Tuning machines for Double-Bass

Designed by: Dirk Jacob Hamoen
Manufactored by: Jacob ten Hoeve (www.jactenhoeve.nl), traditional clockmaker, Joure
Documented by: William Baker

The first series of double-bass tuners has, over the past 20 years, stood the test of time so well, that a second series seemed the right thing to do. A good opportunity too, to incorporate a few improvements. This in spite of a firm “Don’t” from one of our regular customers.

In short: for the shaft we adopted the regular 1:25 cone from the reamer for cello tuning pegs. Will make life much easier than the fantasy cone, the origin of which has in the meantime completely got lost. But I will keep the home made reamer that provided it. We also made the cone slightly longer, to accommodate for the wider type of pegbox. In order not to have to compromise between vulnerability and ease of tuning, we differentiated the length of the handles: the E’ being slightly longer, the D shorter. As the D has to be installed on the narrowest part of the pegbox, we slightly shortened the distance between the bearings of the worm. Other improvements are largely cosmetic, and there now is a measure of choice for the knobs.

Remain the flawless bearings of the worm and ditto transmission to the wheel, for many years of smooth tuning without any apparent wear. We also stuck to the basic idea behind this design (free after Toyota): what is not there, will not buzz.

Mounting is preferably to be done by a professional. We stuck to that too. This way of morticing the feet of the bearings separately into the wall of the pegbox, guarantees minimal strain at the tiny screws, also because the bearings are free to move with the wood. Complete mountings with 4 screws, and especially brass plates covering the whole pegbox, tend to have a slightly less than snug fit, for which the normal solution is (over)tightening the screws. Also plates are not able to follow the seasonal moving of the wood, and consequently the screws will over time work themselves slightly loose, and so become a source of unwanted secondary sounds. Inevitably this ends up with lots of small holes, in which the screws have gradually lost their hold, having to be bushed by the patient double-bass repairer.

Of course I could not do better than copy shamelessly the essentials of a really good tuner from William Baker. I also followed in his tracks by asking a clock maker to produce them.

I am proud to mention here that I found, by now more than 20 years ago, in Jacob ten Hoeve of Joure (www.jactenhoeve.nl) the clock maker who was not only willing, but also eminently able to realize these beautiful and functional tuners to a standard that, in our opinion, leaves little to be desired.

As an extra we are glad to offer the possibility of making individual tuners to your wishes and/or design. For instance a fifth tuner to match the extant four. In that case the price depends on the complexity of the job. Bone or ivory knobs e.g. have to be fitted completely by hand.

From the first series a limited number of sets of 4 is still available. They will cost €500,00 per set of 4, incl. VAT (21%) but excl. p&p.

The second series is slightly more expensive, mainly thanks to the bigger wheel, the machined knobs and the different lengths of the handles. They will cost €600,00 per set of 4, incl. VAT (21%) but excl. p&p.

The tuners normally come in sets of 4, but a 5th one is no problem, provided we can decide the length of the handles from measurements and pictures of the pegbox.

This instrument is for sale