Here we have a humble Westbrook banjo. Obviously,it's not the most expensive banjo around,but it plays and sounds pretty good. More importantly,the banjo owner likes it,but would like it a whole lot more if it would stay in tune! Read on to find out how we solved this problem...
The tuners on the headstock are about as cheap as you can get,but they're still working great,so there's no need to change them.
Here's our culprit. The 5th string tuning peg has started to misbehave. We'll replace it with a much better tuner.
The knob and bushing puller,available from Stewart MacDonald,also works for pulling out the old tuner.
Here's our sad little old tuning peg,next to the nice new tuner,made by Gotoh.As you can see,the part of the tuner going into the banjo is not only bigger,it's also tapered.
We'll use this special short reamer,available once again from the ubiquitous Stew-Mac.If you don't have this fancy reamer,with a bit of finesse and the right size drill bit,you can make it work,but why ask for trouble?
Once the peg hole is reamed to the correct size,we'll need a safe way to get the new tuner to go in straight.We'll remove the tuner button and washer,and use this piece of scrap wood with a hole drilled through it.
Over to the bench vice! The exposed shaft of the tuner goes into our scrap wood,allowing the pressure to be spread over the tuner,not on the shaft. With one side of the (padded!) jaws pressing on the neck and the other pressing the scrap wood,our tuner eases gently into the neck. If there's any doubt the new tuner will stay put,a couple drops (drops!) of Original TiteBond glue can help.
I like to angle the tuner back just a bit to help with the behind the nut string angle. Here's our boy,safe and sound.