Gilbert machines for a Ramirez Classical guitar

This patient is a 1971 Ramirez classical guitar belonging to modern classical artist David Starobin, who is considered a giant in his genre.  This wonderful guitar still had the original tuning machines which were no longer performing as well as they needed to.  David asked me to install Gilbert machines, which are the most precise classical tuners being made in the world. 

These machines have no play or wobble, and are engineered from an entirely unique design-mind.  I’ve copied the features of these fine machines from the Gilbert website below.

  • Precision phosphor bronze roller gear eliminates backlash and reduces wear with long life
  • Precision stainless steel worm eliminates backlash and reduces wear with long life and freedom from corrosion
  • Worm carrier slide molded with polyphenylene sulfide and Teflon mixture insures precise tolerances and lubrication
  • One piece machined roller gear and shaft eliminates gear retaining screw and lash in gear to roller shaft connection
  • Delrin rollers for durability at roller to plate interface and at wood to roller interface
  • Mounting plate has Delrin bearings for roller shaft to eliminate lubrication with long life

First, the old machines needed to be removed, and the old mounting screw holes filled with wood dust and glue to maintain the structural strength of the sidewalls.

Standard “3 on a plate” machines didn’t fit perfectly, as this is a hand-made guitar, and the third set of tuner holes was 1mm further apart than the first two sets of holes. I could force the Gliberts in, but it would stress the rollers at a slight angle.  The original machines fit because of the typical roller wobble inherent in factory machines.

I returned the “3 on a plates” to Greg Matonis (the man who makes Gilberts) and he promptly priority mailed out 6 individual machines for just this instance. They worked out perfectly.

BACK to guitar repair page
S.B. MacDonald Custom Instruments. All rights reserved