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Replacing Fender Squier Trapezoid with Hipshot Vintage Tuners

April 3, 2019 by Alex Storrie in Alex's Blog, Guitars & Gear

Just a quick one about changing Fender Squier Trapezoid tuners over to a set of Hipshot Vintage Grip-Lock machine heads – they aren’t always a drop in fit.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Fender “Trapezoid”; it’s a type of guitar machine head used on many Made In Japan, Made In Mexico and Korean Squier electric guitars. They aren’t popular, with many Squier owners opting to swap them out for more accurate and reliable tuners (Squier-Talk).

There are a load of vintage style options available that are a drop in fit, although many will leave the original screw holes visible. There’s even a direct replacement from Schaller – the Original F-Series 70’s.

But what’s available that offers more than just a bog-standard tuner?

The Hipshot Vintage Grip-Lock Tuners are a great option – Locking, 15:1 Gear Ratio, Universal Mounting Plate. These vintage sized, 8.5mm tuners are designed to replace vintage tuners, so why don’t they do so with the Trapezoids?

The problem is with the Squier Trapezoid tuners and their press-in bushings. Most “vintage” guitar tuners use a slim 6mm post a tight 8.5mm press-in bushing. To get a tight fit in the headstock bore hole, the bushings are made ever so slightly smaller than 8.5mm. This small difference means that the Hipshot Vintage Tuners (8.5mm) are just a tad too large for the headstock holes.

What’s the solution?

A Tapered Reamer. A few gentle turns from each side and the headstock holes will be wide enough to fit the Hipshots. You’re only looking to remove half a millimetre at most so don’t go mad with it!

This isn’t exclusive to the Trapezoids and can be a problem with many vintage tuners that use push-in bushings.  I’d always recommend removing at least one of your existing tuners and measuring the headstock hole before purchasing any new set of machine heads.