How Do You Install Closed Tuner Heads On Bass Guitar: Don’t Settle for Less than Perfect Pitch

Upgrading your bass guitar with closed tuner heads can significantly enhance its tuning stability and aesthetic appeal. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the process of installing these high-quality components on your instrument.

Whether you’re a seasoned musician or a DIY enthusiast, learning to change out the tuner heads can save time and money, while also providing an opportunity to customize your gear for optimal performance.

Understanding Closed Tuner Heads And Their Importance

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Closed tuner heads, also known as sealed-gear tuners, are a popular type of tuning machine for bass guitars. They house the gears in a diecast housing or enclosure that keeps out dirt and debris while requiring little to no maintenance.

The importance of utilizing closed tuner heads on your bass guitar cannot be overstated. Since bass strings exert greater tension on the headstock than typical guitar strings, it’s crucial to have reliable and stable tuning machines in place.

High-quality closed tuner heads like Sealedgear tuners can significantly improve your instrument’s overall performance by providing precise adjustments and increased durability.

Experienced players often opt for aftermarket upgrades like Precision bass tuners or custom cigar box guitar tuners that cater to unique requirements with creative designs or superior materials; these options exemplify how valuable closed tuner heads are in enhancing one’s playing experience.

Steps For Installing Closed Tuner Heads On A Bass Guitar

To install closed tuner heads on your bass guitar, first loosen and remove the old tuners, then prepare the guitar for the new ones by cleaning and making sure everything fits properly.

Next, carefully install the new closed tuner heads using a Phillips head screwdriver and tighten all screws securely. Finally, tune the instrument and make any necessary adjustments.

Loosen And Remove The Old Tuner Heads

Before installing closed tuner heads on your bass guitar, the first step is to remove the old ones. To do this, you will need a Phillips head screwdriver and possibly pliers or a wrench.

Gently loosen each of the screws that secure the old tuners onto your guitar’s headstock.

It’s important to take note of any bushings that may have come along with the old tuners since they often require replacement as well. If these bushings look worn or damaged, now is an opportune time to replace them with new ones suitable for your new closed tuner heads.

Preparing The Guitar For The New Tuner Heads

Before installing the new closed tuner heads on your bass guitar, you need to prepare the instrument. Start by removing any debris or dust buildup around the headstock where the old tuners were installed.

You may also want to replace bushings if necessary; these small metal parts help hold each post securely in place while allowing them to turn smoothly. To do this, remove each old bushing carefully using a pair of pliers or a special removal tool, then slide in your new ones and secure them tightly with screws provided with your new tuners.

Installing The New Closed Tuner Heads

Now that you have removed the old tuner heads and prepared your bass guitar, it is time to install the new closed tuner heads. Begin by placing each of the new tuners into their designated hole on the headstock, ensuring that they fit snugly.

Next, align the screw holes with those on the back of the headstock and insert screws through both sets of holes. Remember to hold onto any accompanying washers or nuts as necessary.

Tighten each screw securely using a Phillips-head screwdriver, being careful not to over-tighten and strip the threads.

Finally, attach a string to each tuning peg and begin winding them in a clockwise direction until they reach proper tension. Use a tuner or pitch pipe to check that each string is properly tuned before making final adjustments as needed.

Final Tuning And Adjustments

Now that you have installed your new closed tuner heads on your bass guitar, the final step is setting up the tuning and making any necessary adjustments. First, make sure all screws and fittings are securely tightened.

Then, use a tuner or tuning app to check each string’s pitch and adjust accordingly using the corresponding peg or machine head.

It is important to note that some new tuners might require slight adjustments in knob sensitivity or gear ratio compared to your previous tuners. Take time to experiment with these settings until you find the perfect setup for your playing style.

Expert Tips For Installing Closed Tuner Heads On A Bass Guitar

When installing closed tuner heads on your bass guitar, it’s important to ensure compatibility and size, double-check all fittings and screws, consider professional assistance if necessary, and take precautions not to damage the guitar during installation.

Ensure Compatibility And Size

Before installing closed tuner heads on your bass guitar, it’s crucial to ensure that they are compatible with your instrument. Check the specifications of the new tuners and compare them to your old ones to make sure they will fit correctly.

For example, if you have a vintage bass guitar, it may require specific tuner head sizes or mounting configurations. Additionally, be mindful of how many tuning pegs you need for your particular instrument.

Some basses have four strings and four tuners while others have five or six strings and require more.

Double-check All Fittings And Screws

Once you have installed the new closed tuner heads on your bass guitar, it is vital to double-check all fittings and screws thoroughly. This step ensures that the new tuners stay securely in place as you play your guitar.

Check each screw to ensure they are tight enough but not too tight to avoid damaging the headstock of your bass guitar.

It’s also important to note that different types of tuner heads may require different screw sizes or bushing replacement, so be sure to check compatibility before installing them.

Take your time during this process, don’t rush things; otherwise, you may end up with a faulty installation that requires rework later down the line.

Consider Professional Assistance If Necessary

If you have limited experience with guitar maintenance or if the bass guitar has complex tuners, it may be best to consider seeking professional assistance when installing closed tuner heads.

A skilled technician who specializes in guitar repairs can ensure that the installation is seamless and that your new tuner heads are properly aligned and secured.

Some music stores offer custom setups as part of their services, so you may want to check out these options as well. Investing in expert help may cost more than a DIY approach, but it can save you from costly mistakes and damage to your instrument.

Take Precaution Not To Damage The Guitar

As with any guitar maintenance or repair, it’s crucial to take precautions not to damage the instrument. When installing closed tuner heads on a bass guitar, make sure you are using the correct tools and following the installation steps carefully.

Avoid applying too much force when removing the old tuner heads or fitting in new ones as this can cause damage to the headstock or neck of the guitar. It’s recommended to use a rubber mallet for gentle tapping during installation instead of a regular hammer.

Additionally, be mindful of screws and fittings that may scratch or dent your guitar’s surface. Take your time and double-check everything before proceeding with final tuning and adjustments.

Common Types Of Bass Guitar Tuners And How To Choose The Right One

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There are different types of bass guitar tuners to choose from, including sealed-gear, pinned, and locking tuners. Consider the type that best suits your playing style and budget before making a purchase.

Sealed-gear Tuners

Sealed-gear tuners are a type of closed tuner head that is popular among bass guitarists for its smooth and precise tuning capabilities. These tuners feature an enclosed gear mechanism, which provides reliable and consistent tuning, even during heavy use or extreme temperature changes.

Sealed-gear tuners also come in different housing materials such as diecast or metal alloy to provide additional durability and stability.

One popular brand of sealed-gear tuners is Hipshot, known for their high-quality construction and easy installation. Many bass players opt for these types of tuner heads when upgrading their instruments, as they can greatly improve the overall performance and reliability of the guitar’s tuning system.

Pinned Tuners

Pinned tuners are a type of guitar tuner that uses a small metal pin to secure the tuning peg in place. They are typically found on lower-end or vintage bass guitars, and can be tricky to install due to their unique design.

To install pinned tuners, you will need to remove the old pegs and bushings from your guitar’s headstock using a Phillips head screwdriver and rubber mallet. Next, insert the new pins into each hole on the back of the tuner housing, making sure they fit snugly.

Finally, slide the entire assembly into place on your guitar’s headstock, securing it with screws if necessary.

Locking Tuners

Locking tuners have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. These types of tuners use a locking mechanism to hold the strings at the tuning post, which prevents slipping during play and eliminates the need for winding excess string around the post.

Installing locking tuners on a bass guitar involves swapping out the old tuner heads with new ones that have this mechanism built-in. This process requires some adjustments to ensure proper fit, but can be done quite easily with basic hand tools such as screwdrivers and pliers.

Considerations When Choosing Tuner Heads

When choosing tuner heads for your bass guitar, there are a few things you should consider. First and foremost, make sure that the tuner heads you choose are compatible with your specific instrument.

Another important consideration is the type of tuner head mechanism you prefer. Sealed-gear tuners provide greater stability, while pinned tuners can be more affordable and easier to install.

Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate what is most important for your playing style and preferences when selecting new tuner heads for your bass guitar.


In conclusion, installing closed tuner heads on a bass guitar is an essential aspect of maintaining quality sound and functionality. The process may seem daunting at first, but with the right tools and guidance, anyone can do it.

When choosing new tuner heads, be sure to consider compatibility and size carefully. Also, double-check all fittings and screws to avoid any potential damage to your instrument.

If you’re unsure about the installation process or don’t have experience in guitar maintenance, it’s best to seek professional assistance.


1. What tools do I need to install closed tuner heads on my bass guitar?

To install closed tuner heads, you’ll need a screwdriver or wrench (depending on your model), as well as an appropriate drill bit if you’re replacing old tuners that are secured with screws.

2. Is it difficult to install closed tuner heads on my bass guitar?

It’s not overly difficult, but it does require some precision and attention to detail. Make sure the holes for the new tuners line up properly with the existing holes in your headstock, and take care when tightening the screws so you don’t strip them.

3. Can I use any brand of closed tuner heads for my bass guitar?

In general, most brands of closed tuner heads will work fine with most models of bass guitars – however, it’s always best to double-check compatibility before purchasing anything online or at a music store.

4. Will installing new closed tuner heads affect the tone or playability of my bass guitar?

While switching out an individual component like a set of tuners may have some subtle effect on overall sound and feel – this is typically minimal enough that players won’t notice much difference unless they’re making other changes at the same time (such as changing string gauges).

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