Over the years Martin has installed tuners made by Grover,
Kluson and Waverly on their 14 fret guitars.
Tuners for 14 Fret Martin Guitars
"Double Line" Grover
"Geared Peg" Banjo Tuners
Grover "planetary" banjo style tuners were the first tuners used on a 14
fret Martin, before suitable tuners were specifically designed for a
modern, solid headstock.
Early 1930 Martin OM-28
This OM-28 has a mix of two slightly different versions of the
planetary banjo style tuners. While it might seem logical that one
of these was a later repacement, it's not at all unusual to find
slightly mismatched original tuners on Martin guitars from any period in
Thin Grover "Geared Peg" Banjo Tuners
A smaller, less expensive version was used on the OM-18 and on the early
fourteen fret neck tenor guitars.
1931 Martin 0-18T
Grover G-98 Tuners
These "clipped end" 6:1 ratio, beveled edge Grovers with seamed,
scalloped buttons were the first tuners specifically designed for the
new 14 fret guitars with a solid headstock.
Thin seamed buttons
1931 to 1934
1933 Martin OM-18
"Clipped-End" Waverly Tuners
A similar loooking, but cheaper "clipped end" 6:1 ratio tuner with a
non-beveled edge, most likely produced by
Waverly, but without a name on the front or back of the tuner
plate, appears on some of the less expensive Martins.
can be easy to confuse with the
Grovers, but note the oval buttons, Waverly gears with inset screw
and sharp bevel to the edge,
wider ends, with more plate area around small screws, and deeper
indent on the sides, with somewhat
broader and squarer
Marin 1933 0-17
and G-98 "Sta-Tite"
These round button G-93
Grovers with a 6:1 ratio were the first of a pointed plate, beveled
edge design that was used in the 1930's, were also common
in the 1950's, 1960's, and have been revived in recent years.
Later pointed plate Grovers had scalloped edged buttons.
Also notice the gears with a wide, flat top surface, while 1950's
and 1960's pointed plate Grovers have a bevel to the top edge of the
1936 Martin 0-17
Closed Grover G-111 Tuners
These wonderful enclosed Grover G-111 tuners were used on the D-28 from
1939 to 1942. A gold plated version are seen on D-45's, including
the one in the Martin Museum.
Thick, no seamed buttons
1939 Martin D-28
Waverly 12:1 Wartime
By the 1940s, most tuners had adopted a 12:1 gear ratio. These
Waverly 12:1 ratio tuners are seen on Martins from 1940 through 1946.
1940 Martin 000-18
Kluson 12:1 Open Wartime Tuners
These 12:1 ratio Kluson tuners are a grey non-plated version of a thin
geared, flat plate tuner that was used due to wartime metal restrictions
in 1943 and early 1944.
1943 Martin 00-18
The wartime Style 17 used a less expensive three on a strip version of
the Kluson rivited, flat plate tuners.
From 1944 to 1946, the 12:1 ratio Kluson flat plate tuners once again
had thicker gears, which can be identified by the bevel on the top edge
of the gear.
Here you can see the thin gears used in 1943, which may be referred to
as "pancake" gears...
...as compared to the thicker gears used in 1944:
Even the expensive D-28 Martins used tuners with plastic buttons during
the war years.
Wartime tuners through most if not all of 1945
also had no bushings around the string post to save metal.
This 1939 D-28 is an example of a pre-war Martin with hex bushings.
This 1944 D-18 is an example of a wartime Martin with no bushings.
This 1946 000-18 is an example of an early post-war Martin with round
Waverly 12:1 Wartime
"Teddy Bear" Tuners
These Waverly 12:1 tuners were also used during the war years, from 1942
While they appear to be cheaply made, they do have thicker gears than
the "pancake" gear wartime Klusons.
1946 Martin 000-18
Kluson Post-war Hexagonal Tuners
These 12:1 Klusons with rolled edges on wider plates were widely used by
Martin in the early 1950's.
Waverly "Round-end" Post-war Tuners
These Waverly 12:1 ratio tuners were common on Martins, and also seen on
many Gretsch guitars throughout the 1950's.
Martin 1953 0-18
This version of Grover G-98 pointed plate, beveled edge
Sta-tite tuners can be identified as "post-war" by their thin,
seamed, scalloped buttons and tapered gears with screws inset into
another taper on the top of the gear.
Pre-war versions have thicker scalloped buttons, or thin scalloped
buttons combined with clipped end plates.
These 12:1 ratio tuners were later copied by Waverly, Grover and others.
1962 Martin 000-18
The Grover Rotomatic "Pat. Pend. USA"stamped tuners were introduced in
late 1957 and common on D-28's and D-35's through the 1960's.
1965 Martin D-35
This 1966 D-35 shows hex bushings with washers. Smaller washers
were used in the first few years.
Many of the old plastic tuner buttons hold up quite well over the years,
but some crack and shrink. My friend Willi Henkes in Germany makes
perfect and inexpensive replacement plastic tuner buttons in cream and
white under the name Antique Acoustics, which are available from Elderly
Instruments by mail.
Acoustics CREAM tuner buttons from Elderly
Antique Acoustics BLACK tuner buttons from Elderly
Here's a short tutorial Willi made to show how to replace the cracked
and shrunken buttons easily.
To See Robert Corwin's Classic Photography of Folk and
Roots Musicians, visit:
For Information on
entire site copyright ©1998 through
2014 Robert Corwin/Photo-Arts. All rights reserved.
Exhibition, Publication, CD's,
Promotion, Web Pages, Tour Books,
to Purchase Photographic
If You Have Questions or
Suggestions About This Web Site or Vintage Martin Guitars: