Tuning Keys- How to Fix Crumbling Plastic Buttons
This was a blog post that I wrote and I wanted to make sure that it did not get “lost in the sauce” so anyone who has problems with their plastic tuning key buttons could fix them.
The Question of the Day comes from Gus in Akron, Ohio. He asked me what he could do to fix the crumbled plastic tuning key buttons on his 1950’s Fender Lap Steel guitar. These are the same type of tuning keys used on Gibson Les Paul Jr’s and similar models.
If the tuning keys just have a few cracks or chips you can douse them with cyanoacrylate adhesive aka super glue. The super glue will penetrate all the cracks and sort of solidify the plastic tuning key button. After they dry you can use some fine grit sandpapers (#320, #400, #600, etc) to smooth them out and then buff with a Scotchbrite pad. This will preserve the integrity of the tuner and the instrument itself.
If they are too far gone however you will have to replace either the buttons or the entire set of tuners. You can get replacement buttons from Allparts. Replacing them can be tricky because you have to heat the shaft and press on the button. Then shoot some Super Glue down the shaft into the button. This repair has to be done with the tuners removed. Allparts also has a few different replacement tuner sets to choose from which are called “3×3 Tuning Keys” on their website. One set has pure white buttons, another with tinted of white buttons and a set with metal buttons.
So that’s really all you can do for crumbling plastic tuner buttons. I would just opt for the set with the metal buttons and take the originals and put them away for safe keeping. This way you will never have to worry about them again. I hope this answered your question Gus and remember……….stay tuned. :>0