The Cook Trio

The 8 Best Acoustic Guitar Tuning Pegs for 2022

Acoustic guitar tuning pegs are rarely thought of as important accessories for a guitar. Rarely do people discuss the benefits of having good tuning pegs or which company or guitar produces the best ones. When shopping for guitars, people often pay the most attention to the sound and look the guitar produces, disregarding the quality of tuning pegs used.

This, however, changes once the tuning pegs stop working. Every experienced guitarist has faced the same problem, after using the same instrument for years or decades, wearing down the parts of the guitar each time they play until finally, the tuning pegs give up. This is a frustrating issue and may be very difficult to fix.

The importance of tuning pegs in guitars cannot be overstated. The common view of tuning pegs is that they exist solely to tune the strings on the guitar and so can be used to change pitch and the overall sound of the guitar. However, they also stop the strings themselves from slipping out of the guitar. This means that without functioning tuning pegs, the guitar in question will be unusable.

Check also Best Acoustic Blues Guitars and Acoustic Guitar Starter Kits.

 

That is why it’s important to pick out the tuning pegs that are high quality and best for you and to know all of their features and limitations beforehand. Keep reading to find out the 8 best acoustic guitar tuning pegs you can buy for your guitar in 2022.

The TP20 series of acoustic guitar tuning pegs by YMC is a great option for many looking to buy some tuning pegs.

YMC has taken care to ensure these tuning pegs are as wide-ranging as possible, so your guitar is likely compatible. These pegs work with most acoustic and electric guitars in general. There’s a reason YMC is a respected name in instrument gear manufacturing.

This set also contains 6 washers, 6 screws and 2 premium guitar protector strap locks for added convenience, so you won’t need anything else to attach your new tuners to the guitar. 

The TP20 series of acoustic guitar tuning pegs are highly convenient and can be used by most guitar players due to the pegs’ wide range of compatibility. They are also excellently designed, with a stylish chrome look that covers the whole peg, and they rarely allow strings to go out of tune. They are also unlikely to stop working or need a replacement for a very long time.

Pros
  • Low price of $9.95
  • Attractive design
  • Material needed for installation is included
Cons
  • Tuning pegs will not last as long as the pricier ones on this list

Next on our list are locking tuners manufactured by Fender. Fender is a brand that needs no introduction and is known and loved by most guitarists for manufacturing cheap and reliable gear.

 Fender has you covered whether you need something big like a guitar or an amp or something small like a set of acoustic guitar tuning pegs.

These locking tuners are sleek and stylish, with a distinct chrome finish that reflects the quality of the product.

The modern tuners themselves are very well designed, with customers commonly reporting that their guitars seem to hold their tune for longer after installing these Fender tuners than they did before.

This tuner set contains all the mounting hardware you’ll need to perform an installation. There are also bushings and washings bundled in. Fender has included 3 long post and 3 short post tuners in the set so that they can be easily applied to many guitars.

Buying gear from Fender is a safe bet. If you decide to buy these tuners, you should be worry-free knowing you’ve bought something that is guaranteed to work as advertised and will last a long time.

Pros
  • Excellent build quality, very low chance of degradation
  • Good at keeping strings in tune
  • The manufacturer is Fender, one of the most respected names in the business
Cons
  • Price is high at $48.99

Next, we have another excellent set of tuning pegs produced by YMC. This entry is a solid option for most guitarists looking for acoustic guitar tuning pegs, especially since these pegs can be used on almost any tuning guitar.

These pegs are semi-closed and sport an eye-catching chrome finish. The price is low, so you’ll be getting excellent value for money spent.

 Customers note the excellent build quality and the usability of these acoustic guitar tuning pegs, offering an easy installation process and a long-lasting life thanks to the heavy-duty composition. 

These tuning pegs keep the guitar strings in line quite well, and you’ll find you need to tune your guitar quite infrequently if you decide to use them. They are also likely to last for a long time, and when you eventually have to replace them, you’ll be happy knowing you barely spent any money at all.

YMC offers these tuning pegs in a pack of six, with six screws and six washers, so you won’t have to buy anything else to install them. They also come with a few picks and guitar strap locks.

Thanks to the excellent price point and the wide range of compatibility, these tuning pegs are among the strongest options on this list.

Pros
  • Low price of $9.99
  • Excellent value for money
  • Wide range of compatibility
Cons
  • Pegs may not last as long as the others on this list

This tuning peg is made by D’Addario is another excellent option, especially for those who hate the tediousness of installing them or simply aren’t sure how to go about it.

As the name suggests, these pegs have a special auto-trimming feature designed by Ned Steinberger. Once you install the pegs and tune your guitar, the excess string will automatically be cut off. This shortens perhaps the most tedious step of an already tedious process.

The six pegs included also have clamps, something which is rarely seen in the competition. This means that when you are installing these pegs, you won’t have to wrap the string around the body of the peg several times; just clamp it once, tune it, and you’re good to go.

These auto-trim acoustic guitar tuning pegs feature a die-cast housing, making for a highly durable body. The locking mechanism is high quality, and the gear ratio is high, which allows for very accurate and delicate guitar tuning.

Thanks to the durable and rugged body design, these pegs hold the strings in place so well that regular tuning will rarely be necessary. These pegs are a good fit for users who enjoy using a tremolo or those who engage in heavy strumming sessions.

Pros
  • Beautiful design with lots of color options
  • Auto-tuning feature helps with installation
  • Good build quality
Cons
  • High price of $64.49

The Hipshot Grip-Locking tuners are an attractive option for guitarists who value excellent build and quality and a sleek look.

This is the best guitar tuning pegs ship with something known as a Universal Mount Plate, or UMP, which speeds up the installation process significantly. You won’t have to modify your guitar’s headstock to install these pegs.

They feature a high gear ratio and modern tuners stability, allowing for a great and intricate tuning experience, which many advanced or particular guitarists will be happy with.

But the most important consideration is how well they function as tuning pegs. The Grip-Locking Tuners are excellent at holding the strings in place, allowing little string movement. The special locking mechanisms developed by Hipshot eliminate the need for multiple string wraps and winding the string at all.

The Grip-Lock a best guitar tuning pegs feature mini-buttons that are finished in chrome but can also be customized to feature other colors. Hipshot customizes many of the orders on demand. All you need to do is send them an email.

There is also a full factory warranty so that you can exchange these tuners should anything happen to them. Hipshot has an excellent customer support system in place to help you out with any issues you might face.

Pros
  • Innovative Grip-lock mechanism makes installation easy and convenient
  • Striking yet understated design
  • Well made uses material that lasts
  • Comes with Universal Mount Plate
Cons
  • High price of $65.99

Next, we have the excellent traditional guitar tuners produced by Gotoh. These modern tuners are stylish in an understated way, sporting the traditional yet always classy acoustic guitar tuning peg look with just a little bit of flash.

These tuners have a high tuning worm gear ratio allowing for precise tuning of the guitar. They are also very rigid and, as Gotoh states, are “Rock-Solid,” leaving very little room for string movement.

These tuning pegs keep the strings in place to such an extent that you won’t have to retune your guitar for a long time after you do it once. Thanks to the sturdy design and professional quality, tough materials used to make the body, you can expect these tuning pegs to last long.

This set uses an innovative locking mechanism to reduce string wobble and lower the chances that a string will go out of tune after an extended playing guitar session. The gears within the pegs are sealed gear tuners and coated with polymer to provide constant lubrication, something which will be important in the long run.

These tuners are ideal for guitarists who prefer non-locking tremolo guitars and allow heavy string bending. Thanks to the unique locking mechanisms, there is virtually no backlash, and string looseness is greatly reduced.

Each set ships with 6 washings and 6 mounting screws to help with installation.

Pros
  • High gear ratio
  • Supports string bending and strumming
  • Beautiful design
  • Well made body that is built to last
Cons
  • Price of $65.03 is high

The Wilkinson Chrome E-Z best guitar tuning pegs are an affordable option that appeals to many who want to spruce up their guitars.

The quality of this set of tuners is very high, especially when compared to the comparatively lower price. It isn’t dirt-cheap like the tuners offered by YMC, but these are a bit higher quality and certainly won’t break the bank.

For a fraction of the price of competing, big-name brands, you can get a set of tuning pegs that are as good as any in the market, with a stylish, fully chrome design and a rugged body.

These tuning pegs have a very high gear ratio of 19:1. This, coupled with the special E-Z locking mechanism these tuners feature (the namesake of the set), means strings have a lot of stability and are unlikely to go out of tune or get detached. The locking system also eliminates backlash and slippage, convenient for all the strummers out there.

However, these pegs are non-staggered and will need a strong tree if you want to apply all of them to the guitar. They fit 10mm tuner hole headstock guitars.

Pros
  • Low price of $27.99
  • Good value for money
  • Durable design
  • Holds tune for a long time
  • Attractive design
Cons
  • None

These Grover-style acoustic guitar tuning pegs made by Gusnilo are a set of high-quality tuning pegs that won’t break the bank. They’re cheaper than most of the entries on this list.

They feature a striking gold finish that may seem exaggerated but somehow blends well with any guitar design. These tuners are made out of durable ABS plastic, hard acrylic, and zinc alloy. This means that the Grover Tuners won’t rust and will last for a long time. Since the material used is cheaper, the price is lower too.

But these tuners don’t skimp out on their main job. They have a high gear ratio and are very stable, allowing for highly accurate tuning, pleasing seasoned guitar players.

Gunilla says these tuning pegs can mainly be used to replace old or fault tuning pegs on older guitars, and for that job, they are perfect. For a low price, you can upgrade one of the most important parts of your old and worn-down guitar without even needing to replace any screws (if the tuners fit).

The body has been electroplated with zinc to keep the same high-quality feel that the other entries on this list have.

If you’re looking to replace the tuners on your old guitar and want something cheap and easy to install that still has good sound quality, you should consider the Gusnilo Grover Tuners.

Pros
  • Striking design and color
  • Excellent build quality
  • Holds tune well
  • Low price of $17.99
Cons
  • None

Buyer’s Guide

Shopping for acoustic guitar tuning pegs can be quite complicated and confusing. Often, it’s unclear whether or not the tuning peg you’re considering will fit in your guitar. It’s also difficult to distinguish between competing tuners and to understand which tuning pegs are good and the qualities you should look for in tuning pegs. 

We’ve prepared a guide to help you along with the process of buying and installing new tuners.

How to tell if your tuning pegs need to be replaced

The first step in your upgrade journey is to check whether or not you need new tuning pegs in the first place.

If your guitar is old and worn down, it’s more than likely the tuners aren’t working as intended anymore. If you find that the guitar doesn’t hold its tune for too long, it’s most likely because the tuners are either low quality or have gotten worse with age and/or use.

However, the biggest sign (and the one that commonly causes people to buy new pegs) is when the strings are barely held in place by the guitar and are almost unplayable. The guitar will barely hold its tune over a session, and the strings will be very loose. The guitar won’t sound optimal no matter how much time you spend tinkering with the tune.

If you have experienced any of these signs, it’s time to consider replacing your old tuners.

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The benefits of getting new or upgraded tuning pegs

The main and most obvious benefit of getting new tuning pegs is that they will hold tune for longer and keep the strings in place for longer periods of time since they are newer.

However, upgrading also poses a good opportunity for many guitarists. Instead of buying another generic set of guitar tuners, you can set your sights a bit higher and get better acoustic guitar tuning pegs.

Stock tuning pegs are rarely professional quality since many manufacturers assume customers won’t care about the quality of the tuners they bundle in. Once your guitar’s stock tuners need replacing, if you invest in high-quality pegs, you’ll find that your guitar sounds better overall and can hold tune for significantly longer than your original stock tuners did, even when they were new.

Well-made tuning pegs are built to last. If you invest in a good set, you’ll be able to play your guitar in top condition for a long, long time.

How to decide which tuning pegs are right for you

Now that you’ve decided you need to upgrade your pegs, the next step is to figure out the price range and quality of tuning pegs you want to buy.

If you’re a beginner or have a cheap guitar, you should consider a cheap set that is still good quality, such as something from YMC.

However, if you’re a bit more experienced and you want something that will give you more control over the guitar’s sound, opt for something more expensive, which has a higher gear ratio.

The impact tuning pegs have on the guitar’s sound is something that goes underappreciated by many. Tuners with a high gear ratio will give you more control over the tuning of the guitar, placing more control in your hands and allowing for more precision.

High-end tuners are also long-lasting and, in a way, the best value for money as long as you make use of all the advantages possible.

Finding out which tuning pegs fit your guitar

The first and most important concrete step to take once you’ve decided to upgrade your tuner pegs is to find out which pegs fit your guitar. 

Tuning pegs are almost never universal. Each peg is designed for a particular guitar type of headstock or has a range of guitars that it’s compatible with. If you buy a peg that is too big or too small, you’ll need to resize the holes on the headstock or modify the headstock entirely. This is inconvenient at best and very difficult at worst.

In order to tell which pegs fit your guitar, you should take a look at your guitar’s serial number. The serial number is usually found on the back of the guitar’s headstock. Once you have this number, consult the internet for information and specifications regarding your guitar.

An alternative is to find out the make and model of your guitar and go from there. You’ll know exactly which pegs you can install into your guitar if you follow this step.

Qualities to look out for in tuning pegs

You should look out for many different things to find good quality tuning pegs. Getting the right pegs can drastically improve your overall playing guitar experience and the guitar’s sound quality.

However, getting the wrong pegs can make your playing experience significantly worse. Pegs that are oversized or too heavy can be cumbersome, requiring modifications to the headstock and can cause the guitar to hold tune for a shorter period of time.

You mainly need to keep an eye out for a few things. 

First is the gear ratio. A gear ratio is used to describe the tuning precision of the original tuning pegs. The higher the ratio is, the more turns you’ll need to complete a full revolution. This means in pegs with a higher gear ratio you’ll need more turns to achieve the same revolutions compared to a peg with a smaller ratio. 

Since high ratio tuning pegs affect string tension in smaller increments, you’ll be able to tune the guitar with more precision. However, high gear ratios are more common inexpensive tuners, whereas cheaper tuning pegs typically employ smaller gear ratios.

Another thing to look out for is the presence of staggered height tuners. Tuners that have a staggered height are more usable than their non-staggered counterparts for most people, especially if you’re using in-line tuners.

Staggered height tuners eliminate the need for string trees on guitars and improve sound quality overall.

Locking tuners are another category of tuners and are mostly used in guitars with a tremolo bridge, in which case they are preferred over standard tuners as they hold tune better.

These tuners are quite convenient because they have a locking mechanism that removes the need to wind the string around the peg multiple times. Instead, you lock the string into the clamp and leave it as is, speeding up the installation process.

What to expect from the installation process

The installation process is perhaps the most difficult part of upgrading the tuners on your guitar. That’s why it’s important to know what to expect beforehand.

The installation process is the easiest if you use tuners that match your guitar’s specifications. This way, everything is already in place, and all you have to do is undo a few screws, replace the tuning pegs, wind the strings around the peg and screw it back in. Easy enough.

However, if you decide to buy tuners that are a bit too big or small for your guitar, you’ll likely have to make some modifications to the headstock. This process is best handled by professionals.

Some tuners, such as the Hipshot Grip-locking tuner, contain special devices which you can use to attach the tuner to the headstock easily, but this is not usually the case.

Winding the strings is the next major step in the installation process and can also be very difficult to manage, especially for those who are inexperienced.

Some tuners, such as the D’Addario Auto-trim Tuning Pegs, cut off the excess string on their own as you tune the guitar, but usually, you have to do this yourself. Locking tuners incorporate a clamp that holds onto the string without it needing to be wound around the peg.

FAQs

Which companies produce the best guitar tuning pegs?

Nowadays, many companies produce cheap and accessible acoustic guitar tuning pegs, and most of them can be found on Amazon. However, if you research and read reviews regarding the companies that make the best tuning pegs, you’ll find the same few names over and over again.

These companies include Fender, YMC, Hipshot, Gotoh, etc.

YMC produces tuning pegs and other assorted guitar accessories for a cheap price. These accessories are not necessarily the highest quality, but they offer perhaps the best value for money.

Companies like Fender and Hipshot, on the other hand, have a reputation for producing extremely high-quality gear. As a result, the price of their gear tends to be higher than average.

How can I tell if my guitar needs new tuning pegs?

The easiest way to tell if your guitar needs new tuning pegs is by playing it and seeing how long it holds its tune.

Guitars that have tuning pegs that need replacement don’t hold their tune for long, and if, in the middle of a playing session, you notice the pitch of the strings changing or if you need to tune your guitar frequently, then it’s more than likely that you need new tuners.

However, if you choose to ignore these signs, there will come a time when the strength of the tuning pegs deteriorates to such an extent that it’s almost impossible to play the guitar.

Strings will become loose, and the guitar will lose its tune in the middle of playing sessions. It is better to avoid this scenario entirely and upgrade when you begin to notice these signs.

What’s the difference between cheap and expensive tuning pegs?

Cheap acoustic guitar tuning pegs can be tempting to many customers who just want an easy fix for their guitar and continue on their guitar-playing journey.

These tuning pegs are cost-effective but usually of lower quality when compared to more expensive tuning pegs. They are mainly used to upgrade old guitars to bring them to a playable state and nothing more than that.

For this purpose, they are very useful. For a very low cost, customers get excellent string whiplash control and tuners that can hold tune for a long time, at least until they degrade.

Higher-end tuning pegs are marketed towards experienced guitar players who can make full use of the advantages these pegs offer.

High-end tuners usually have a very high gear ratio, which allows for more precise tuning. These tuners have a more rugged body made of higher quality materials that last for a long time.

They also keep in tune for a long time, something which is important for advanced players and professionals who frequently play the guitar on tour.

Can I continue to use my old tuning pegs?

You can, and many people do, but as more and more time passes with the old tuning pegs still being used, the guitar will hold its tuneless and less. Some people are fine with that and think the routine need to tune the guitar is a smaller inconvenience than replacing the tuners.

However, there will definitely come the point when the tuners are simply too worn down to continue using and will need to be replaced anyway. So why not do it now?

Should I perform the installation myself?

Installing a full set of acoustic guitar tuning pegs can be very difficult. This doesn’t mean that it is impossible, but the only ones who should attempt something like this are advanced guitar players, technicians or people who have done more than enough research beforehand.

In some cases, the installation can be done easily by inexperienced guitarists. This is usually the case with tuners that are designed for the headstock of the guitar. In such cases, all that is needed is to unscrew a few screws, wind the string around the peg, cut off the excess and put it back in.

Other tuners make the installation experience even easier, with tuning pegs like the Hipshot Grip-locking tuner, including a clamp that you can use to hold the string in place.

This clamp eliminates the need to wind the string around the pegs and can be a big help to inexperienced users.

The D’Addario Auto-Trim tuners cut off the excess string as you are tuning the guitar, something which also speeds up the process.

However, you should not attempt a complicated installation unless you are experienced. Headstock modifications and deepening of the peg holes should only be done by experts; otherwise, you risk damaging the guitar.

Conclusion

It’s clear that in the modern era of convenience, there are countless options available to each and every consumer. If you are in the market for some new tuners, chances are there is a set of the best guitar tuning pegs available in stores that are perfectly tailored to your needs.

Whether it’s cheap tuning pegs for beginner or intermediate guitar players who want something cheap yet functional to upgrade or restore their guitar, or high-end tuning pegs aimed towards advanced players who want to get the best sound possible from their guitar, there’s something here for everyone.

However, our pick would have to go to the Fender Locking Tuners. These tuners are a bit on the expensive side, but, as is usual with Fender products, they are high-quality.

Fender doesn’t compromise on design or build quality here. The look is sleek and fits with most guitars. The body is durable and won’t wear down easily. It is also highly functional and will last for a very long time. However, this set of tuners is not compatible with every guitar.

Whatever your personal preference maybe, all the products on this list are great and fit the range of most common types of guitars. Whichever one you pick, you won’t be disappointed. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a set today!

Simon Mattav

I am the owner of The Cook Trio, a three-piece band that has been performing in the Chicago area for over 10 years. I have a passion for music – everything from guitar to songs. My passion is writing songs about my life experiences, feelings and emotions through different genres. My inspirations are some of today’s popular songwriters such as Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez among others.

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