Updated: January 25, 2020 by Richard Cole
What makes a good guitar? This is the question that a lot of people are trying to find an answer to. The truth is that a guitar is the sum of its components, and will be as good as those components.
When people usually look at guitars, they most often pay attention exclusively to what type of pickups it comes with, or what wood was used for the body and the neck. This is definitely fine, however those elements alone are still not enough to define a great guitar.
Strings are what allows the guitar to even create sound. This is fairly obvious and doesn’t require further explanation. However, what you use to mount the strings on a guitar can have a significant impact on the quality of tone you can expect to get.
You can have the best EMG pickups ever made, but if your guitar is constantly falling out of tune, or its loosing intonation, it’s never going to be a good guitar at the end of the day.
So, how do we mount the strings on a guitar. There are two main elements, the bridge and the guitar string pegs on the other side of the instrument.
Tuning pegs are not only used to tune the strings on your guitar, they also allow you to mount the strings in a way that will reduce their chance of snapping after a short period of use.
You know how you’re supposed to wind the strings a decent number of times around the tuning peg? There is a good reason for that. If you want to experiment with this and don’t mind spending couple of dollars on a cheap set of strings, you can see for yourself.
When mounting the test set of strings, don’t leave any slack, and you will probably end up with maybe one wrap of on the tuning peg. Now try to tune the guitar. You will find it to be almost impossible. If you somehow manage to do it, chances are your newly butchered set of strings will last you several days at the most before breaking.
To summarize the issue, tuning pegs are extremely important. There are solutions out there, such as the Floyd Rose bridge which locks down the strings and doesn’t allow them to fall out of tune, however not everyone wants to mess with such complex systems. If you want a guitar with a standard bridge, you will want to have the best tuning pegs you can find.
Without locking nuts and complex bridges, it’s the tuning pegs alone that hold the tune of the guitar. If you have cheap tuning pegs, you will need to tune your guitar every 15 minutes if you start playing it for a longer period of time. This pretty much makes that instrument useless.
That’s why you will see most guitar players investing in an aftermarket set of tuning pegs. You can purchase a set that is just easy to use, but will actually do an outstanding job at holding a tune. On a side note, there is one more incredibly annoying result of bad tuning pegs that you can expect to encounter.
As time goes by, a cheap set of tuning pegs will start to come loose. First thing you will notice is some free travel in the winding pegs themselves. Once you start playing, the vibration of the strings will cause the now loose tuning pegs to rattle. This can seriously impact your sound, and even force you to look for the problem somewhere else.
Guitar string pegs are one of the most important parts on any guitar. If it came down to picking a guitar that has incredible electronics but a questionable set of tuning pegs, or a guitar that has decent pickups but a quality set of tuning pegs, we would recommend you go for the latter every time.
That is unless you have the money to swap out the pegs and install an aftermarket set. For those who need to buy a guitar, and not modify it, you should keep quality guitar string pegs as one of the primary requirements on your list. You can save a lot of money and nerves this way.