While most guitars come with the standard tuners, you may be on the fence as to whether you want to switch to a more versatile tuner known as a ‘locking tuner’ Of course, adding locking tuners means that you’ll need to make a slight modification to your headstock, although this relatively easy to do yourself, or to get somebody else to do it, which will involve drilling holes into your guitar!
Don’t worry; this isn’t as scary as it may first sound, but it is worthwhile as locking tuners do provide you with a lot of benefits. Of course, no tuner is going to be able to keep your guitar perfectly in tune at all times, a locking tuner has the notable advantage of being able to clamp and ‘lock’ your strings in place, minimizing the risk of them slipping or loosening while you play.
However, locking tuners also add the incredible benefit of allowing you to change your strings rapidly, simply by unlocking your tuner, taking out the old string and then locking the new one into place, a common time-consuming issue that most guitarists face.
If these sound like benefits that you want to be taking advantage of, then a set of locking tuners is definitely for you. Today, we’re going to explore four of the best locking tuners that are currently available, allowing you to find the best set that is suited for your requirements and budget.
Sperzel 6 In-Line Locking Tuners (Black)
To start off our list of best locking tuners, we’ve chosen this outstanding 6-pack set from Sperzel, an all-rounded mid-range locking tuner set that is suitable for all kinds of guitar and budget. These professional tuners can be used on most major guitar brands and is, in fact, one of the most popular after-sale guitar heads available today.
Since these are in-line tuners, this means they can only be used on headstocks where the tuners are all on the same side, but if you own a guitar like this, then this could be the set you’ve been looking for. While this set provides you with all the benefits you’d expect, including fast string-changing processes and locked in strings, you’ll also be able to bask in the opportunities that come with the exceptional post height.
This means you don’t need to invest in any string retainers while installing these tuners, ensuring you have a more open and sensitive response rate across every single one of your strings. This means you’ll be able to maintain the same, if not a better, tone to your guitar, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful sounds that you can play.
It’s also worth noting that this locking tuner set doesn’t come with instructions in your packaging, but this is easily worked around by following the same process you would with any locking tuners, or by simply finding a guide online.
- 6-unit In-Line set
- Incredible post height for superior sound response
- Easy and fast to install
- Best for beginners and professionals alike
- Not compatible with double-sided headstocks
- Does not come with installation instructions
Fender Chrome Locking Tuners
Fender is one of the most iconic guitar manufacturing brands in the world, so when it comes to their locking tuners, there are simply no better alternatives that are as easy to install or provide the same quality as these. Since this set is made using high-quality, highly durable chrome, you can be sure that this is a set that will last for many years to come.
At its core, these tuners have been made and designed to be the same as the ones used on Fender American Deluxe series, as well as all Fender’s Telecaster or Stratocaster models. This means if you own one of these guitars, you can simply take out your existing tuners, and drop these ones straight into place.
If you’re installing these locking tuners on other model or brand of guitar, you’re going to need to make some slight modifications during installation, but this won’t take you longer than a few minutes. We love the fact these tuners come in chrome, since they not only provide that level of strength on your guitar, they also look amazing.
As with all Fender products, they place the utmost time and care into the design and production of their products, ensuring you won’t have to worry about intonation, and can turn your attention to solely focusing on your style and practice of making music, all for an affordable price.
- Outstanding high-quality chrome build
- Effortlessly compatible with a range of Fender models
- Quick to install on all brands and makes of guitar
- Incredible sound quality
- Some packs may not be staggered height
Grover 502C Roto-Grip Locking Romomatic Tuners
If you’re looking for a locking tuner set that is compatible with a double-sided headstock, where you have three tuners on each side of your guitar, but still require a superior, long-lasting set that provides the sound quality and response you’ve been looking for, turn your attention to this outstanding set by Grover.
Let’s start at the beginning. When you first install these tuners, you’ll see just how painless and effortless it is. Simply line up your tuner, pop the screw through the post hole, wrap around once and then tighten your string by twisting it, that’s literally all you have to do! The locking head itself is designed to emulate the coveted and world-renowned 18:1 Robomatic design, tipped with the handy ‘thumbscrew’ mechanism which makes tuning and changing your strings a breeze.
Thanks to this awesome design, this makes this set ideal for any model and make of guitar and will be compatible with the clear majority of guitar models you might have, such as Fender and Yamaha, if the headstock has three tuners per side.
With your purchase, which falls towards to upper price bracket, you’ll find everything you need in the kit to make the change yourself, meaning you won’t have to take your guitar to a potentially expensive and long-winded repair or music store. Thanks to the chrome build of these babies, you can ensure your guitar stays tuned for longer and makes string replacement an easy, stress-free process.
- Everything you need to install included with your purchase
- Highly durable chrome build
- 3×3 headstock compatibility
- 18:1 gear ratio for maximum compatibility
- Premium price tag
Wilkinson 6 In-Line Chrome E-Z LOK Post Guitar Locking Tuners
Finally, to conclude our list of outstanding locking tuners, we’ve chosen this absolutely winning set from Wilkinson. Suitable for guitarists who are beginners or professionals, these affordable, solid chrome tuners are everything you could want and more and won’t make a dent in your budget.
While this may not be suitable for all guitars, if you own a modern guitar with 25/64” (10mm) tuner holes with a 45° fixing tag, these are ideal for you, so make sure that you check! Designed using a 19:1 tuning ratio, perfect for finding the sound quality and response that you’ve been looking for, this in-line tuners are the optimal choice for guitarists with their tuners all on the same side of their headstock.
You’ll also find the outstanding EZ-LOK technology that these tuners provide. As the title suggests, this EZ-LOK technology simply means you can push your strings into place, lock them in and then smoothly turn them until you find the setup that you’re happy with.
It’s worth noting that this set doesn’t come with a set of instructions, however, this is easily overcome by simply referring to the imagery on the packaging, or taking your guitar to your local repair store, but this is an installation process you should be able to manage effortlessly, especially if this is something that you’ve done before.
The tuners themselves aren’t staggered in height, ensuring the very best response while also allowing you to retain the quality and setup of your string tree. Everything you need for a complete installation, including screws, washers and bushings, is all included with your purchase, meaning as soon as this comes through your door, you can set it up and be playing within the hour!
- High-quality chrome builds for a long-lasting lifetime
- Compatible with all major in-line guitars
- Everything included for easy installation
- Retains your string tree
- EZ-LOK technology
- Only fits 25/64” tuner holes with 45° fixing tags
- Non-staggered height may not be suitable for some guitars
It’s safe to say that there’s a lot of amazing choice to discover when it comes to choosing your next set of locking tuners.
Thanks to modern technology and design, you can see that all the sets have been designed with quality and price in mind, which simply allows you to choose a set that will fit your guitar, in terms of fixing holes and headstock alignment, before installing them effortlessly.
This means you can fix up or upgrade your guitar in a matter of minutes, allowing you to get right back into doing what you love the most!