New Tuning Pegs for that Masterbilt EF-500M

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

I’m enjoying some time in Hawai`i and part of the fun is getting back together with my Epiphone Masterbilt EF-500M. This is the first Epi EF-500 I bought, it’s a “second” that I bought used (second squared, I guess). For that last few years I’ve left this guitar in Hawai`i so I don’t have to carry an instrument on the plane.

I’ve tweaked and fiddled with this guitar for a while, especially since I brought it to O`ahu. The humidity is pretty tough on instruments. The tuning machines have always been stiff and they’ve gotten worse lately, so I decided to swap them out for the new Grover Vintage Sta-Tite 18:1 machines. I’ve heard great things about these machines on various guitar forums, and the measurements looked right to be a drop-in replacement for the stock tuning machines. I ordered up a set of #4592 Grover 18:1 Sta-Tites from Stewart-McDonald.

Well, for once luck was with me, and in fact they work and look like they were made for this guitar. Screw holed lined up, the shaft diameters are different but the bushings that came with the new Sta-Tites fit right into the old holes. Here’s a pic of the back of the peghead with half the machines replaced:

Epi Masterbilt Peghead

Epi Peghead with old and new tuners

These new machines are basically totally different from the originals. The base plate is thicker, the gears are obviously different to provide the higher gear ratio, and the attachment of the gears is totally different as well.

Here’s the original tuning machine:

Original Epi Grover Tuning Machine

Original Epi Grover Tuning Machine

Part of the difficulty in turning it is due to the warped base, the rest because the curved arm that holds the shaft has bent, releasing the mesh of the right angle gears.

Here’s the new one:

New Grover Sta-Tite 18:1

New Grover Sta-Tite 18:1

Notice how solid and thick the base plate is, and more importantly notice that the shaft is held in a cast mount, a much more solid bit of engineering.

These tuning machines have another fine virtue, they’re not terribly expensive. I bought this set from Stewart-McDonald for $37.37 – I’ve already gotten my money’s worth the first time I changed strings.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2009 at 7:37 pm and is filed under Guitar. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • iRig Acoustic Stage Comparo
  • -->

    3 Responses to ' New Tuning Pegs for that Masterbilt EF-500M '

    Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ' New Tuning Pegs for that Masterbilt EF-500M '.

    1. Walt said in post # 1,

      on March 28th, 2010 at 10:47 am

      I put the 18:1 Govers on everything. Martins, Nationals, anything of value.
      I would put them on my car if I could find a place to stick them.

    2. Christina Iller said in post # 2,

      on December 24th, 2010 at 6:16 am

      You talked about many engaging things in this posting. I came across this by searching Msn and I must admit that I am now subscribed to your blog, it is extremely fine 🙂

    3. Nigel Lightowler said in post # 3,

      on January 27th, 2011 at 6:36 am

      Great help,thanks. Looks like I’ll be buying these for my lap steel.

    Leave a reply

    About the Blog

      Howdy, my name is Fran Guidry and this is my Homebrewed Music blog.

      I play Hawaiian slack key guitar and recorded my solo acoustic CD at home. Most of the recording information I find on the internet seems focused on bands, drums, multitracking, and so on but my main focus is recording solo acoustic guitar. Lately I’ve been enjoying video recording along with audio, so that shows up in the blog as well.

      I’m also a guitar nut. I love big ones and little ones, handmades and factory guitars, cheap ones and expensive ones. So I’ll be sharing the fun of exploring guitars as well, along with the challenges of amplifying acoustic guitars for live performance.



      My recording philosophy is pragmatic, skeptical, not super critical. After all, the performance is by far the most important component of a track, and every aspect of any recording is a matter of taste.

      But I do like to know “about stuff.” Back in hifi days I learned about double blind testing. I learned that we humans can easily hear differences that don’t really exist. The more I’ve learned about our human auditory system, the more I’m skeptical of what people say they hear, especially if they claim that a particular microphone or preamp or cable has some magical property.

      I’ve only been recording since 2001, and when I started I found the usual places on the internet. I sought advice and accepted it, thought I would improve my recordings by using more expensive equipment. It didn’t work.

      Two things that did seem to lead to better recordings were experience and room treatment. Getting an appealing sound is the combination of many small details, and learning those details only comes from experience. Amd the sound of the recording space is obviously a big factor.

      I’ve only recorded seriously using digital technology, but I remember trying to record rehearsals and gigs back in analog days. I don’t have any nostalgia for analog recording and playback systems at all. I think even low end digital systems can capture marvelous recordings. So when I look at gear, I look for good specs: low noise, broad flat frequency response, wide dynamic range, low distortion. I’m not interested in colorful components, mics and preamps with a sound, I want the sound to be the sound of my guitar.

      But the last word is that I’m just learning and I hope you find something useful in my posts.