Regardless of how skilled you are or how awesome your guitar tone is, it’s all for nothing if you can’t play in tune!
Here are some of the best locking tuners you can upgrade your existing guitar with.
Overview (Machine Heads & Locking Tuner)
Have you ever played a show wherein your strings went consistently out of tune?
If you have, then you are already well aware of how frustrating it can be. Although, staying in tune can sometimes be overlooked. After all, machine heads (or tuners) are not always the priority when learning or investing in your instrument.
Many of us get too caught up with effects pedals, amps, or even other guitar upgrades. There are pickups, bridge, and other electronics that we first consider.
But most players agree that tuning stability is crucial, especially if you’re a gigging musician. There’s always the concern of constant traveling, and loading your musical gear from one place or vehicle to the other.
That being said, it’s crucial to have a decent set of tuners. But what makes them decent? Is it okay to rely on the stock tuners on your favorite guitar?
When is it safe to look for aftermarket locking tuners? Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place.
So forget about your distortions and Seymour Duncan JB pickups, for in this feature, we are going to tackle something so tiny yet some players deem vital to their guitar playing experience.
We are talking about – yep, you guessed it right – locking tuners.
What are locking tuners?
To put it simply, locking tuners rely on a clamping mechanism to ensure that your strings are locked into their rightful place and prevent them from coming loose.
They also allow you to change your strings faster, and it is because of this exact convenience that more and more players are deciding to look into these babies. With everything that’s been said, you may already be thinking to yourself that it’s about time you got yourself a set of your own.
But of course, if you’re only starting out, how will you know which one to buy, right?
Let me help you out!
A lot of experts will say that you should always consider the brand, and I agree with them.
Some manufacturers have been around the guitar business for so long that they are accustomed to the field well enough to know the preferences of musicians.
Another thing you should consider is your budget, as always. There are quality locking tuners with a fair price range, and of course, if you’re not an expert in assembling the tuners yourself, then you should opt for a luthier at your trusted store.
Lastly, go for locking tuners that are compatible with your guitar. There are certain locking tuners that go well with Les Pauls, Stratocasters, Telecasters, among others. Make sure what you get suits your weapon of choice well.
With all that out of the way, let’s get right into our roundup of the best locking tuners!
Fender Locking Tuners
I was personally not surprised to see this set come at number 1 on our list. A lot of users found it reliable and of good quality, and I thought the same.
Locking Tuners from Fender provide a high ratio of 18:1 – meaning they are renowned for offering precise tuning. A lot of users mentioned that the set is used for some of the top-of-the-line Fender guitars out there today. You can also choose a finish that you prefer to go along with your guitar!
It’s also easy to install and comes with a variety of compatibility – depending on which guitar type you are wielding.
Grover 406C Rotomatic
The next selection is from a company that has been renowned for its locking tuners, and this particular set has no exception in living up to the expectations of guitar players.
The 406C Rotomatic is known to feature Grover’s signature gear, which allows players to accurately lock and move their strings firmly into place.
A lot of users found the extra tools useful to assemble these tuners to their guitars. To top it all off, it comes in a Chrome finish with enclosed mechanisms.
Schaller Locking Tuners
At number 3 we have another manufacturer that many players go to for their tuning needs.
The Locking Tuners from Schaller can be regarded as one for high-end musicians, which is evident in its premium look and feel.
A lot of users loved the fact that it can be installed with pretty much any headstock configuration. It also sports a unique way of making your guitar stay in tune, thanks to its utilization of a knurled nut – a mechanism that works as a separate feature compared to common locking tuners.
Another manufacturer associated with high-quality products makes it next in our roundup.
Trim-Lok from Sperzel incorporates a fine balance of quality and performance in this selection.
Interesting trivia: Sperzel was also the first to introduce locking tuners to the market! The Trim-Lok offers different tuners for compatibility among various headstock and guitar types. A lot of users liked the fact that this set endures even the harshest playing styles.
They are also relatively easy to install, but can be a bit pricey.
Wrapping up our list is the Hipshot Grip-Lock. This variant offers a chrome finish, and works by releasing the string tension and unscrewing the feature at the back of the tuner.
It’s one of the most popular aftermarket locking tuners. A lot of users find it easy to install, but can be quite difficult to incorporate into certain types of guitars.
Whoever thought something so little could mean huge differences to your playing experience, right? But regardless of your skillset or playing style, there’s always a right set of locking tuners for you.
Confidently play your music while staying in tune with some of the best locking tuners out there today.