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I have an Ibanez V70CE Acoustic-Electric guitar. While it was not expensive, I like the way it feels and it sounds just fine. The problem is it doesn't like to stay in tune. I always use high quality strings and I replace them regularly. So my question is would it be worth it to pay someone to upgrade the tuners or should I just put my money into a higher quality guitar?

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Thanks for the insight, Jduv. How do I know if the tuning machines are "hot-swappable"? –  Anonymous Jan 21 '11 at 2:00
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@Kenneth: Add your comment to Jduv's answer. Otherwise he might not see it. –  Anna Lear Jan 21 '11 at 2:10
    
You would need to check and make sure that the screw holes (or pegs in the case of some tuning machines) match up on the underside of the headstock. Kinda hard to do if you're planning on purchasing your machines online. Or, you could check for the brand name of the tuners you have installed, purchase a higher quality machine with the same design from a dealer. If you can get me a picture I might could identify a match for you :D. –  Jduv Jan 21 '11 at 2:45
    
Thank's for the pointer, Ana, I am new to stack exchange. –  Anonymous Jan 21 '11 at 3:18
    
Jduv, eyeballing it I think I can figure it out. I am not a guitar tech so much as a guitar player but I think I can figure it out from StewMac. Thanks! –  Anonymous Jan 21 '11 at 3:19
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2 Answers 2

Most solid, durable tuning machines are very cheap relative to the price of a brand new guitar. Also, remember that tuning issues are not simply localized to the tuning pegs and machines. Check out the answers to this topically related question for some ideas on other factors to think about when your guitar isn't staying in tune. Were I you, I would ask myself "Do I really want another guitar, or can I live with the one I have?" knowing full well that a new guitar might not fix your tuning problem. The new instrument you get could suffer from the same or different problems that the current one does. I'd get to the root of the problem and find out exactly why it keeps going out of tune, and then make my decision based on that--and of course how much I wanted a new guitar ;D.

One last note: guitar companies that mass produce lower end guitars tend to find places to skimp such that the instrument is affordable. One place I have really noticed this is in the tuning machines. You can get a set of tuning machines from StewMac or your local guitar shop for a good price--just make sure they are hot-swappable else you'll be drilling new holes.

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+1 for StewMac... great place. –  bluevoodoo1 Jan 21 '11 at 3:59
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Are you sure the tuners are the problem? Even with fresh strings, they may well stick at the nut, slip at the tuners (if the strings aren't properly anchored), or slip at the bridge (if, for example, the ball end is initially pushed too far into the guitar).

Do the tuners seem overly loose?

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I had already read and addressed everything in the link for typical problems in jduv's answer below. I have been playing for a few decades so I am clear on anchoring and slippage (although those are certainly valid things to ask about). –  Anonymous Jan 21 '11 at 3:18
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