Beginner’s Guide: Tuning Pegs

by Tim Redford, Jan 4, 2018 . 3 min read

Beginner’s Guide: Tuning Pegs

Those windy-turny things near the top of your guitar that adjust the strings. Yah, those are your tuning pegs and you use them all the time to keep your instrument in tune.Have you ever wondered though, if the ones you have now are the best for your guitar?

One of the main benefits of learning the basics about tuning pegs is that many guitars are shipped from the factory with cheap tuners. This can mean that even when you tune up properly, your guitar might not stay in tune very well while you play.

A simple upgrade of your tuners can make a vast difference, it’s one of the first things I recommend doing with a new guitar. Here’s how to tell the difference between types of tuning pegs. 

Friction pegs

Friction Pegs

In the world of classic stringed instruments like violins, everyone started out with what we call friction pegs.

The string wraps around the peg and is held in place by friction between the peg and the instrument. Too much friction and you can’t turn the peg, not enough friction and your string won’t stay in tune. To this day as a matter of tradition and style, most orchestral stringed instruments stick with friction pegs. Because they’re lightweight and simple, you’ll also find them on ukuleles.

Geared pegs

Geared Pegs

Tuning pegs leaped ahead in technology and guitars are one instrument that ran with these new kinds of tuners, using them to their full potential. Geared pegs work as a cylinder mounted to a pinion gear that tightens or loosens the string wrapped around it as you adjust the tuner knob.

Geared pegs also work on a variety of different ratios. 11:1 for instance would offer a nice level of precision, whereas 18:1 would be far more precise as you turn the peg. The higher the number, the slower the rotation for each turn.

One more thing, if you have a whammy bar on your guitar there are geared pegs with locking mechanisms to clamp down on those strings while you get crazy doing dive bombs in your soaring leads.

Consider this

If you’ve decided to upgrade to a new set of pegs, keep in mind that it’s not a “one size fits all” job.

Make sure to get tuners that match the holes already in your guitar’s headstock, otherwise you’ll need to bring them to your friendly neighborhood guitar repair shop for a custom install. 

For more information check out our new and improved complete guide to guitar tuning!



Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!
Submit

Check out some other similar articles

Take advantage of our biggest backer-exclusive discounts and get your hands on this next-generation automatic tuner. Back the Kickstarter campaign today and be the first to receive the Roadie 3.

Do you know when you should upgrade your guitar? That is a very personal question that will therefore have quite different answers.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 25, 2020 . 4 min read

In this guitar tutorial, you will learn how to play “Down By the River” by Milky Chance. This song was released as the second single from their debut album Sadnecessary.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 21, 2020 . 4 min read

Recent discussion at tendermeets revolved around how romance inspires music and creativity for artists of all kinds.

Augusto Palmeri
Sep 15, 2020 . 5 min read

The best recording software today will work fine for experienced engineers and beginners alike. In other words, there is no such thing as the best recording software for beginners.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 14, 2020 . 4 min read

Ah, good ol’ distortion lines! As someone once said: “There’s no such thing as too much distortion”, and I couldn’t agree more.

Alexis Baydoun
Sep 11, 2020 . 5 min read

The best online jamming websites are a godsend. First, they are a great way to practice. Second, they are fun. Third, they are especially useful in a time of pandemic and limited social contact.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 7, 2020 . 3 min read

Is lo-fi the smooth jazz of the new generation? No. It is not. Lo-Fi is not the smooth jazz of the generation. But what is Lo-fi after all?

Rodrigo Sanchez
Sep 4, 2020 . 3 min read

On the evening of August 28, the sad and devasting news emerged. Black Panther actor and on-screen legend: Chadwick Boseman tragically passed away at the age of 43. The actor was fighting a private battle with colon cancer since 2016.

Frederik Nielsen
Aug 31, 2020 . 4 min read

Nothing can make us travel back in time like music. We all remember those special songs that we heard in special moments. Songs and albums that touched our lives uniquely.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 28, 2020 . 4 min read

Guitar pedals are a dime a dozen. There are just so many types, variations, blends, and flavors. I could write an encyclopedia on guitar pedals available.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 25, 2020 . 4 min read

Chris Cornell was one of the architects of grunge in the early 90s. He is one of the three most important figures in this movement, the other two being Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 24, 2020 . 4 min read

Turning your hobby into your profession is quite a leap. There is very little pressure in playing for fun. But for a professional guitarist, every gig is a serious matter. After all, you will be getting paid according to your abilities and the realities of the market you’re in.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 17, 2020 . 4 min read

The ukulele has seen a considerable popularity surge in the past years. This surge has been so pronounced that even major brands like Fender and Cordoba started producing ukuleles.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 14, 2020 . 5 min read

The notoriously resilient Lebanese. Within a single lifetime, they have been victims of civil war, foreign invasion, foreign occupancy, militia war, the assassination of leaders, the slaughter of citizens based on religion, the kidnapping of our youth.

Tamara Habchi
Aug 11, 2020 . 4 min read

Tuning is crucial. And it turns out, no one is more obsessed with tuning than a guitarist. Guitar players check their tuning excessively and for good reason. If a single string is out of tune, it can completely ruin a song (as well as your reputation).

Rodrigo Sanchez
Aug 4, 2020 . 4 min read

Bob Dylan has been a staple of music and culture for over 50 years. He’s considered by many one of the greatest songwriters to ever live.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 30, 2020 . 4 min read

“Stolen Dance” is a song by German pop duo Milky Chance. It was released in 2012 and became a viral hit on YouTube (it presently has well over half a billion streams).

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 20, 2020 . 3 min read

Some guitarists tend to focus solely on improving their left hand. The dirty little secret is that the left hand can only be as good as the right hand allows. Good hand synchronization is imperative for any guitarist.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 17, 2020 . 3 min read

Guitarists are a dime a dozen. Unique guitarists are not. And then there are those who stand in the rarified air of having their unique guitar playing styles widely imitated.

Rodrigo Sanchez
Jul 14, 2020 . 4 min read

Is it really over?! Well, not quite! Roadie 3 is now available on Indiegogo with exclusive perks for a limited time!

For most of you, Roadie 3’s launch on Kickstarter on May 20, 2020, is not new news. 

Hussein El Annan
Jul 7, 2020 . 3 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!