Traditional tuners could help your guitar maintain its tune; however, their capabilities are kind of limited. Routine wear and tear could cause your guitar to fall out of tune. And then there are fluctuating weather conditions to deal with too.
Quick Links To Our Best Locking Tuners Choices
Here is my list of locking tuners set choices from some of the best brand names in guitar. Keep your strings in tune and all are super easy and good job for guitarists to install on their guitar’s headstock:
- Grover Tuners 102-18C Rotomatic
- Hipshot Tuners 6GLO Grip-Lock
- Guyker Tuners 6Pcs Guitar Locking Tuners
- Schaller Locking Guitar Machine Heads
- Grover 502C Roto Grip
- Grover 406C
- Gotoh SD90
In this article on the best locking tuners, we’ll talk about them in some detail – throwing light on their advantages, how they fare against standard tuners, and whether you could use them to actually change the tuning. Besides, we’ll share with you some of our tuning pegs recommendations too for your guitars regardless of your headstock design.
- 1 Quick Links To Our Best Locking Tuners Choices
- 2 Our Inline Locking Tuners Recommendations:
- 3 Our 3+3 Locking Tuners Recommendations:
- 4 What are Locking Tuning Machines for Guitar?
- 5 Are Locking Tuners Better?
- 6 Can You Change Tuning with Locking Tuners?
- 7 Easy Installation Of Lock Tuners
- 8 Changing String Sets With These Locking Tuner Options
- 9 Our Top Locking Tuners Conclusion
Our Inline Locking Tuners Recommendations:
Sperzel 6 In-Line Best Locking Tuners
This top brand has been making some of the top rated and high-quality guitar peripherals since 1977. The company is known for offering different kinds of machine heads – custom-designed products being the major focus. The company often supplies tuners to great reputed guitar firms. Therefore, quality is never a concern with this brand.
Sperzel locking 6 for inline 6 headstock pattern guitars have a staggered height, which means you will not require any string retainers. Across the strings, the response is relatively open and sensitive, and the tune truly remains intact, even when under heavy loads. These tuners are known for opening up guitar tone, which also makes them quite a popular choice. The tone-killing locking nuts of these locking tuners help eliminate tuning issues.
With these tuners, you can change strings on any guitar within seconds. You just have to put the string in via the locking tuners eye, pull on the string, tighten the tuner’s locking mechanism, and tune to pitch. The locking setup locks the string down quickly ensuring a stable, non-slipping string winding.
- Easy to use and easy to install these locking tuners.
- Holds the tune just right, for long time.
- Guitar tone openness sees a major improvement.
- Comfortable size.
- High quality.
- Removable pins could cause frustration at times.
- Require some extra drilling for the proper fit.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Sperzel 6 In-Line
Planet Waves Auto-Trim Tuning Machines
Planet Waves makes some of the most value-for-money guitar products. Despite being priced fairly cheap, their offerings do not skimp on quality. They’ve been under the aegis of D’Addario for years – the company that specializes in strings and accessories like these and is also known as one of the biggest musical instrument brands globally.
If you are even remotely familiar with their products, you are sure to like these. The locking tuners black come equipped with some fairly innovative features that you would most likely not come across from other brands. Visually, these locking tuning machines leave little to desire. But they do come with a clamping method feature that automatically cuts the extra string once the guitar is properly tuned.
Also, these auto-trim set of locking tuners’ 18:1 tuning ratio ensure you benefit from the maximum precision while tuning. The tuners are built well – the lifetime warranty on them totally gives that away. Therefore, durability and longevity shouldn’t be a concern. If tremolos hold a special place in your heart, you would absolutely be enamored by these best locking tuning machines.
- Simple and innovative design and easy to install.
- Best, made to last and high quality.
- Extremely precise tuners.
- Warranty for life.
- Not the most beautiful looking thing.
- Auto trim feature sometimes cannot cut through higher gauged strings.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Planet Waves Auto-Trim Tuning Machines
Fender Locking Tuners Chrome
Fender is an iconic brand in the guitar world. The company has been doing the rounds since 1946. Locking tuners are standard features on the company’s American Deluxe line of guitars. These tuners work with non Fender Stratocaster or Fender Telecaster guitars too. With their locking tuners, you could be absolutely certain of a solid upgrade over your traditional tuner set. These have been staggered for increasing tuning stability and break angle.
The Fender tuners chrome are made for guitars that have an inline six headstock configuration. Therefore, installing them on guitars should be pretty straightforward. The set of tuners feel and look well-built. They should, thus, provide you optimal in-tune performance for countless years. Despite the chrome finish, these best tuners go well with pretty much all guitars.
These tuners come in a set of six and fit most Telecaster and Stratocaster electric guitars. The package comprises removable locking tuner caps, bushings, and mounting guitar hardware. 18 1 gear ratio tuners. This is an excellent best locking tuner option.
- Fender tradition and heritage.
- Beautifully designed.
- Made to last.
- This set of tuners offer enhanced tuning lock ability.
- Chrome finish tuners may not be to everyone’s liking.
- These top rated tuners will not fit string instruments from the American Vintage series.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Fender Tuners
Our 3+3 Locking Tuners Recommendations:
Grover Tuners 102-18C Rotomatic
The Grover 102-18C, with their enhanced higher 18 1 gear ratio gearing, offer increased stability and finer tuning. The finer gears offer smoother tuning and an increased level of backlash elimination. The Grover 102-18C is a newer version, which employs the same housing that its predecessor used. The changes have only been in the gearing. In the box, you’ll get washers, wood screws, and bushings along with the tuners. This 3×3 format is designed for three per side headstocks. Not to mention, the locking tuners are strong and durable, and the nickel finish looks premium.
Rotomatic tuners have been popular since the 1960s. Quality is, therefore, never suspect with their offerings. These tuners feature big removable metal knobs – the tension is adjustable. Also, they feature lifetime sealed lubrication and cast gear housings. To set these locking tuners in place, you would need 10mm diameter peg holes. To ensure the installation process is smooth, lubricate screw threads with some cutting lubricant so that threading is proper and friction is reduced.
- Self-lubricating and fully enclosed.
- Improved ratio gearing.
- Increased stability and finer tuning.
- These tuners are built well.
- The installation process could be slightly tricky.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Grover 102-18C Rotomatic
Hipshot Tuners 6GLO Grip-Lock
Hipshot 6GLO Grip-Lock guitar locking tuners do a solid job of holding your guitar strings tight for accurate, positive tuning. This set of six covers for your instrument’s treble and bass strings boasts some ultra-smooth action. The design is pretty sleek, and the build is on point too. With these, you would be able to bring down the total time needed to restring your guitar and offer it proper stability.
These come with massive gearing and tightening the thumbwheels is quite easy too. These look solid and have a lot more substance to them. Thanks to the build quality, you are very unlikely to require another set of these – unless you lose or misplace the existing set. Not to mention, the tuners screw holes have been purpose-designed to fit vintage style screw holes. As a result, you are spared the sight of multiple screw holes in the rear of your guitars headstock.
- Great tuning stability to help you stay in tune longer.
- Locking works like a charm.
- Ultra-smooth action tuners.
- Sleek design.
- Solid build quality.
- Simple installation process.
- Quality of the washers could have been better.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Hipshot 6GLO Grip-Lock
Guyker Tuners 6Pcs Guitar Locking Tuners
This six-piece set is a 1:19 replacement key pegs tuners for acoustic or electric guitars. These pegs make sure you are able to strum your guitar accurately and with loads of flexibility. These Gukyer locking tuners are generic size, which means they should not have any problem fitting your Stratocaster, PRS, Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul kind acoustic or quality electric guitars. They feature heavy-duty internal gear and sealed machine heads. They could be turned smoothly, which enables accurate tuning.
The 1:19 gear ratio of these locking tuning machines have been designed to conform to contemporary 10mm headstock holes. These, as a result, could be your ideal upgrade or replacement parts for your precision instruments. They look smooth and shiny; and are anti-corrosive, wear-resistant, and dustproof. All of these add to the accurate and quick tuning. Besides the three combinations (6R, 3R3L, and 6L), these locking tuners come in four different colors: black, smoke gray, chrome, and golden. Color-matching these to your specific guitar should, therefore, not be an issue. The package comprises six ferrules, six mount screws, six threaded bushing, and six themselves.
- Offers greater stability and finer tuning from these lock tuners.
- Smooth turning lock provided mechanism.
- Designed to provide durable and solid design.
- Is available in three different combinations.
- Solid value for the price.
- A tuner or two could be stiff comparatively.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Guyker 6Pcs
Schaller Locking Guitar Machine Heads
Schaller Locking Guitar Machine Heads are probably the top rated in the world. No guitar key would compete with this product, and it is common on higher-end guitars. This explains its quality. They have an 18:1 gear ratio to make replacing strings easy.
The locking tuners lock the string in the peg by making use of a knurled nut. The mechanism hence functions to keep the string unwound around the peg. Installing it is relatively easy. You only need to insert its end through the hole and locked with a screw.
Locking guitar Schaller machine heads speak for themselves. They hold the tune perfectly under all conditions. They also feel and look well made. Further, they are easy to operate and set up. It is no surprise then that this product is this popular. These tuners are worth a try if you are looking for an upgrade.
- Easy to use
- Easy to install
- Beautiful design
- Price for some people might be a downside
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Schaller Locking Guitar Machine Heads
Grover 502C Roto Grip
The Grover name is widely recognized in the music industry. Even the most experienced guitarists check for this name on the tuners before buying their instruments. This is how big this brand is. Grover 502C Roto Grip is expectedly a relished best locking tuner amongst many players. These locking tuners requires a one-time wrap of the string, alternatively locked in place with a thumbscrew. Its style is meant to make installing easy.
The advantage of Grover 502C Roto Grip is it has an excellent tuning ratio. For the aesthetic value, you can get the chrome finish or a traditional look according to your taste. Further, its chrome, gold, black options will spoil you of choice.
You should consider this model if you own a Les Paul guitar. These great locking tuners can be an excellent replacement for your Epiphone.
- Nice appearance
- Secure tuning
- Crisp, clean sound
- A little difficult to get the strings in place if you are new to this type of tuning knob.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Grover 502C Roto Grip
Grover is a renowned company, producing the fines stringed instruments. It uses the quality manufacturing methods to guarantee the quality of their products. It’s no wonder then that Grover 406C leaves up to its name. Grover 406C is a mini locking guitar tuning component with a ratio of 18:1. They give you the advantage of standard Rotomatics with an added advantage of Grover’s internal cam post.
Grover 406C has the same engineering design as the original Rotomatics but with smaller buttons for 6 in line guitars and those with a preference for smaller space for their fingers. Installing this component is easy. Insert your string through the string hole, then pull the tension by hand, and that is it.
These tuners are the perfect choice for your guitar to hold its tuning perfectly. They are the perfect upgrade and look great on your guitar.
- Prevents slippage and breaking of string.
- Leaves strings well tensioned with no slack in the locking nut.
- “High” price point.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Grover 406C
Gotoh SD90 locking tuners are a Kluson tuners / Gibson style design. They have a vintage look with Gotoh’s discreet locking functionality, with a 15:1 ratio and 6mm diameter string post. Also, they include press-fit bushings and fixing screws as well as a vintage keystone button. Further, they have magnum lock functionality and a nickel finish and require an 8.8mm hole.
The advantage of Gotoh SD90 is they are smooth when tuning and have excellent stability even though significant bends. They are the perfect replacement and require no drilling. However, if you have 9.5mm-10.5mm diameter tuner holes, you might need adaptor bushings to correctly fit your headstock.
Gotoh SD90 tuners make re-stringing your guitar much easier. The vintage-spec and style tuning machines are the perfect replacement for your guitar. It is important to note that these tuners have designated string hole sizes per tuner, hence only suitable for right-hand use.
- Very accurate tuners
- Quick and easy installation.
- The look of the buttons on the locking tuner can be a little off putting to some people. They are in a different position then what may have been used before.
- The gears may need to be readjusted if it’s not installed perfectly but this is an easy process that just requires a screwdriver.
Our Rating –
Check For The Current Price On The Gotoh SD90
What are Locking Tuning Machines for Guitar?
A locking machine head basically helps prevent guitar strings from loosening. These quality tuners employ a retaining or pin mechanism to ensure the string is locked in place. They can be adjusted by loosening or tightening a knob on the rear of the headstock. It has a clasp or clamp that surfaces upon tightening the button screw. This helps the string remain put or not slip away. If not anything else, it would at least ensure your guitar strings stay slightly more in tune. It may add minor heft to your guitar but that’s a very small price with these locking tuners you pay for better tuning stability and made from quality materials.
Are Locking Tuners Better?
There is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of locking guitar tuners over standard guitar tuners. String slippage is the best reason why they are a thing. A conventional guitar tuner that has a guitar string correctly wound around it and proper wrap positioning on the tuning peg should not face any string slippage problems. However, such a circumstance is not always the case.
Most guitarists invariably encounter poor tuning stability woes. Strings not in tune doesn’t necessarily mean the tuners are at fault. It’s imperative to ascertain the real reason(s) behind the bad tuning. However, these options for best locking tuners would certainly help fix an element or two that could have thrown the guitar strings off.
Can You Change Tuning with Locking Tuners?
As mentioned before, it isn’t the only thing helping a guitar keep its tune. Other major factors at play include temperature, instrument positioning, how forceful your playing style is, and the kind of strings you use. The locking tuners (such as one I haven’t mentioned yet – Schaller M6 or Kluson) or also known as a machine-head are also not going to help your guitars sound great or in tune at all times. There would be occasions when the guitar loses tune despite being equipped with one of these. However, unlike traditional non locking tuners, this gives you more control over how the strings enter tuner hole, get pulled, and lock. Not to mention, they also help save time locking strings in place.
Easy Installation Of Lock Tuners
Most of these are quite easy to install with no drill holes needed. The entire process is to just place it in the headstock’s hole and put the collar over it and tighten the thumb screw. No guitar shop needed.
Changing String Sets With These Locking Tuner Options
One of the main things that I love about these is that it is so much faster and easier to change strings. As simple as just threading the string through the peg’s hole, locking it and tuning it up. Cut off the excess string length and done! String changes are way faster than a traditional tuner with less tuning problems!
Looking for the best guitar tuner for your string instrument? Look here.
Our Top Locking Tuners Conclusion
You are not going wrong with any of the good guitar products aforementioned. Your purchase decision would most likely be based on how these good options look on your guitars, their ease of installation, and performance in general. Also, they are not pricey when buying locking tuners.
However, if you plan to install one on your guitar, price can still be a factor in helping you choose the right option. Regardless, even the most budget-friendly guitar tuners would be an upgrade over the stock tuners your instrument comes with. Needless to say, the more you pay for a good best locking tuner, the better the lock quality would be.