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Banjo Tuners

When the banjo was first introduced to the world in the 17th century, it used tapered friction-type tuning pegs. Back then, all stringed instruments were “gut strung” and utilized friction between the peg and wood to stay in tune. But with the advent of steel stringing, geared tuners slowly became available on many high-end instruments, most likely in the mid to late 1800s. Unlike guitar tuners, which project from the headstock at a 90-degree angle, banjo tuners emerged from the headstock in a straight line – and still do. Since banjo tuners hold so closely to the look of the old-time friction pegs, today we still typically call them “pegs,” “tuning pegs,” or “geared pegs,” rather than “tuning machines,” or “tuners,” as we would if we were referring to the same basic hardware on a guitar or mandolin.

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