stand apart from regular tuners before getting into the factors. 

Tuner locks have a built-in mechanism that secures the string once it’s tuned, preventing it from slipping out of tune easily. 

This lock-in feature means your guitar stays in tune longer, keeping your jams uninterrupted.

Now, there’s a bunch of tuner lock brands out there, each bringing something unique to the table. 

You’ve got brands like Schaller, Grover, and Hipshot, all offering different designs and perks. 

Some might focus on easy tuning, while others could emphasize on durability or style. So, depending on your vibe and what you’re looking to get out of your guitar, you can pick the tuner locks that fit your needs best. 

It’s all about finding what clicks with you and your guitar-playing style.

Factors You Should Consider

When getting into the concept of locking tuners, making the right choice can change your whole guitar-playing experience.

With various options on the market, picking the perfect set can be a game-changer, enhancing your tuning stability and overall performance. So, let’s explore the key factors to consider when selecting your ideal locking tuners.

  1. Gear Ratio: The gear ratio is, in simple words, the number of turns the tuner knob makes with the amount of string wound around the post. A higher gear ratio provides more precise tuning adjustments and better tuning stability. 

Pro Tip: For heavier string gauges, a higher gear ratio might be more suitable to ensure accurate tuning.

  1. String Gauge: The thickness of your guitar strings can also impact your tuner selection. Heavier strings exert more tension on the tuners which ends up in requiring a higher gear ratio for better stability.
  2. Headstock Compatibility: Selecting tuners that match your guitar’s headstock drilling pattern is crucial. Ensuring compatibility not only simplifies the installation process, but also prevents potential issues down the line. 

Pro Tip: A perfect fit guarantees smooth tuning and a seamless look, enhancing both the functionality and appearance of your instrument.

  1. Locking Mechanism: There are different locking mechanisms available, such as screw-down and clamp-down. Each has its pros and cons, so consider which one suits your preference and playing style.
  2. Material and Finish: Tuners come in various materials, including metal and plastic, each having a different level of durability and aesthetics. Choose a material and finish that matches with your guitar’s overall look and durability requirements.
  3. Brand and Reputation: Choosing tuners from reputable brands is essential for ensuring quality and reliability. Established brands with a solid reputation in the industry often prioritize craftsmanship and performance, offering products that stand the test of time. 

NOTE: Investing in well-known brands can provide peace of mind, knowing you’re getting reliable and high-quality tuners for your guitar.

  1. Budget: Locking tuners have different prices. While it’s tempting to go for the cheaper options, it is important to maintain a balance between features and affordability to make sure that you get a reliable product.

Additional Considerations

During the installation process, you might require additional hardware like bushings to fit the tuners correctly. We recommend that you have all the necessary components before starting the installation.

Also, consider the aesthetic impact of different tuner styles on your guitar’s overall appearance. Choose a design that complements your guitar’s look and enhances its visual appeal. 

None of us wants our guitar to sound good but end up looking tacky, that just ruins the whole point of owning a guitar. Most of us have it to look classy anyway, isn’t it?

Benefits of Using Locking Tuners

Setting aside other considerations, using tuner locks offers numerous advantages. These locks enhance tuning stability, reduce string slippage, and extend the lifespan of your strings. 

Additionally, they streamline the tuning process, making it quicker and more efficient. Overall, tuner locks contribute to a more enjoyable and hassle-free guitar-playing experience. Let’s be a bit more detailed and discuss it point by point.

  1. Improved tuning stability: Tuner locks help maintain your guitar’s tuning for longer periods. This is especially important for the guitarists who are always up for gigs or live performances. 
  2. Easier and faster string changes: The locking mechanism allows for quick and hassle-free string changes, making it easier for you during or before performances. In case you’ve run into a complexity, it will simplify things for you.
  3. Reduced string slippage: Tuner locks prevent the strings from slipping, ensuring better tuning stability. This factor is going to help you a lot on all those gig nights and it will be a game changer.
  4. Potentially better overall tone: Increased string tension from tuner locks can result in a richer and more resonant tone. If you’re one of those players who always want a crisp and clean sound, this should be your cue to get yourself a pair of these tuners.


Selecting the right locking tuners can significantly enhance your guitar’s tuning stability and overall performance. When making your choice, it’s essential to consider factors such as gear ratio, string gauge, headstock compatibility, and the type of locking mechanism. 

These elements play a crucial role in determining how well the tuners will perform and how they will fit with your guitar.

Additionally, opting for reputable brands within your budget ensures quality and reliability. Professional installation, if required, can further guarantee optimal performance.

Ultimately, finding the perfect tuner locks for your guitar means prioritizing your specific needs and preferences, leading to a more satisfying and enjoyable playing experience.

Photos by Dylan Spangler & JJ Whitney.

Stereo Stickman


Stereo Stickman is an online music magazine offering the latest in underground music news, as well as a platform through which unsigned artists can reach a wider audience.

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