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If you are an acoustic guitar player, you must have been suffering from this moment: the guitar suddenly went out of tune when playing a smooth rhythm or solo. We all know how frustrating that can be for a guitarist. Acoustic guitar machine heads are there to ensure that you never have to face a situation like this. They help you tune your guitar exactly as you like but also hold that tune for a length of time. If you are a more versatile player and enjoy playing the guitar in different tunes, a quality guitar machine head is an absolute must for you.
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What Is an Acoustic Guitar Head?
If you are very new to the guitar world, you may ask yourself: what is a machine head on a guitar? Simply put, it is a metal device used to tighten or loosen the strings on a guitar. They adjust the tension on the string, but it also makes sure that strings don’t slip much. There is a button attached to every machine head, which is used to tighten or loosen the strings. The cylinder inside the head holds the strings in place. For 6 string acoustic guitars, there are generally 6 machine heads used, 3 on each side.
Type of Acoustic Guitar Machine Heads
Typically, there are 3 types of guitar tuning machine heads that you should know about.
Sealed guitar machine heads
As the name suggests, sealed acoustic guitar machine heads are tuners that have a completely sealed construction. That means they are protected from any kind of outside dirt, air, moisture, etc. Also, this ensures that lubricated parts of the machine head remain lubricated throughout. If you perform often, these should be your first choice. Because it is no exposure to the external environment and long-term lubrication, the lifespan of a sealed acoustic guitar machine head is much higher than the other.
Vintage tuning machine heads
Vintage tuning machine heads are generally very detailed in terms of design. They have a more aesthetic appearance, but that also means they are generally a bit costly too. There have been two kinds of Vintage tuning acoustic guitar machine heads over the years.
- Open back vintage tuning machine heads
- Closed-back vintage tuning machine heads
Vintage open-back tuners used to be very popular back from the 60s till the 80s. The back of the tuner is open, so you can visibly see all the gears in the tuner, which gives the tuner an attractive look. But this also means they are exposed to the external environment. So, with dirt and moisture, they get damaged very quickly.
Vintage closed-back tuners are the same thing but the back is closed, so you can’t see any gear on the tuner. But this protection means they carry a bit more weight compared to open-back tuners.
Lock-in tuning machine heads
Locking tuners add a screw on your sealed acoustic guitar machine heads. There is a clamp that holds the string tightly. As there is added pressure on the string, they tend to hold their tune for a much longer time. But this also means that it is a tad bit more difficult to change tunes. So, if you are performing live and have to change tunes constantly, these might not be ideal. Also, changing the strings and setup might take up a bit more time.
How to Choose the Perfect Acoustic Guitar Machine Head?
There is no best guitar tuner for anyone. You need to think about what suits your guitar the best.
- Make sure your headstock goes with what machine head you choose. Your choice might vary depending upon whether it’s a right or left-handed guitar. A lot of the decisions here are subjective ones. In most cases, they don’t significantly impact the sound.
- The second thing to consider is what you want their look to be. Vintage guitar machine heads are great for amazing looks.
- The third step is to think of the required techniques. If you are very precise with your tones or play on the same tune at length, lock-in tuning machine heads are ideal for you.
- Then, you may need to think about weight as the sealed tunings come with a bit more weight.
Alice Guitar Head AS-016J And AL-015A Are What You Need
Alice acoustic guitar machine heads for both AS-016J and AL-015A are among the best choices you can make in the market. The smooth and aesthetic designs of both the guitar heads will make you love your guitar that little bit more. Both are suited for acoustic guitars and come at a very affordable price. AS-016J has a gold zinc alloy peg and comes in a small peg shape design. AL-015A is also made of zinc alloy with silver color.
Having a great acoustic guitar machine head will enhance your experience with an acoustic guitar. Think about your guitar brand, playing style, and personal preference, and you will find the best suit for you. If you want a reliable machine head that performs at a high level, make sure to have a look at Alice guitar heads. They have a wide range of guitar accessories for every type of guitarist.