Kluson Style Tuners
Used mostly on early prepro Charvel guitars dating from the 1979 - 80 time frame. These tuners are rare and it is even rarer to find them on Charvels manufactured during the serialized era, 1982 - 1986. In fact, I know of only one serialized example having this style of tuner, Charvel #1505 dating from 1982.
These tuners closely resemble Kluson tuners in appearance and both have split shafts and the same mounting screw position. Unlike Kluson tuners however, Kluson is not written on the tuner and they have threaded bushings like a nut, not a press in bushing. Kluson tuners were also reportedly used during the early prepro production years. This style of tuner is rare and was mostly used on early prepro Charvels prior to 1981.
Octagon Tuners
These tuners are commonly found on prepro Charvels manufactured from early 1980 to late 1980 - early 1981 time period. Note that this style of tuner did NOT use a mounting screw, but rather a positioning pin which required a 1/8" hole just above the hole for the tuner shaft on the back of the
headstock. The gear housing was octagonal in shape, as was the tuner shaft itself. The insert was brushed aluminum, and generally non-logoed, although examples exist with both "G" and "Gotoh" on them. These were almost without exception chrome finished. The tuning head itself was wider at the base than at the top, and looks like an inverted crown, hence the name "crown head."
Crown Head Style #1 Tuners
Used extensively during the prepro (early 1981) and early serialized (early 1982) time periods, this style of tuner is by far the most commonly used tuner style on prepro Charvel guitars. These tuners were also Gotoh's and most often finished in a thin gold plate, which wore off quickly to expose the brassy
steel-looking metal. This style did have a screw tang (mounting screw), which was located on the side opposing the tuning key shaft and perpendicular to the tuner bottom (base). The insert is smooth and usually non-logoed. They will appear to be a very light brass color once the plating has worn/faded. They were also available in chrome, and black; both far less common than the typical gold. This style was used throughout the remainder of pre-serialized manufacture, and through about the middle of 1982 into production (up to approximately serial number 1100ish).
Crown Head Style #2 Tuners
Note the difference in the tuner shaft, unlike the earlier crown head version, which had a solid shaft and the string, was threaded through a hole, this second style had a slotted shaft resembling Kluson style tuners. This style of "crown head" tuners was used briefly in 1982 (only for a few months)
and is found on Charvels in the 1200 - 1400 ish serial number range. These tuners are almost identical to the early crown head version and used the same plating, set screw (mounting screw) position and "crown" head tuner shape and in fact when viewed from the back the two versions can not be distinguished.
Gold non-logo'd Gotoh Tuners
Identical to the black non-logoed Gotohs, these gold plated versions are far less common than the black colored tuners but are sometimes found on Charvels manufactured throughout the entire serialized production era. Note that the gold plating (finish) is very similar to that found on the crown head
style tuners and appear to be a very light brass color once the plating has worn/faded. The tuners have larger and more oval shaped keys when compared to the crown head tuners keys. I assume this style of tuner was used specifically when "gold" tuners was requested by the customer.
Black non-logo'd Gotoh Tuners
The most commonly used tuner throughout the serialized Charvel era (1982 - 1986). This tuner was the default tuner used on all Charvels manufactured after the phasing out of the crown head style tuners in mid 1982. All Charvels after that time would be fitted with this style of tuner unless the
customer specified otherwise. These tuners have a larger more oval shaped (not crown shape) tuner keys and unlike the crown head tuners, which have the mounting (set) screw perpendicular to the tuner bottom, these non-logoed Gotohs had the mounting (set) screw parallel with the tuner bottom (base). By far the most commonly used tuner on Charvel guitars, I estimate some 95% of all Charvels manufactured are equipped with this style of tuner.
Gold non-logo'd Gotoh Tuners
Identical to the black non-logo'd Gotohs, these gold plated versions are far much less common but are sometimes found on Charvels throughout the serialized production era. I assume this style of tuner was used specifically when "gold" tuners was requested by the customer. Note that the gold plating
(finish) is very similar to that found on the crown head style tuners and appears to be a very light brass color once the plating has worn/faded.
Gold logo'd Gotoh Tuners
Identical to the non-logoed Gotoh tuners except that the Gotoh name and logo are imprinted on the back of the tuner. These tuners are even rarer than the gold non-logo'd Gotohs
and I have only seen this logo'd style on a few Charvels, mostly from the mid 3000 serial number range. Unlike the gold plating (finish) on the crown head and non-logo'd gold Gotohs which was typically easily worn/faded, the finish on these gold logo'd tuners is brighter/richer in color and usually do not show signs of wear.
Grover Tuners
Grover tuners were occasionally used on Charvels when requested specifically by the customer and when a reverse headstock neck was used. I have seen several examples where
either chrome or black Grover tuners were specified on the work order (build sheet) by the customer. More interestingly, is that all the reverse headstock necks that I have seen, all have black Grover tuners. One can speculate that Charvel did not have any left handed (because its a reverse headstock) non-logoed black Gotohs, and hence defaulted to using Grover tuners. Grover tuners are easily recognized by their small kidney shaped tuner keys and obviously the Grover logo on the back of the tuner. The mounting (set) screw position for the Grover tuner is perpendicular to the bottom (base) of the tuner similar to the crown head tuners.
Jackson Tuners
These tuners were used on Charvel guitars made in the Jackson custom shop during the 1990's, on the San Dimas Traditional model series introduced in the late 1990's and also
used on the Bulls Eye Limited Edition in 2002. These tuners have Jackson written on them and are most always black in color.
Schaller mini Tuners
Charvels were reintroduced in 2004 after FMIC purchased Jackson. The new Charvels produced use Schaller mini tuners in black, chrome or gold. These tuners closely resemble the
non-logo'd Gotoh tuners in size; tuner key shape and also mounting (set) screw position. These tuners have Schaller logo ("S") and Made in Germany written on them.
Banjo Tuners
Exceptionally rare and found only on a few early prepro Charvel
bass guitars, these tuners are similar to those used on banjos hence its name. Unlike most all other tuners, which have the shaft and tuning peg (key) perpendicular, banjo tuners have the tuning peg (key) and shaft in a straight line. When viewed from the front you do not see the tuning peg (key) above the headstock like normal tuners. This style of tuner is very similar to those used on Gibson Firebird guitars. Again noting that Charvel Manufacturing was a true custom shop, any tuner could have been used if the customer specified or noting that in the early days Charvel did not have a large "parts" inventory, they would often buy, as they needed. It has been suggested that on at least a few occasions employees would have to go to a music store to buy a set of tuners or some other hardware to finish a guitar. The employee simply bought what ever brand the music store had available at that time to finish the build. I am sure other rare and one-off style of tuners exist, especially on Charvel guitars manufactured during the early years (1979 to early 1980).
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