Over the years Martin has installed tuners made by
Grover, Kluson and Waverly on their 14 fret guitars.
Tuners for 14 Fret Martin Guitars
Thick "Double Line" Grover "Geared Peg"
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 time.
Thin Grover "Geared Peg" Banjo
A smaller, less expensive version was used on the OM-18 and on
the early fourteen fret neck tenor
1931 Martin 0-18T
"Clipped-end" Grover G-98
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.
Beveled plate edges
Thin seamed buttons
1931 to 1934
1934 to 1935
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
These 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 tabs.
Marin 1933 0-17
"Pointed-end" Grover G-93 and
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
Beveled plate edges
buttons, oval on G-93
1936 to 1937
1938 to 1941
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 to 1942
1939 Martin D-28
Waverly 12:1 Wartime Tuners
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
This 1944 D-18 is an example of a wartime Martin with no
This 1946 000-18 is an example of an early post-war Martin with
Waverly 12:1 Wartime
"Teddy Bear" Tuners
These Waverly 12:1 tuners were also used during the war years,
from 1942 until 1947.
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
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
Grover Post-War Pointed-End
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
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
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.
Tuner replacement tutorial.
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