Graph Tech Ratio Tuners – Review – 15/12/17

Instrument tuners have been around a lot longer than the guitar itself, originally crude pegs on the first Spanish guitar models, these later evolved to a worm gear style for easier tuning and better stability.

The Ratio tuners however address an issue which has never been dealt with on regular tuners. When tuning a different number of turns are required for each strings, due to the different size of these and different tensions.

The Ratio tuners overcome this by having customised gear ratios for each string, so the same number of turns will equal the same tone, whether on the Low E or the high B, therefore each tuner feels exactly the same. The lower strings will have finer tuning and the higher ones will be quicker.

The Ratio tuners are offered in various versions and contemporary style finishes with a two pin mounting system. If you do not wish to drill holes or modify your guitar, mounting plates are also available. This makes the modification to your guitar non-permanent should you wish to sell it on for example and retain the tuners for another instrument.

For the purpose of this review we installed a set of chrome six in line tuners onto a new telecaster style neck. This had no mounting holes so it was in essence a new installation.  This was done by first installing the tuners in the correct order until they are finger tight and lining them up with a straight edge. Once they were straight we pressed them into the neck in the correct order. This is done to mark the wood as to where the pin holes would go. These where then marked with a fine permanent marker, measured and double checked.

Pilot holes where then drilled with a 1.5mm drill bit and then drilled again to the correct 2.5mm size. (When drilling into a guitar always use a depth gauge or mark the depth with some tape to avoid drilling too deep or through the instrument)

The tuners were then tightened permanently (always take care not to over tighten) and the guitar was strung up with nine gauge strings.

Also note that when installing screws into a hardwood neck use some candle wax to ease them in, use hand tools and make sure your screwdriver is the correct type and has a good fit.

In use the tuners are smooth, at first it may take a bit of getting use the feel of the equal tuning with the ratios, but it definitely works and is also stable when in use whether it be gigging or recording. Aesthetically they are also pleasing to the eye and won’t look too different to regular modern style tuners.

My suggestion to Graph Tech would be to release a vintage look version of the tuner for those wanting to use the on instrument with kluson style spilt tuners

By Ernest H Slade

Disclaimer: Please note the installation procedure is described as a recommendation and is done at your own risk. Please consult a professional luthier if in doubt on how to proceed.