Schaller's New Vintage-Style Open Back Tuners
These new tuners are an alternative to the more expensive Waverly™ vintage-style open back tuners. Thanks to Tony Rairden at FQMS for the sample set.
After inspecting the tuners here are my observations:
- Their footprint is identical to Waverlies.
- The shaft has a bit of play in it when it is not loaded with string tension. The play seems to be just a bit more than standard Schaller M6 Minis. The bushing will most likely eliminate a lot of this play once the tuners are installed.
- Unlike Waverlies, the gear is nickel plated. Schaller did this to prevent the corrosion that can take place when two dissimilar metals are in contact.
- The action is smooth - feels very much like the M6 Minis.
- There is a bit of casting flash on the ends of the buttons.
The tuners are well built and seem to be as sturdy as the Waverlies. The shaft is not tapered as are the Waverlies. These tuners come with bushings to accomodate the 10mm (~3/8") holes that are standard for mounting the M6 and other tuners requiring that size hole. The screws are Phillips head as opposed to the slotted screws that come with Waverlies. These tuners have a 12:1 gear ratio like the M6.
My only complaint is the casting flash that is on the edge of the buttons. If Schaller were to grind this area smooth before plating, there would be almost no difference in appearance between these and their more expensive counterparts. The flash is not a big deal and it is something that would probably get overlooked anyway by most people.
This set is nickel plated. I don't know if they are offered in gold, but I would imagine so. Nor do I know if they are offered with engraving.
Guitar makers can now retain the vintage look and offer these as a reasonable alternative to Waveriles in order to shave a little off the cost of a new guitar.
Will I use them? You bet. They are a great way to get that vintage look and feel while saving a bunch of money at the same time. And in the future as finances allow, they can be easily replaced with Waverlies if I so desire. As a retro-fit for guitars that have this style of tuner they are an excellent alternative and very cost effective. I would think that the cost of these tuners would fall in line with other offerings from Schaller - somewhere in the $30-$40 dollar range for the nickel plated set. They are available at First Quality Musical Supplies.