Some guitar players would agree that the most vulnerable part of their instrument is the tuner. Touch anything here, tighten or loosen any knob, and your once-tight guitar is no longer in tune. These knobs are also prone to cracking under pressure, with some guitar tuners bending, warping, and breaking over time. How do you prevent these from happening and keep your guitar in perfect tune? The secret for some guitar players is the use of a device called a locking tuner. What it is and how it helps guitar players will be answered in this review.
What are Locking Tuners?
Locking tuners are basic yet brilliant technology. It works like a regular tuner, but inside of the eye of the tuner, there’s a little clamp that comes up as the tuner is tightened. This simple mechanism holds the string in the correct position and stops slipping in many ways. Guitar locking tuners will hold the string in place, and because of this will stop it from slipping. A locking tuner will keep your guitar tuned for a long period of time.
Benefits of Locking Tuners
The obvious advantage of locking tuners is that you’ll get better tuning stability. However, there are some people who claim that it adds more weight to your headstock, and this weight (sometimes uneven weight) can severely affect the way you play.
If you don’t want a heavy neck, then don’t use locking tuners. Although the weight added will be very minimal. And no matter what may add a little bit of weight, it may not be not too much. There are also players who think that adding more weight on the headstock; some people feel that having more weight on the headstock creates a heavier or meatier tone.
And there is one thing that locking tuners are good at, and this is preventing slippage of the strings from the tuning peg. But take note that if your strings are out of tune, the tuners are not really at fault. There are many elements in a guitar that can affect tuning and stability. There’s a lot of different elements on a guitar that can contribute to poor tuning. This includes the entire body of the guitar from the bridge to the nut and even from the quality of the guitar strings.
Also, just because the string is secured by the tuner, it does not mean that you should stretch your strings. This is due to the fact that strings do stretch, and you want to make sure that the string is located securely between the nut, bridge, and all the other components and that the slack is balanced all over the strength of the neck and even along the entire length of the instrument.
The best practice is to stretch the strings like normal and then tune it back up again. Just because you are using a locking tuner does not mean the guitar will never go out of tune. You still need to calibrate your strings. Strings will go out of tune, and this can happen any time, and this is a natural thing, it’s just the way it happens.
Basically, the more things attached to the neck or anywhere on your guitar, things can possibly go wrong anytime. This is why most users don’t really find locking tuners necessarily. But if you like your guitar to stay in tune for many years and never to touch it, then a locking tuner may just be the one you need.
Finding the Right Set of Tuners for Your Guitar
Locking tuners are available in different brands and in many styles. There are locking tuners that are designed to meet the needs of particular guitars, and some provide the best fit. There are also locking tuners that require the user to drill the headstock for separate holes before these are installed on the instrument.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a locking tuner that will fit your type of guitar, shop wisely. Don’t shop on impulse and select the first bright and shiny thing that you find online. Consider the mechanism of the locking tuner and how this is applied to your instrument. Here are ten of the best locking tuners in the market today.
1. Fender Locking Tuners
Best Chrome Locking Tuners for the Money
Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5
One of our top choices is the Fender Locking Tuners. These weigh 10.4 ounces; the Fender locking tuners are a very popular choice. This is for guitars with an improperly-fitted tuner; the Fender locking tuner is what you’ll need to keep your strings in place.
You can count on the Fender tuner to work properly no matter what type of guitar you have. These are stock tuners fitted with wooden holders that make this easy to use and tune. For a beginner, these could be the perfect tuners to upgrade and replace a set of standard tuners.
These tuners are well constructed, and won’t take much time to get going. These have been subjected to years of pressure and build; however, not everyone loves the sleek and shiny chrome finish.
- Comes in a set – no need to pay extra for additional supplies and mounting accessories. You can install this on your guitar as soon as these arrive.
- With secure pin mounting – the pin mounting feature secures the string in place and will never lose grip no matter what happens
- Deluxe tuner – this is a deluxe tuner and is used in the best guitars in the market today.
- Looks sleek and presentable – most people are won over by the dazzle and shine of these lovely chrome tuners.
- With a gear ratio of 18:1
- Set of six tuners with 3 long and 3 short posts
- With dual-guide pin for easy mounting
- Included in a set bushings, washers, mounting hardware
- Used on American Deluxe and the American Elite Series guitars
2. Grover Accordion Accessory (502C)
Best Value Replacement Locking Tuners
Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Grover Accordion locking tuners are packed with excellent features. One of these good features is the 18:1 gear ratio called the Rotomatic design, and this is what the Grover Accordion is known for. These tuners come with a thumbscrew mechanism that makes it easier to slip your strings and keep these into position.
The 502C version has a chrome finish whiles other versions have a gold and black finish. You will get a set with six pieces, three tuners per side, and this is designed to replace most regular stock tuners. You can use your tuners right away because everything is included in this package. You can get good value for your money tuners with the Grover Accordion Assembly locking tuners.
- Easy to install – you may have thought that this tuner has a complicated design, but think again. It takes only a few seconds to do this: first, insert the string into the post hole and wrap it once around the post and then use the thumbscrew to hold the string safely and securely.
- Will replace standard stock tuners – this has an easy, updated design that will replace old-fashioned and inefficient tuners.
- Comes with all you need – You can replace your tuners right away as it has all you need to install it on your guitar. Mounting hardware is included in the set.
- With the famous Rotomatic design – the Rotomatic design is the use of a thumbscrew to fasten the string in place and to keep it in place for a long time.
- Durable, lovely finish – this is an all-chrome tool/accessory that will enhance the style and the beauty of your acoustic, electric or acoustic-electric guitar.
- Uses 18:1 Rotomatic design
- With thumbscrew mechanism
- The set comes with three tuners per side
- With all mounting hardware included
- Chrome locking tuners
3. Planet Wave Auto-Trim Tuning Machines 3+3 Setup
Best Value Warranty Locking Tuners
Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Planet Wave locking tuners come with a Steinberger design. You can cut the excess string; therefore, you don’t need to use a special string cutting g it needless to use additional string-cutting mechanism. These tuners are precise at 18:1 and come with very strong string clamps. These tuners will reduce the need to wrap the string over and over again around the tuner.
If your guitar is a tremolo, then these locking tuners will work seamlessly. The 18:1 ratio offers a smooth and precise tuning and will reduce string slipping for all kinds of guitars. Also, these value locking tuners comes with a limited lifetime warranty. You’ll get more value with your purchase with these tuners. You can select two finishes: chrome and gold black finish.
- High precision tuners – these are very precise tuners that will automatically cut the excess string. The clamps come in 3 + 3 format.
- With individual string clamps – this will hold the string in the tuning tool and will prevent multiple wraps that you usually make when you’re using regular tuners.
- For all types of guitars – whether you’re using a tremolo or other guitars, you’ll find these locking tuners easy to use and install
- Precise gearing ratio – this is a precise ratio that will prevent slipping. Your strings will never be out of tune or out of position with these tuners.
- Generous warranty – the manufacturer has provided a limited lifetime guarantee, and this adds more value for your purchase.
- 6 tuners with 3 + 3 format
- With individual clamps
- With 18:1 gearing ratio
- Available in chrome and gold black
4. Musiclily 6 Inline Guitar Locking Tuners
Best Value Alloy Metal Locking Tuners
Editor’s Rating: 3.9 out of 5
Musiclily has a set of versatile and luxurious locking tuners. These are versatile because you can use these on any type of guitar from an acoustic, electric, or an acoustic-electric guitar. As long as your guitar has a 10mm peg hole, this set will do just nicely.
These tuners have a solid metal alloy body that’s very durable and will give you years of performance. Gear ratio is 15:1, and the head measures 18mm in width. You’ll get maximum tuning stability and thus will provide the best results each time. You’ll get six in a set, and the set has all you need, including a screw, ferrule, and nut. And if you’re into chrome, then the Musiclily locking tuners might be the right one for you.
- Versatile tuners – you can use this locking tuner on any type of guitar including an acoustic, electric or acoustic-electric guitar
- Made from strong and durable material – these are made from a metal alloy, and thus these are very durable, will never warp, fold or crack even under extreme pressure.
- With complete set – comes with complete accessories including nut, screws, and ferrule. No need to buy extra mounting accessories.
- Easy to install and use – these are easy to use as you don’t need to drill holes on your guitar anymore or use other mounting hardware.
- Fits standard 13/32 – inch peg holes
- Made from a metal alloy
- The gear ratio of 15:1
- Head size of 18mm
- With six tuners per set with ferrule, nut, and screws included in the set
5. Kmise A2421 3L3R Auto Lock Tuning Pegs Machine Head
Best Top Quality Steel Tuning Pegs
Editor’s Rating: 3.4 out of 5
The Kmise is an auto-tuning peg machine head that’s a locking tuner that you can use for an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar. This set comes with six pieces of these tuners, and each comes with a top-quality black finish. This comes with a screw for tightening the heads in place. This is made of steel which won’t warp, change its shape or break.
Kmise locking tuners are perfect for guitars with steel strings. With ratio support of 18:1 and these locks work correctly on all guitar models. You can install these on your guitar right away since it comes with all the parts you need. These are easy to install and use, ideal for guitar players with a sense of DIY.
- Complete accessories – the pack includes all the things you need to install these tuners right away, including female attachments, screws, and threaded bushings. Installation is easy and can be done in minutes.
- It can be used on all types of guitars – this can be used on all types of guitars, including acoustic, electric, and electric acoustic guitars.
- With auto-locking features – the auto-locking feature keeps the strings in place longer, and this preserves the strength of the strings, the tune, and the positioning of the strings.
- Made from heavy-duty materials – these locking tuners are made from steel and thus are very strong, very durable, and will never fold, warp, break or bend over time.
- Set of 6 black machine heads
- Sealed machine heads
- Automatic locking tuners
- Very durable internal gear
- The gear ratio of 15:1
- Comes with complete mounting or installation accessories including ferrules, screws and threaded bushings
6. Sperzel 6 In-line Locking Tuners Black
Best Value Professional In-Line Tuners
Editor’s Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Sperzel black locking tuners have top quality and are in-line tuners with wave-adjustable tuning post height. You don’t need retainers as long as you have these installed. These tuners are stylish, durable, and ready to use, and it can fit all kinds of guitars too. Sperzel locking tuners have a luxurious black finish, so these won’t clash with your style and guitar design as well. These come with an 18:1 gear ratio; therefore, it is the standard choice for almost all guitars. These will keep your guitar in tune without using any nut.
- Professional-style machine heads – the Sperzel Line Locking Tuners are known for their professional style, sleek and minimalistic looks. It is simple to use and thus a no-fuss piece of equipment to install on your guitar.
- Popular artists use these tuners – yes, even popular artists prefer Sperzel because it’s made from durable material and is easy to install.
- Easy to install –you can set these up in minutes. It comes with all the things you need to install these on your guitar as soon as you get them.
- Comes in a complete set – this set has all the things you need to install the tuners. It comes with washers and knobs for all six tuners.
- 18:1 Gear ratio
- All six tuners in one set
- With black coating
- With thumbscrew mechanism
7. Grover Roto-Grip Tuners (502G)
Best Gold Roto-Grip Tuners in the Market
Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5
The Grover Roto-Grip Tuners measure 9 x 5 x 2 inches and is the perfect replacement for non-locking Grover tuners on any kind of guitar. No matter what type of guitar you have, these have a great fit and will also replace your non-locking tuners and keep your instrument in tune for a long time. Once installed, these will improve tuning stability and will keep your guitar in tip-top playing shape. These will stay in shape and are very easy to install as well.
The Grover Roto-Grip Tuners have a gold color design that increases their overall appeal, aside from their functionality. You will get six pieces in a set and have an 18:1 Rotomatic design. Just like all Grover locking tuners, this comes with a thumbscrew mechanism that locks the string into place to keep your guitar in tune and ready to play.
- With the Roto-Grip mechanism – the Roto-Grip mechanism is a simple style tuner feature that will grip guitar strings firmly and keep it in place for a long time.
- With a lovely gold color – yes, the most striking thing about these tuners is that it’s covered in lovely gold color. Although not appealing to all, it enhances the value of your instrument no matter what type of guitar you play.
- With a thumbscrew mechanism- the thumbscrew mechanism allows you to hold the strings firmly aside from just relying on the tuner heads. This steadies the strings and keeps these firm, so the tone won’t change at all.
- Comes in a set of six – get this set with all six gold-colored locking tuners.
- Easy to install – since you have all you need in the set, installation is breezy. But if you’re unsure, you can ask a professional to do this for you.
- Roto-Grip locks on all six tuners
- Gold plated
- Six pieces in a set
- Complete set for installation
8. HipShot Grip-Lock 6 Inline Enclosed Staggered Post-Locking Tuners
Best Chrome-Plated Staggered Universal Locking Tuner
Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Most guitar players remain skeptical when it comes to using staggered locking tuners is because of the fit. Almost all of these tuners will be improperly installed because it requires a mounting plate for installation. However, there are some guitars that work well with staggered locking tuners.
The Hipshot locking tuners are a good fit for Strats such as the Fender electric guitar series; these will not fit other guitar peg holes. This is why you need to make sure that the staggering guitar and the HipShot tuner ratios match. The HipShot Grip-Lock comes with a 16:1 grip ratio and is a blessing for a Fender Strat. In varying heights, the HipShot staggered options work perfectly.
- Easy and quick to install – this is unlike other staggered kits because it is a tuner upgrade kit with the mounting place. You can install this right away and will work for all types of guitars.
- Comes with the universal mounting plate – the UMP is a special adaptor that will let you install this tuner easily on any kind of guitar with no other hardware or tools needed
- No need to drill or screw – no need to wreck your guitar or use drills and power tools just to install a new set of tuners.
- Precise tuners – these are precise, and this will make changing easy. These tuners will keep your strings in perfect tune for a long period of time.
- Chrome-plated tuners – these are chrome tuners and thus won’t bend, scratch, or change its shape for a long time.
- With the Universal Mounting Plate
- Retrofits your guitar
- Retrofits guitar with a 25/64″ headstock hole
- 6 in-line tuners
9. HipShot 6GLO Grip-Lock Locking Tuning Machines
Best Black Locking Tuners
Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Hipshot has another set of impressive locking tuners, but this time, this set is in black. These tuners have a 3 plus 3 design that is compatible with almost all headstocks. It has an 18:1 gear ratio, which his basically a standard in the industry and is one of the most applicable any kind of guitar from acoustic to electric as well as acoustic-electric guitars.
The material construction of this tuners is one of the greatest aspects. If you have a tuner that is always going off-tune each time you play, get hold of these Hipshot grip-lock locking tuners and enjoy the best of your guitar music rendition.
Installation is very easy, and this all because of the 3 + 3 headstock configuration. According to manufacturers, these locking tuners can improve your tuning stability by 30%.
- Luxurious black cover – with a lovely black cover that sets it apart from other standard locking tuners. These are also available in gold and chrome, choose one that will match your style.
- Easy to install – this is very easy to install, and it will only take minutes to do. Because it comes with all the parts you need, you won’t have to look elsewhere for parts.
- It comes in a set – no need to buy installation hardware, and in fact, it does not need additional hardware for installation as well.
- Compatible with all headstocks – this is compatible with all kinds of headstocks and thus with all kinds so guitars, including traditional acoustic and electric guitars and electric-acoustic guitar models.
- 3+3 design
- With 18:1 gear ratio
- Improves tuning ability by 30%
10. Dopro Black 2 Pin Locking Guitar Tuners
Best Pin-Locking Guitar Tuners
Editor’s Rating: 2.8 out of 5
The Dopro pin-locking guitar tuners are yours if you are in search of a tuner with a 16:1 tuning ratio. These are compatible with guitars that have 10mm tuning holes. This is a good tuner whether you have a Fender, Stratocaster or Telecaster because these are designed for American guitars.
With a set of tuners, you will have six pieces in a set. Each of these comes with a smooth, mirror finish, which makes the guitar shine in all angles. And aside from great looks, the Dopro locking tuners are very easy to install and use. You only need to slip the strings through the holes and tighten according to your taste. And with washers and bushings that fit the tuners, you are ready to install it the minute you get home.
- For modern guitars – the Dopro is designed for modern guitars with a 10mm tuner hole. It may not fit old-style guitars but is perfect for most modern and US-made guitar models.
- With a flawless finish and good quality – the lovely, sleek design will enhance the looks and style of your guitar and adds value to it as well in case you want to sell it.
- Fits most American made guitars – this locking tuner fits all US-made guitars and more. Just check if your modern guitar has the correct hole for easy and seamless installation.
- With 16:1 tuning ratio
- Fits 10mm tuning holes
- With two pins and no mounting screws
- Flawless, smooth mirror-like finish
- Fits all American guitars
Check the following when buying a locking tuner
Check the locking gear ratio
The locking gear ratio (18:1 or 16:1, the two most common) should match the guitar you have. 16:1 are usually for headstocks with 10mm tuning holes, while the 18:1 is for traditional headstocks. You must check this firsthand as incorrect gear ratios are a waste of money.
Choose locking tuners that come in a complete set
Most come in a set, but still, some are sold a piece. Look for the ones with turrets, bushings, and washers. You can check this out from the specs and double-check if this is not indicated.
Choose tuners that match your style
Tuners come in various colors, styles, and shapes. Chrome is common, but not all prefer their headstocks to shine. Some are happy with black, while some want stylish and luxurious gold.
What are Locking Tuners and Why You Need Them?
Locking tuners are special tools that you use to replace ordinary tuners. These have added features that will prevent the strings from losing their tension. You need them to keep your strings in tune and to keep your guitar read to play after every performance.
How to find the right tuners for your guitar?
Start by checking the gear ratio, which basically tells you which ones will match your guitar head. 18:1 are for standard guitars while 16:1 are for modern guitars. Always look for tuners that will also match your style. There are chrome tuners, gold tuners, black and gold tuners, and more.
Our top locking tuner is the Fender Locking Tuners. These are the best because of many reasons. First, these tuners are lightweight at only 10.4 ounces, so you won’t have to deal with a heavy headstock and strain on your instrument.
Fender tuners will work properly no matter what type of guitar you have. These are stock tuners fitted with wooden holders that make this easy to use and tune. For a beginner, these could be the perfect tuners to upgrade and replace a set of standard tuners.
These tuners are well constructed and won’t be subject to wear and tear. Most of the users claim that they have used their tuners for many years and are still in good condition. However, not everyone appreciates the sleek and shiny chrome finish.
The Fender Locking Tuners are in a set, and thus, you’ll have everything you need to install this right away.