Updated: October 7, 2020 by Richard Cole
Fender Stratocaster needs little introduction considering it is one of the most popular guitar models in the world.
The number of legendary guitar players who used this very guitar to reach their fame is too long to list.
At the end of the day, Stratocaster has reached that level of popularity that it doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone anymore. When people talk about Strats, they usually focus on the sound, the pickups, or the legendary body shape.
However, there is one more element of this guitar that has reached a legendary status on its own.
Those would be Fender F tuners . These were installed on Stratocasters dating back to the ’70s.
Just like most of things that come out of Fender factories, these tuners were pure perfection. As such, it didn’t take long for users to notice how amazing these tuners were, and promptly start applying them to other guitar models.
Fender F Tuners – The Story
How important the tuners are for the performance of the guitar can’t be emphasized enough. With that said, they are among the last things people look at when they are shopping for guitars. At least in most cases. A guitar that has bad tuners is practically useless.
The moment you start playing anything that involves more aggressive string attack or bending, your guitar will drop out of tune. While you can easily correct this if it happens to you in the middle of a home practice session, it is absolutely unacceptable for a guitar to drop out of tune that easily during a live performance.
A good set of tuners is a must. Fender F tuners have became so popular over the years because they are simple to use, and clinically accurate. A set of these will hold the tune until you start doing things on the guitar which are considered abnormal.
There are some legitimate techniques which can be categorized under this terminology, but people who use them often have more serious hardware on their guitars. The F designation comes from the letter F being engraved on the back of each tuning machine.
These tuners probably have a technical name, but over the years F tuners kind of stuck so Fender went along with it.
So what is it that makes the F tuners so great? Well ,for one they have all metal parts inside. Modern standard tuners you can find on a lot of affordable guitar come with plastic components.
Not only is plastic just not sufficient for this use, the accuracy of the tuners suffers as well. If you ever used a chromatic tuner to tune your guitar, you know how much accuracy is important.
Can you install these on any other guitar?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, the majority of people who purchase a set of these tuners install them on non Fender guitars. You will most often see them on various Squiers and other Strat copies which have the same hole dimensions on the headstock. However, their use is not limited to these models alone.
Another reason why Fender F tuners are so popular is their low price. You can have these at half the cost you would otherwise have to pay for a decent set of locking tuners. Since not everyone needs locking tuners, and not everyone likes this design, Fender F tuners offer a great alternative.
Fender F tuners are a testament to the engineering prowess of Fender and their designers. This company simply pays attention to every single detail on their instruments.
Fender probably didn’t plan on selling these on the side, but the reputation of the F tuners has had too much of an impact. Since a simple change of tuners can completely resuscitate an otherwise mediocre guitar, having these available is a great alternative.
If you are looking for a great set of tuners, but you don’t want to get the locking design, Fender F tuners are probably your safest bet.
Just make sure that these can fit on the headstock of your guitar, or have a luthier make sure that they do. Luckily, Fender F tuners come in several colors, so you can match them with your guitars color scheme more easily.