One of my favorite guitars is my Gibson Les Paul BFG and I use it in my live band regularly. It sounds great and has very unique tones for a Gibson. It’s also got fairly cheap parts on it thanks to Gibson building it as more of a budget Les Paul. Recently I was stringing it up and as I was putting on the low E-String the string windings lifted the post right out of the tuning machine! I couldn’t believe it because I had never had a problem with Grover Tuners before. Let’s just say I’m less than impressed with the Grover Tuners build quality.
So I immediately contacted Gibson to see if I could purchase a replacement Tuner from them. The answer from Gibson was “We don’t supply replacement tuners for our instruments, you’ll have to purchase them from somewhere else.” Well I was pretty let down because I wanted a tuner to match the rest of the tuning machines that still worked on the guitar. They are a lovely distressed black chrome color. So here’s a big thumbs-down to Gibson support for their instruments.
That put me on a search for a replacement tuning machine for my Gibson Les Paul BFG. Well, nobody had any distressed black chrome tuning machines so I decided that it was time to make the guitar better and install locking tuners on the guitar. I checked out the standard Sperzels and a few others and finally decided on the Planet Waves Locking Tuners with built-in string trimmers. I had to go with solid Black or Chrome tuning machines so I went with the black to match the overall color scheme of my Les Paul BFG.
These are really fascinating tuners because of their built-in string trimming capability. They function just like most of the locking tuners out there. You simply pull the string through a hole in the middle of the tuner, pull the string tight and lock the string in place by turning a knob on the bottom of the tuner. At this point the guitar is about ½ to ¾ of a turn on the tuner from being in tune.
As you tune your guitar the loose end of the string comes into contact with the built-in trimming mechanism and it clips the string off flush with the tuning post as you turn the string. It’s really amazing and has worked flawlessly for me! There are no sharp edges to cut your fingers on this trimming mechanism. After the string is clipped there are no hanging pieces of string to poke and cut your fingers either. It’s a really great feature on these locking tuners.
What I really love about them is the fact that I can have my Les Paul’s strings completely changed and in tune in about 4 minutes flat. I am so glad my tuner broke so I could replace the entire set with these sweet Planet Waves Locking Tuners!
Installation of the tuners themselves was also a breeze. They fit the Les Pauls tuning machine holes perfectly with absolutely no drilling or routing of any kind. The tuners were as easy to install as unscrewing the original set of tuning machines, sliding the old machines out and sliding the new tuning machines into the holes in the headstock. The screws lined up perfectly and I had the entire set installed in 15 minutes.
My Gibson Les Paul BFG stays in tune better than ever and changing the strings is actually fun now. I still us a little Big Bends Nut Sauce in the nut string slots and on the bridge pieces to keep the tuning even more stable. I highly recommend the Planet Waves Locking Tuners with Built-In String trimmer as an easy and important upgrade to any Gibson Les Paul guitar.