Recently, there has been much talk about locking tuners on this website. However, we still haven’t considered the following topic: do you need locking tuners with a locking nut? That’s all about to change. Today, that question will be the subject of the article you’ll find below.

If you haven’t read our old articles about locking tuners, there’s a chance you still haven’t been introduced to this amazing piece of guitarist’s equipment. We’ll try to cover the basics, without sounding like we’re repeating ourselves. Well, at least we’ll give it a show and that’s what counts, right? Anyway, stay tuned for some useful info!

According to many guitar players, a locking nut will do a better job at preventing your strings from going out of tune. Therefore, using both locking tuners and a locking nut might seem excessive. But that’s only at first sight. By sporting both pieces of equipment, you’ll get to enjoy the faster-string-replacement addition locking tuners will provide you with. 

We know, we know… The whole “reading only the preview isn’t gonna help you blah blah” part is kinda getting dull. But, no, really, you want to read the whole thing, trust us.

Table of Contents

What are locking tuners?

First of all, let’s get the basic info concerning this article’s subject matter out of our way. That being said, we’ll continue to define the main term we’ll be using today! So, what exactly are locking tuners?

Here’s the thing: locking tuners are, in a way, just like typical tuning machines. However, there’s a difference (well, of course): they’re made to enhance tuning stability. Also, they greatly improve the speed of the string replacement process. Here’s how they work: they usually have a pin or some sort of a retaining mechanism that locks/clamps your guitar strings in position. Therefore, they prevent the strings from slipping while you’re playing your favorite instrument.

Once they lock the strings in position, locking tuners assist you in doing away with the need to wrap the strings around the posts, which makes your life a little bit easier.  We’ve talked about it thoroughly in the article you can read by clicking right here.

The pros of using locking tuners

Let’s have a quick glance at the advantages of using locking tuners:

  • Fantastic tuning stability. Even if you’re quite used to playing with a tremolo or performing extreme string bends, your strings will stay in tune.
  • Quicker string replacement. You’ll save yourself a lot of time by not having to wrap your guitar strings around the posts.
  • Minimal headstock modification. There’s a good chance that you won’t have to drill extra holes in your headstock.

It would be a shame if we didn’t mention a single con of using locking tuners: they’ll add some additional weight to your instrument. However, it won’t make a tremendous difference or something (especially if you play guitar while sitting). Additionally, if you’re wondering whether you can use locking tuners as regular tuners, follow that link.

Anyway, why did we say locking tuners are the focal point of this article. What about the locking nuts?

What is a locking nut?

Let’s see what is the definition of the other important term we’ll discuss today! A locking guitar nut is designed with a so-called clamping mechanism (just like the tuners). That mechanism will lock the strings in place for the same reasons as above: to increase tuning stability while you’re playing your favorite instrument. Usually, on a locking nut – you’ll find these little screws that are tightened against little metal pieces that squeeze the strings of your guitar against the base of the nut. All in all: they’ve got a very similar role to the one locking tuners have.

If you’re curious to know where you’re able to put a locking nut on a Strat, click right here. Now that you’ve read the info we’ve shown you above, it’s only natural one would ask: do I really need locking tuners when I’ve got a locking nut? Let’s find out together!

Two friends replacing the strings on a guitar with a locking nut

Do you need locking tuners with a locking nut?

As we’ve already said since their function seems pretty similar, is there really a need to have locking tuners if you’re already “sporting” a locking nut? You’ll find that there’s been quite a discussion about this issue on many guitar-related online forums. We’ve summed them all up and this is what we’ve got to say on the subject:

  • You’ll want to keep in mind that they don’t really do the same, identical thing. Once you’ve locked the strings with locking tuners, it doesn’t necessarily mean your guitar will never go out of tune or something if you’re quite known to go mad with your whammy bar such as a Floyd Rose (speaking of which, here’s an article on whether Floyd Roses are good for beginners). However, a locking nut might do a better job at keeping your strings in place, according to many guitar players worldwide. Lastly, having both pieces of guitarist’s equipment installed on your instrument might be the best option; if the nut is clamped tuners might seem excessive, but that’s only at first sight since you’ll get to enjoy the fast-string-replacement pro of using locking tuners. 

So, yeah, all in all: a locking nut alone gets the job done when it comes to keeping your strings in tune. However, adding locking tuners is also a good thing since you’ll notice how fast you’re able to change the strings with them. Now that we’ve considered the main issue this article has put under the spotlight, let’s see if there’s anything else that we’d like to mention related to the subject of locking tuners/nuts. As always, stay tuned!

How do you lock a string without locking tuners?

If you’re not so keen on obtaining locking tuners, there’s a way to lock the strings in place without using the aforementioned piece of equipment. We’ve prepared a little step-by-step guide to assist you. Let’s see how can one lock guitar strings without having to use locking tuners:

  • Step #1. First things first, you’ll need to bring the string down the center point of the peghead. Simply thread it out towards the knob.
  • Step #2. You’ll need to leave a bit of the string’s length in order to wind it around the tuner. Bend the string in a gentle manner towards the peghead’s top.
  • Step #3. Next up, just pass the guitar string up and under itself.
  • Step #4. Fold the string over itself, while securing the tension at both ends of it.
  • Step #5. Lastly, don’t stop keeping the tension on the string and start to wind. Your string will need to be wound down the shaft in order to enhance the string angle over the guitar nut.

That’s about it. There are a few ways you can do the same, but this one might be the simplest of them all.

Why does my guitar string keep slipping?

In other words: why do some folks have trouble keeping their guitar in tune? Let’s see if there’s an answer to this conundrum that bugs the brains of many guitarists around the globe. Of course, there ain’t a single answer we can introduce you to and say: this is the one, for sure, no need to doubt it. Quite the contrary, it can be a number of things.

#1 It might be the strings themselves

There are a couple of questions you’ll want to ask yourself to see if your strings might suffer from being worn out:

  • How old are the strings that I’m using? 
  • How often do I play and for how long?

Needless to say, if you’re practicing/playing your guitar quite a lot, there’s a pretty fair chance that your strings are undergoing a lot of pressure. Keep this in mind: you’ll want to change the strings once you notice that they’ve lost the brightness in the sound that’s coming out of your instrument.

#2 It might be your tuning pegs

There’s always the chance that your tuning pegs might slip, and make your string flat. You’ll want to check how well they’re doing at keeping the string tension by tuning your strings in the usual manner and then repeating the process once again. If you’ve noticed that tuning the adjacent strings has resulted in some slippage, that’s a sign that your tuning pegs will need some adjustment. If you’ve got any doubts, of course, take your guitar to an experienced technician.

#3 Are you using a capo?

If you’re constantly using a capo while playing, it might be the cause behind your strings going out of tune. Here’s the thing: a badly positioned capo will certainly influence your pitch (in a negative manner) by pulling the strings way too much. That will, of course, result in unwanted sharpness. You’re able to avoid this by placing the capo directly onto the frat, instead of positioning it on either side of it.

Also, your guitar strap might be causing this issue by pressing down on your guitar strings by the nut, therefore enhancing the tension and making the sound that’s coming out of your instrument sharp.

The bottom line

Alright, folks. That’s about all there’s to say about whether one should combine locking tuners with a locking nut. Hopefully, you’ve had some good clean fun reading this one and found some info you weren’t aware of before. For more guitar-related info and tips on playing your favorite instrument in the whole world, click here.