Bass Tuner Bushings

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Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Chuck Raudonis » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:21 pm

Hey gang! I'm in the middle of my first build and I have a question about tuner bushings. I am building a complex body out of Bubinga, walnut and flamed maple with a maple/rosewood neck (I'm a cabinet maker and I have a thing for contrasting woods so I thought for my first build I'd go big or go home!) Well, I have a set of chrome tuner bushings that are as vanilla as can be. I was thinking about whipping up some custom bushings out of bubinga to keep the contrasting wood theme going. The question is, I'm not exactly sure of the function of the bushings. Are the purely decorative and intended to cover the gap between the headstock and the tuner? If so, a pretty wood bushing will work. If they are meant to steady the tuner and center it in the hole, I'm thinking I'd probably be better off sticking with the chrome.

I have attached a picture of the body for reference and a picture of a prototype bushing blank that I cut out of some scrap wood just to give myself an idea what it would look like. If I do this, I will make them out of the same bubinga that I used for the face of the body and taper them down, etc.

Thoughts?

Trim Ring - small.JPG
This is the prototype of the trim ring I'm considering building

Body - small.JPG
This is the body in it's current state in the build
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Mark Swanson » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:00 pm

The bushings serve the keep the tuner from binding against the wood, which can expand and contract and wear out. The bushings keep the moving part of the tuner from rubbing against the wood. I'd want to stick with the chrome, and your bushing looks like it has a higher lip at the top that will keep you from being able to wind as much string on the peg.
That's my opinion! Good work though.
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Chuck Raudonis » Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:53 pm

Yeah, that one is high. As I said it was a prototype just to see if I could get something that looked good. The production copy was intended to be thinner and would be tapered down to the maple at the outside edges.

I wonder if I can make something that would have a metal cylinder for the tuner to slide on but still have the decorative ring of wood around the top. Sounds like a research project.....
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Steve Senseney » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:34 am

I think the wood bushing will work. If it is tight some time in the future, you can easily sand it just a little.

A lot of old farm machinery used wood bushings which lasted for years, then was easily replaced.
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Rodger Knox » Tue Jul 10, 2012 3:25 pm

Mark certainly makes valid points, but I'm inclined to believe that wood bushings could be made to work. Splitting along the grain could be a problem, so I expect the sucess will depend on the orientation of the grain and the type of wood you use.
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Chuck Raudonis » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:26 pm

I hadn't thought about the splitting issue. I'll have to look at it from that angle. Especially since I want to taper them down at the edges. I might be asking for trouble there. Thanks.
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Joshua Levin-Epstein » Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:42 am

Suppose you were to fashion some wood bushings. The part that fits within the peghead will need to be thicker than metal bushings because metal is stronger than wood (I do have an incredible grasp of the obvious). If the wood bushings fail, you will then need to bush the holes to hold the conventional metal bushings. I liked your idea of a flangeless bushing with a decorative wood ring. You're still not out of the woods because the wood ring might be really damaged by wrapping the string against it.
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Rodger Knox » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:14 pm

You can make the wood bushings thicker by enlarging the hole...
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby David King » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:51 pm

The ultimate wood for bushings is probably lignum vita as it's self-lubricating and turns like a dream. I don't see why the bushings would be particularly stressed beyond compression of the wood fibers. They'd be supported all the way around by rock maple and supported on the inside by a close fitting shaft. A thicker cross-section would be handy just from a turning standpoint but with care you could make them as thin as most of the metal ones.
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Re: Bass Tuner Bushings

Postby Chuck Raudonis » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Thanks for the ideas! It's a big help.
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