How to replace tuning pegs on a guitar?

If you’re experiencing tuning issues with your guitar, it may be time to replace your tuning pegs.

Tuning pegs, also known as machine heads or tuners, are responsible for adjusting the pitch of each string on your guitar. Over time, the pegs can become worn or damaged, leading to tuning instability and difficulty playing.

In this article, we will show you how to replace tuning pegs on a guitar, from removing the old ones to installing the new ones and tuning the guitar.

By following these steps, you can improve your guitar’s tuning stability and enjoy playing it again.

Step-by-step guide on replacing tuning pegs

Step 1: Gather the required tools

Before you start, make sure you have all the tools you need. You’ll need a screwdriver, a drill, and a ruler. And remember to get the right tuning pegs that fit your guitar’s headstock.

Step 2: Remove the old tuning pegs

replacing guitar tuning machine

The next step is to remove the old tuning pegs from your guitar’s headstock. You can do this by using a screwdriver to remove the screws that are holding them in place. Once you’ve removed the screws, gently pull the tuning pegs from the headstock.

Step 3: Measure the machine head holes

After you’ve removed the old tuning pegs, it’s time to measure the size of the holes in the headstock. Tuning pegs come in different sizes, so finding the right one that fits perfectly into the holes in your guitar’s headstock is important.

Step 4: Install the new tuning pegs

Now that you’ve measured the size of the holes, it’s time to install the new tuning pegs. It’s easy – just insert the machine head into the hole and tighten the screw with a screwdriver. Repeat this for all the other tuning pegs until you’ve installed them all.

Step 5: Adjust the Tuning pegs

Once you have installed the tuning pegs, you need to adjust them to ensure they are aligned correctly. You can use a ruler to check

the alignment of the tuning pegs. You can adjust them if they are not aligned correctly by tightening or loosening the screws.

Step 6: String the guitar

To put a new string on a guitar, you need to:

  • Insert the new string into the peg hole
  • Pull the string tight and wind it around the peg
  • Tune the string to the desired pitch

Here you can read how to change classical guitar strings.

Step 7: Tune the guitar

Tune the guitar the way you usually do it.

Common issues when replacing tuning pegs

Difficulty in drilling holes

If you’re having trouble drilling holes for the new tuning pegs, check the diameter of the hole you’re drilling. The hole size should be the same as the new tuning pegs. Ensure you’re using a proper drill bit and drilling at the correct angle.

Loose tuning pegs

If your new tuning pegs are loose or wobbly, it could be because the holes are too big or the screws are not tightened enough.

You can solve this problem by using a toothpick or dowel to fill the hole, making it more snug, and trying to tighten the screws again.

Strings tension issues

If the strings are too tight or loose after installing the tuning pegs, it could be because you’ve chosen the incorrect type of machine head. Make sure to check that the new tuning pegs match the specifications of your guitar.

Difficulty with tuning

If you’re having trouble tuning your guitar after installing the new tuning pegs, try to check the alignment of the heads. Ensure that they’re straight and parallel to each other. Also, check that the string is not twisted while wrapping around the machine head.

Difficulty in screwing

If you’re having a tough time screwing the tuning pegs in, try to lubricate the screws with a little bit of graphite powder or soap. This should make it easier for you to screw them in.

Mistakes to avoid while replacing the guitar tuning pegs

When it comes to installing tuning pegs on your guitar, it’s important to do it correctly to ensure proper tuning stability.

However, there are some common mistakes that can be made during the installation that can negatively affect the performance of your guitar.

Overtightening or under-tightening the screws

guitar tunig pegs

When tightening the screws on the tuning pegs, it’s important not to overtighten or under-tighten them.

If you tighten them too much, the machine head can get stuck and not turn smoothly. On the other hand, if you don’t tighten them enough, the machine head can wobble and not hold tuning properly.

So, finding the right balance and tightening the screws just enough to keep the machine head firmly in place without causing any issues is crucial.

Misaligning the tuning pegs with the strings.

If the tuning pegs are not aligned correctly, it can cause issues with the strings slipping or not tuning correctly.

Make sure that the tuning pegs are installed at the correct angle and are lined up with the corresponding strings.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your tuning pegs are installed correctly, and your guitar can perform to its full potential. Take the time to properly install your tuning pegs, and you’ll be rewarded with a guitar that sounds in tune and stays in tune for

longer periods of time.

Tips for Maintaining and adjusting your tuning pegs

To keep your tuning pegs working properly, you can do a few things.

Keep them clean and free of debris

You can do this by wiping them down with a dry cloth after each use. You should also check them periodically to make sure they’re still tight and functioning properly.

Adjust the tension

If your tuning pegs are slipping or not holding the strings properly, you may need to adjust the tension. This can be done using a screwdriver.

Lubricate the tuning pegs

You can also add a bit of lubricant to the tuning pegs to ensure they turn smoothly.

How to adjust the height of the tuning pegs

Here are the steps to adjust the height of the tuning pegs during installation:

  • Loosen the mounting screws on the back of the headstock using a screwdriver.
  • Gently lift the machine head out of the hole in the headstock.
  • Use a ruler or caliper to measure the distance between the bottom of the machine head and the top of the headstock.
  • Adjust the height by tightening or loosening the mounting screws on the back of the headstock.
  • Check the height again using the ruler or caliper.
  • Repeat for all the tuning pegs.

Remember to adjust the height evenly for all the tuning pegs to ensure proper tuning and intonation. By doing this, you’ll enjoy better tuning stability and improved playability.


Replacing the tuning pegs on your guitar may seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and instructions, it can be simple and quite rewarding.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can replace the tuning pegs on your guitar and enjoy better tuning stability and improved playability.

Remember to take your time, be patient, and ensure that each step is done correctly to avoid damaging your instrument.

With the new tuning pegs installed and adjusted properly, you’ll be ready to rock out with a finely tuned guitar!


Should you upgrade the tuning pegs

By upgrading your tuning pegs to higher-quality options, you can ensure that your tuning stays stable and consistent. This will not only make playing easier and more enjoyable, but it will also improve the overall sound quality of your guitar. Read more about the different types of tuning heads.

You can check out this video for more clarity: 

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