While auditioning parts as part of the ongoing Mongrel Strat Project, I tried out my first set of Planet Waves Auto-Trim Locking Guitar Machines. I’m really digging them! They lock to pitch via a little button on the back, much like Sperzel locking tuners. But when you raise the strings to pitch, they automatically get snipped by the tuners. Smooth!
They’re nicely made, with an 18:1 ratio and a substantial feel. (I got the six-in-line set, though they also have a three-on-a-side model.)
I’m especially digging the fact that, once you’ve snipped a string, it’s easy to loosen and remove the strings for changing pickups, pickguards, and so forth. There’s no curled or barbed end on the strings, so they slide right back into the tuner when your work is done. The only catch: The snipping process can be a bit tough with heavier strings. I installed am .011-.052 set, and it took a bit of work to slice through that fat E string. Not a problem in the end, but it could be an issue with higher gauges.
Now back to messing up some mongrel strats! In the meantime, what are some of your favorite tuners these days?