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Old Guitar Tuning Keys, Needing to be Replaced

Top 5: Guitar Tuning Keys

July 1, 2023 by Alex Storrie in Guitars & Gear, Top 5

Looking to replace your old guitar tuning keys? Considering upgrading them to something better?

The options are endless when it comes to choosing tuning keys for your guitar. So many brands, models, features and configurations – it can be difficult to make sense of it all.

To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite models on the market. All of these sets of guitar tuning keys are available in 3×3 or 6-in-line configurations and various colours to suit all needs.

Our ‘Top 5’ list of guitar tuning keys (machine heads) on the market:


Gotoh SG381

These tuning keys are known for their smooth operation, precision, and durability. They feature a simple, modern design, mini in size, and have a strong reputation for holding tuning well.

Value for money considering the other options available from Gotoh. A reliable option for any guitar.


Grover Rotomatic

These tuning keys are popular for their durability and easy-to-use design. Used by Gibson for years; they are a familiar look and feel for many guitarists.

A higher 18:1 gear ratio model  is available, but I would bother with that. The standard 102 option is cheaper and works just as well.




Schaller M6

German-made: these tuning keys are known for their high-quality construction and precision engineering. Very similar to the SG381, it is that much more expensive, and the quality matches the price tag.

The standard M6 size is perfect for 3+3 configurations and I would choose the mini size for 6-in-line guitars. A locking model is also available, in both sizes, but I’d only opt for that if it’s of value to you.


Gotoh SD91

Gotoh, as they have in many of our other lists, make on our list twice with their classic SD90 tuners. These vintage style tuners are the best replacement/upgrade for any Kluson-style machine head.

This model has two versions:

  • SD90 – 3×3
  • SD91 – 6-in-line


Hipshot Classic

Based on the M6 Mini shape, these tuning keys are lightweight, durable and designed to improve tuning stability and accuracy. The mounting plates included with each set make them a breeze to install on any guitar.

Upgrading to the “Grip-Lock” model (locking) is well worth the cash.


TOP 5 Best Guitar Tuning Keys:


Check out our ‘Top 5’ list of Locking Guitar Tuners HERE

About Alex Storrie

Owner and Managing Director of BTN Music UK