mandolin gears sets compared
The strip on the left is from a set of normal Gotoh A gears,
been available for the last 15 or so years, with replacement ivoroid
buttons from Stew-Mac.
The strip on the right is an example of a new version of those gears,
which are supplied by Gotoh with different
than the Stew-Mac ones I put on the older set. The new plates are no
different than before, though you might notice that the button shafts
on the new Gotoh gears are two different
lengths, so the buttons lie in an arc. This has been an option from
Gotoh for some time, and it's a nice touch and appropriate for certain
The buttons themselves are of slightly different ivoroid
material. Both are machined,
They are different thicknesses and shapes as well:
The new button (bottom) is indeed much fatter.
The new button fits a round shaft with two flats:
The Stew-Mac button fits the older square shaft:
Since the new Gotoh buttons (which
also come in ebony and toiletoid) are virtually impossible to buy
available buttons is now a chore.
I initially hoped Gotoh wasn't switching all their gears to the
shaft, as a great many after-market buttons in ebony, real pearl and
will no longer fit. But I'm afraid they have done just that. A
perfectly good and user-friendly design has been changed to something
less so. Dang!
The button materials are both nice, but visually different. I
smoother feel of the Stew-Mac buttons. The edges are dressed nicer, and
the look is more traditional.
The collar on the new Gotoh button is superfluous. I really
wish they hadn't done it.
Gotoh also seems to have changed the riveting and stamping:
No comment, it's just a production
detail I noticed.
And they're still using cheap
looking phillips head screws and that garish industrial plating. Oh
Here's the kicker for me:
the new gears don't turn quite as
well as the old ones did. They're stiff and tight. Even before
the older ones turned like a dream, right out of the box. After some
lubing, these new ones are
OK, but they're really not as smooth as the old ones were. Alas,
something changed in this regard.
Change is not always for the better, though the older gears could have been made
better. Nicer plating, slotted screws, things like that.
Here's most of a catalog page from Gotoh. Note that they offer ebony
buttons as well as ivoroid and the dreaded pearloid, which of course is
stock. Anything you want as long as
you order 30 sets. From someone. I wish I knew who.
Click on the image to go to the Gotoh website and see more. Don't get
your hopes up about buying them however, unless you visit Roger
Siminoff, who to my knowledge is about the only purveyor of Gotoh's
Here are some links to other pages on gear-related issues:
My other page about
here | my page about tuner
Questions? Have more info? Please
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