I just got a used Fender Starcaster S1 to compliment my existing Behringer strat. Upon inspecting it, I noticed that it has different backs on it's tuning machines. What are the differences between these besides appearance?

enter image description here

  • The quality of the Fender tuning machines is quite a bit better than the behringers. Other than that, there's probably not much difference. Beware of very cheap tuners.
    – JimR
    May 29, 2013 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


Inside them both you have a cog and a worm gear, which works as per this gif from Wikipedia:

enter image description here

Worm gears have a very useful property - they can cope with high tension without slipping.

The casing differences are purely cosmetic.

  • 2
    Fantastic image, sir =) Apr 9, 2012 at 15:14
  • Yes, nice image, but how exactly does this address the question?
    – morten
    Apr 10, 2012 at 20:19

There are some easily noticeable differences:

  1. Tuners on Behringers are attached with screws on the back side, while the ones on Fenders have a nut on the front.
  2. There might be differences in the string attachment itself (not pictured here).

Some differences are not as easily spotted, but are a huge deciding factor:

  1. For example, differences in gear ratio. Generally, higher-end tuning machines have a high ratio for easy, minute adjustments in pitch.
  2. In addition, differences in build quality. Lower-end tuners are less likely to hold their pitch, and may be more susceptible to damage from use.

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