Does the Smallest Part Matter?

The 345 on the left has adaptor bushings (ferrules) and the one on the right is original.

I think I’ve covered just about every component of these guitars at least in a general way and most in minute detail. There is one I’ve missed and it may seem insignificant but when it comes to proper tuning, this little guy is pretty important. The ferrule. Huh? OK, the tuner bushings. You know, those little metal rings that the tuner shafts go through. This is a part you don’t really think about because its totally passive. It doesn’t really do anything but keep the tuner in place. They don’t break and they don’t wear out. They occasionally

The vintage one is on the left, the adaptor is on the right.

get a little loose but they generally keep a low profile and that’s why I haven’t even mentioned them until now. The tuner bushing or ferrule is a press fit sleeve-nickel on a 335 and gold plated nickel on a 345 and 355. They are knurled so that they stay in place without having to be screwed in or glued in. In order for the tuners to hold tune, they can’t move around and the ferrule, which fits snugly against the tuner shaft keeps movement to a minimum. So, they are completely necessary. Where folks run into trouble is when they take off a set of Grovers or Schallers and want to go back to the original or repro Klusons. The hole is too big and the shaft will move around in the ferrule causing tuning problems and even damage to the tuner itself. You can always dowel the holes and redrill them but thats a pretty delicate and time consuming process. Or you can get adaptor bushings that have a larger outside diameter to fit into the larger holes but the correct inside diameter for the Klusons. Whatever you do, if your ferrules get loose, don’t glue them in. It’ll solve the problem but if anyone ever need to get them out, you are making their lives very difficult-especially if you used Super glue. Pretty much everybody swapped out their Kluson in the 70’s for Grovers (or Schallers). These are held in place by a completely different set of parts, so along with a set of repro or vintage Klusons, you will need a set of ferrules which adapt the 13/32″ (10mm) holes in your headstock to the smaller 11/32″ holes that were drilled originally. Same deal with Schallers. These adaptors look pretty convincing and can go a long way in making your formerly Grover or Schaller equipped 335 look like it did when it left the factory.

This shows you how they work. Fat on the inside, skinny on the outside. It's tough to tell when they're on the guitar.

2 Responses to “Does the Smallest Part Matter?”

  1. GusJohnson says:

    I have this problem on my 1965 ES-330. It has the original Klusons back on, but the holes were widened for Grovers at some time. It feels like it should hold its tuning a little better… probably because the ugly, wider Grover to Kluson adaptor ferrules don’t seem to fit as flush as they should (especially on the G string and I’m using .12s) so I’m thinking of having the holes filled and re-drilled. However, there is a nice set of patent number Grovers in the case – I’m almost tempted to put them back on if I weren’t such a sucker for it looking original. In the mean time I’d like to get some better looking ferrules fitted with a smaller lip – do you know where I can buy some like the ones in the photos on this post?

  2. OK Guitars says:

    I got a set at Allparts for $7.50. They looked close enough to the originals that from a foot or two away, you couldn’t tell they were adaptors

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