Changing Peghead Guitar to Machine Tuners

Some people love friction pegs. Others…hate them. Especially, if those pegs were ill fitted to begin with. Those struggling with pegs either sell their peghead guitars, or end-up converting to planetary-geared mechanical pegs, or to machine tuners.

Here is an example of the friction pegs-to-machine tuners conversion:

If you are interested in converting your peghead guitar to mechanical tuners, I am well acquainted with this surgery, and will be glad to help.

On a rare occasion, there is an urge to go the opposite direction, from machine tuners, to pegs. It is a much more laborious process, and not one I’d recommend lightly, but it can be done. Pegs feel just right for some musicians. Here is one of such conversions:

The guitar was built in Spain in the late 60’s, and had a generic music store label inside. Even though the label was not signed, nor had I found any hidden builder’s signature or initials inside, the quality of construction was reasonably high. Despite being over 40-years old, and of very light construction, the guitar held up very well. It had no structural issues, played well, and had that “muy flamenco” sound.

 

 

Finding a piece of Spanish cedar of reasonably similar grain/texture, I tapered it with a matching scarf joint, and glued it to the neck.

Even though I now had a smooth foundation for the back, and the face was to receive a new veneer, I was not out of the woods yet with the sides of the headstock. Gaping holes from the high and low E tuner barrels were still fully visible, and I needed to graft additional thin slices of Spanish cedar to cover those openings.

The neck has been sanded, and the headstock detailed. Now is the tricky part of color-matching, to allow the old and new wood flow together,

Under a wash coat of shellac, there was quite a bit of contrast between the old and the new wood. Judicious use of burnt umber and raw sienna pigments allowed me to match colors quite closely.

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