The 4 Best Locking Tuners – Reviews 2021

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Photo by Nenad Stojkovic / CC BY

A locking tuner might be the fix you need if your guitar is slipping out of tune every time you pick it up. Maybe your strings have gotten old and rusty so they don’t reverberate as well as they used to. Maybe your action was set too low so the strings react differently to your attack. Or maybe the tuning mechanism of your guitar needs an upgrade. We’re here to discuss the last possibility.

Nowadays, there is hundreds of tuning system models, but so far locking tuners have proved to be superior in a variety of fields. They offer consistency and provide you with the ability to re-string your guitar in a much simpler fashion. However, the main reason why guitarists opt for locking tuners is the fact that they are actually able to counter the de-tuning process that occurs while using the tremolo (Whammy) bar.

Obviously, lock tuners are different from other types of machine pegs, but they are also available in a variety of styles as well. Quality lock tuners are easy to install, simple to use, and they are made of robust materials, such as steel or nickel for example. It’s time to delve a bit deeper into some locking tuners, so without any further delay . . .

These are our recommendations for 4 best locking tuners on the market:

Grover 406C6 Rotomatic Mini 6 Locking Tuners

Our first pick is ideal for people who don’t mind paying top dollar for top quality. Grover’s Rotomatic inline tuners are completely enclosed, highly responsive and absolutely gorgeous. Aside from the fact that they’re aesthetically beautiful and marvelously convenient utility-wise, they also offer optimal balance between gear ratio, size and durability.

They’re manufactured from ultra-sturdy chrome material and have been polished to perfection. Obviously, the only downside that’s worth mentioning is that 406C6 costs quite a bit, but it’s well worth the price considering that its performance is nearly unparalleled.

Specs-wise, Grover’s 406C6 Rotomatic self-locking machine heads sport 18:1 gear ratio, eight o’clock screw positioning, and a completely enclosed construction.

Pros:

  • Looks absolutely marvellous
  • Built to last
  • Completely enclosed
  • Unparalleled durability

Cons:

  • Expensive
How to string grover locking tuners..

Fender Locking Tuners Polished Chrome

Fender’s locking tuners are perhaps a bit pricier than most people would feel comfortable with, but they’re also among the most versatile and best locking tuners available.

You’ll be able to choose between standard and vintage design styles and four color variations including polished chrome, black, brushed chrome, and gold-plated options. Note that all of these style variations are purely aesthetic. These tuning pegs are exceptionally durable, they look amazing, and they offer superb consistency and easy re-stringing to the table.

One of the most notable benefits Fender’s locking tuners offer is ease of installation. Simple setup also simplifies maintenance and makes re-stringing your guitar a breeze, which are just some of the numerous reasons why this particular model is one of the most-popular locking tuners available on the market.

Pros:

  • Remarkably sturdy
  • Available in two design styles and four color options
  • Very easy to install

Cons:

  • Pricey
Installing Fender Locking Tuners: 2015 US Standard Stratocaster

Wilkinson Locking Tuners 3x3 Roto Style Full Size Locking Tuners

Next up we have Wilkinson’s Roto-style locking tuners. These machine pegs are made of quality steel materials and are available in black, gold-plated and chrome aesthetic options.

Aside from the fact that they offer exceptional tuning stability and easy restringing capabilities, they’re also significantly sturdier than most mid-priced tuners. One of the many reasons why we recommend this locking tuner bundle is that it comes with a set of installation tools, including bushings, screws & washers.

As far as specifications are of concern, Wilkinson’s Locking tuners boast 19:1 gear tuning ratio, kidney-bean buttons, and the standard “three-by-three” setup. It’s important to note that these locking tuners can’t fit any 45-degree tag headstock (great example would be most Martin guitars), and the fact that they’re relatively pricey are the only two flaws of Wilkinson’s 3x3 Roto style locking tuners.

Pros:

  • A bit cheaper than most boutique tuners
  • Equipped with a set of gratis installation hardware
  • Available in three color styles
  • 19:1 tuning gear ratio
  • Kidney-bean buttons equipped on fully sealed tuners

Cons:

  • Slightly less responsive than average
  • Can’t fit 45-degree tag headstock guitars

Kaish 18:1 Gear Ratio Guitar Locking Tuners

Here we have Kaish’s inline locking tuners. They’re made of top-quality steel and are suitable for use with most LP, SG, Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars, but the main reason why we recommend them is that they are also available in right and left-handed variations.

In terms of aesthetics these tuning pegs come in chrome, black, and gold-plated variations. They are durable and exceptionally well-made, but they’re also a bit cheaper than some boutique locking tuners on our list. Without a doubt, these therefore are among the best locking tuners for the money.

Pros:

  • Looks absolutely wonderful
  • Available in three color style options
  • Durable and remarkably well-made
  • Left and right-handed design options

Cons:

  • Relatively hard to install
  • Relatively cheap

The Best Locking Tuners Conclusion

The market of locking tuners is fairly vast, and you’ll be able to see plenty of different models that boast different designs, materials, features, and obviously machine heads that are cheaper or expensive, any budget really. Like a lot of things in life, you first got to reach into your back pocket, pull out your wallet, and see how much green you have.

When upgrading your guitar’s hardware you should at least try to save up some cash for boutique models. These one-time investments will prove valuable for the cash on the long run as they’ll considerably improve your guitar’s performance. However, if you’re a bit low on cash we’ve still added a couple of cheaper options. Again, it depends on your budget.

Finding the best locking tuners may be a bit more time-consuming than most people would think due to the sheer eclecticism and diversity of the market, but we’ve managed to handpick a couple of models that excel in all fields of performance, so we certainly hope you liked our selection. Good luck!

  • Founder of Mechanical Caveman, Beau is an unrepentant tool enthusiast and, sporting deadlift-callused hands and an incongruous beer belly, all-around macho guy. When he doesn’t know re tools, he consults with his handyman and car-repairman buds to give you well-reasoned and cutting-edge info.

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