The Complete Telecaster
|Tuners (1999/10/07 updated)
In 1950s, Kluson had the biggest share on guitar parts market. Since almost all guitar makers were using Kluson's tuner in those days, they just varied peg's shape to get unique look. The bad thing was, Kluson tuner had a backlash even when it was new. This is because Kluson used brass for the worm gear.(*3)
(FYI : in 1967, Fender switched to Schaller's tuner)
When Grover released Rotomatic, the first high quality tuner, many guitar makers went for it. Years later, the Rotomatic was copied and improved by Schaller, Gotoh, Sperzels, etc.
The current Kluson type tuner (*1) uses steel worm gear (*2) and offers 14- or 15-to-1 gear ratio for precise tune. (old Kluson was 12-to-1)
(*1) You can't buy original Kluson tuner anymore. They were out of business in the '70s.
The tradename Kluson is now owned by WD Music Products. As the original Kluson's
legal right expired, they bought the name and began to produce the tuners with origninal
tools and specifications. Only difference is that they are now making higher quality tuners.
(*2) Even if the worm looks gold, it is just a brass crown.
(*3) Steve Lamb addressed the backlash issue more precisely.
I believe the backlash issue is related to the profile of the intersecting teeth of the gears, and also to slop in
the bushings or bearings, whereas the brass vs. steel issue is more related to wear. (Obviously any tuner, when
seriously worn, will have backlash).
In the beginning of 70's, Fender bought faulty NC-Router. This first generation NC router had some problems on its cutter and programs. This is the reason why most 70's telecaster had "wrong" body shape
at the left shoulder.
(personally, i don't care if it sounds good. but many vintage collectors consider this as ugly guitar)