Can You Change Tuning with Locking Tuners (& How to Do It)

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Tuning is an essential part of playing any musical instrument. In the guitar world, locking tuners have become a commonly used feature. Locking tuners eliminate the need to repeatedly wind the string around a post, saving time and energy.

Tuners with locking devices are a game-changing invention. Restringing is 100 times easier than winding strings around tuning pegs as with traditional tuners. Locking tuners are designed for easy tuning and can be adjusted as needed and quickly locked or unlocked as desired. But can you change tuning with locking tuners?

You can definitely change the tuning of a guitar with locking tuners. Locking tuners don’t prevent the peghead from tuning. Locking tuners only lock the guitar strings in place so that the player doesn’t have to constantly re-tighten or re-adjust the strings.

However, they do have much less string around the tuner post. This means there is little room for tuning down a string without “running out of string.” This article answers all your locking tuner questions and gives you a complete guide to everything there is to know about them.

What are Locking Tuners and How Does it Work? 

So what are locking tuners? Locking tuners are devices that allow players to quickly and easily change the tuning of their guitar. They function as a regular guitar tuner, but instead of tightening or loosening the string to bring it into tune, they simply turn the screw in the back of the headstock and lock the string in place.

The good thing about locking tuners is that you can keep your guitar in any tuning without worrying about it slipping out of tune. Locking tuners are an excellent replacement for traditional tuners because they can be locked in place and will not fall out or come loose even if you’re playing aggressively or they’re knocked around.

These tuners provide a precise, stable tuning that won’t slip due to the strings getting wet or cold. They’re designed to provide some relief to the guitarist who wants to tune their guitar more quickly or change strings on the fly.

And this makes tuning and changing strings significantly faster and easier, especially on guitars with thinner strings. Simply twist the knob, lock it in place, tune-up, and you’re ready to rock on!

Advantages of locking tuners over regular tuners

There are many advantages of using a locking tuner over regular tuners. The biggest benefit of locking tuners is that changing strings becomes faster. You don’t need to stretch your strings as much before they’re stable or loop the string around the tuner post as you do with traditional tuners, which makes it much quicker.

For most guitar players, changing strings and tunings on their guitar strings can be a hassle. This is especially true if you break a string in the middle of a live performance and need to restring and tune up quickly. Locking tuners can be a lifesaver in this situation.

And they frequently come with higher tuning ratios than normal tuners, meaning more accurate tuning.

The locking mechanism makes them easier to use than regular tuners. It provides better tuning stability, ensures tuning accuracy, can be used in different tuning types (i.e., standard, drop D, open G). Still, the most important advantage of using a locking tuner is that they prevent string slippage or break in extreme cases.

How Does it Work

It’s important to know how to use them to make sure the tuning will stay stable and playable for longer periods. Some guitarists use locking tuners in the wrong way; they still wrap strings around the tuner post. 

This defeats the point of locking tuners. They were designed to eliminate the need for string wraps on posts for better tone stability. The whole idea of a locking tuner is to pull the string straight through the hole in the post, tighten it, then tune-up with as little winding as possible on the tuner post and cut the excess string from the tuners. 

It’s a type of string locking device that allows for quick and easy tuning on the instrument. And because there is no slack in the string once it is stretched, the tuning will remain pretty much stable.

Locking tuners have a simple but effective mechanism: a thumbscrew raises a clamping bearing to grip the string as it is turned and holds the string in place. The knob on the back of the tuner can be used to loosen and tighten strings without having to wind around the tuner post. 

Tuning Down with Locking Tuners

You can tune down just like regular tuners, but locking tuners have less room to tune the string down without “running out of string.” You should ensure that you have enough windings to return to the required tuning. 

Tuning down a guitar means lowering the pitch of each string by one-half step, for example, from standard tuning (E A D G B E) to drop D (D A D G B E). In E standard tuning, if you just had half a wind around the post, you wouldn’t be able to go from an E to a C, while D to C shouldn’t be an issue.

Suppose you use the same guitar to go from D to E standard, for example. I would first stretch the strings and pre-tune the guitar to D before tuning between D and E standards. It would then be much easier for you to tune up to E and back again.

Alternatively, you can use a locking tuner as a regular tuner by loosening the thumbscrew and rotating it to position the string for tuning. And tune down as you would with regular tuners.

Tuning Up with Locking Tuners

Tuning up a guitar with locking tuners is not as complicated as tuning down because even with locking tuners, you have enough string relief to tune up to your desired pitch. To tune up the strings, simply tighten the tuning the pegs as you would with a regular tuner.

Tuning is simply the act of arranging or altering the pitch of a musical instrument or another sound source to achieve the desired tone. 

Does Changing Tune with Locking Tuners affect intonation?

A common misconception is that changing the tuning of a guitar with locking tuners will affect the intonation. This is not true. Locking tuners will not affect intonation.

Locking tuners are designed to lock and stay in tune as you change between different tunings, and if you’re worried about the sound of your guitar, there’s no need to fret: they’re designed to maintain a balanced sound.

Many factors can affect the tuning stability and intonation on guitars, such as poorly cut nuts, slack strings, and dead notes are telltale signs of a guitar that has not been set up correctly.

Should You Tune Down or Up a Guitar with Locking Tuners 

The difference between tuning up and tuning down a guitar depends on the type of music you are playing. If you are playing heavy metal with distortion, it’s better to tune down so that your chords ring loudly and with less distortion. 

If you are playing clean acoustic music, tuning up will make your chords sound more powerful. Tuning up will allow you to play cleaner chords and cleaner melodies. These chords and melodies will sound h and rich, allowing your sound to stand out from the crowd.

The Best Brand of Locking Tuners for Guitars

Finding the best locking tuners for guitars can be a difficult task. The market has many options, which makes it hard to choose one. Different brands do not have the same quality, and selecting the perfect locking tuners for your guitar is a matter of preference.

In the past, locking tuners have been primarily used on high-end guitars or that had an active pickup system. In recent years, however, the use of locking tuners has increased among all price ranges and all types of guitars. 

You should also know that there are several different types. I’d want to look for a set that drops into the guitar without drilling and keep the old tuners just in case you might want to go back. 

If you are considering replacing your old tuners with something new, here is our list of best brands for locking tuners for guitars:


Locking tuners do not prevent you from tuning up or down the pitch on your guitar. Guitars with locking tuners are a new approach to keep your guitar in tune. The tuners are easy to use and make tuning simpler for professionals and beginners alike. Guitar players never need to worry about their tuning slipping again with locking tuners. 

Because they firmly clamp the strings, they don’t go out of tune, even during the most intense of performances. In my opinion, locking tuners work best for guitar strings.