#1
I have a washburn acoustic guitar and two of the machine heads have broken (the flat bit you turn has snapped off) the original ones were plastic. The guitar was not super expensive so I'm slightly hesitant to sink a lot of money into repairs, but have a budget of ~£20 for parts and am happy to fit myself and have ample tooling.

1) Machine heads seem to come in many shapes/sizes. How much of a pain will it be to fit ones that are a different "type" and need new holes etc.? Are the posts that go through the headstock all the same size? Are there any "standard types" I should be a aware of?

2) My local guitar store had a full set for £25, they were definitely the wrong shape (2 screws not 1) on the internet they seem either much more expensive (guitar centre = £35-50) or much cheaper (ebay = £5-10). How terrible are the ebay ones going to be (I assume they're plastic)? Why are the GC ones so much more expensive than my local store?

3) Should I replace the full set or could I get away with just replacing the two broken ones? Do you guys know of any sites that would sell head individually rather than as a set of 6?

Any help would be appreciated!
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#2
1) Machine heads seem to come in many shapes/sizes. How much of a pain will it be to fit ones that are a different "type" and need new holes etc.? Are the posts that go through the headstock all the same size? Are there any "standard types" I should be a aware of?


2) My local guitar store had a full set for £25, they were definitely the wrong shape (2 screws not 1) on the internet they seem either much more expensive (guitar centre = £35-50) or much cheaper (ebay = £5-10). How terrible are the ebay ones going to be (I assume they're plastic)? Why are the GC ones so much more expensive than my local store?

Probably because the ones you're seeing that are cheaper are different to the ones you're seeing in GC.

There could be all sorts of reasons why the cheap ones are so much cheaper than the old ones. Generally the cheaper ones aren't made to the same tolerances internally, so the worm and wheel tend to have more backlash. It doesn't really affect how well the tuners stay in tune, but it means there's going to be more slop in the gears which'll mean that you'll need to turn the tuner more for the gears to actually engage. The really cheap ones are plastic internally and are therefore junk. Don't buy them. The more expensive ones tend to last a whole lot longer, feel nicer, have a better quality finish, sometimes have a finer tuning gear ratio and are just overall better-er.

Wilkinson and Gotoh make great quality tuners that are relatively inexpensive.
3) Should I replace the full set or could I get away with just replacing the two broken ones? Do you guys know of any sites that would sell head individually rather than as a set of 6?

Some companies do sell individual tuners and you can get away with just buying 1 or 2. but good luck getting them to match with the old ones. Especially if it's an older guitar. Most don't sell individual tuners for this very reason. Just buy a full set because a guitar with dissimilar tuners on it looks really strange.
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