The PRS Factory Blog
The PRS Factory Blog

Phase III Locking Tuners

by Paul Reed Smith on March 23, 2012

Filed Under Rules of Tone

Every part of a guitar has an effect on its overall tone. Anything a string is attached to will drain energy away from it.

Let’s consider tuners. Tuning pegs are one of only a few parts that a string actually touches, so they’re very important. If we made the entire tuning peg out of silicone rubber, would the guitar sound better? That question is an exaggeration to prove a point, which is: every single part of a tuning peg has an impact on the sound of the instrument and the tuning stability. A guitar with rubber tuning pegs would sound lifeless and have little sustain.

Our new Phase III machine head was designed and built with two goals in mind : One, that it doesn’t detract from the tone of the guitar and allows the tone woods of the neck and body to do their job, which is to be musical, and two, stay in tune while maintaining a highly useable gear ratio.

On a purely aesthetic level, I believe these new Phase III machine heads are handsome. They also sound great and just plain work. For those of you that don’t like change - get over it! I am confident that once you spend time with these new tuners, you’ll feel the same as I do.

In addition, I’ve heard that a few people have asked if the tuner’s open back design might be susceptible to dirt and wear prematurely. Absolutely not. Look back at all the old, high-quality instruments through acoustic guitar and bass history. History is very favorable to open back tuners.

Comments (17)
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Eider V July 30, 2014 - 8:33am
will the phase III locking tuners fit on my SE custom 24.. i heard otherwise from multiple people, and now im not sure if i should get them
Donwayne July 03, 2014 - 10:18pm
can i install the phase III tuner on my 1959 Gibson Les Paul? are they compatible?
Jax May 21, 2014 - 2:16pm
Can I put the phase II tuners on a 1996 CU22?
Salvador May 08, 2014 - 4:46pm
Can i put the locking tuners phase iii In my prs se 245 ?
PRS Guitars February 18, 2014 - 11:21am
Hi Tom, Due to the thinner headstock of models which use vintage tuners, the PRS locking tuners will not retrofit this headstock. Attempting this would cause an incorrect angle of the strings over the nut. In addition, the mounting hardware and size of the hole through the headstock are different and will not accommodate the locking PRS tuners.
Tom February 12, 2014 - 8:20am
I've an old McCarty and I'd like to change the vintage style tuners for Phase III. Is it working with Phase III? Somebody told me the McCarty headstock's thicker than oder PRS models and the Phase III tuners isn't mach the McCarty. Is it true? If it isn't match, how can I do it? :)
Adrian Gregory March 07, 2013 - 5:59am
I have a 2009 Hollowbody I. I think phase II tuners. A tuner head (the bit you grip and turn) recently worked loose. I tightened the screw holding it to the shaft but then it was too hard to turn. No obvious sweet spot? What advice can you give on setting this up right - or do I have a dodgy tuner?
PRS Guitars January 17, 2013 - 2:56pm
@James: Many companies including Gotoh offer locking vintage style tuners. Stew Mac, All Parts and other online luthier supply shops carry them. @R Dutton: Phase III tuners will be available for purchase by the beginning of March. @Markus: Phase II and Phase III tuners will NOT fit your 1990 EG. Sorry!
PRS Guitars January 17, 2013 - 11:05am
Christy, my apologies. Not replying here is my mistake. Please email custserv@prsguitars.com if you have any questions...we're happy to hear from you. We'll make it a point to respond publicly in the future. Thanks for your comment.
Christy January 16, 2013 - 8:42pm
I do not understand the purpose of this page if PRS representatives have no intention of answering or provide any up to date information to there loyal customers that keep them in business. Why not start with ( R. Dutton's & Sam's ) question. Thanks a million PRS
Markus December 09, 2012 - 2:12pm
Hi! Can I put these on my PRS EG 4 from 1990? Thanks
R Dutton December 06, 2012 - 12:32am
Hey. I just bought a 07 McCarty and would love to find out where to buy ths phase III tuners. Can anyone help me out?
James J. Johnson December 03, 2012 - 1:29pm
I have a Bernie Marsden SE and I'm looking for some locking tuners for this model. Can you help me out? Thanks
Mark Abbott November 06, 2012 - 4:02am
Actually the tuners on my 90 PRS custom are easy to change strings, but they are a bit stiff and it is easy to go past the tension I want. If the guitar has an Achilles heel it is the tuners. I thought they would have loosened with time, but they didn't. The guitar is in great condition and I wouldn't change them for aesthetic reasons.
Jaime September 05, 2012 - 7:15pm
Is there a video on how to change strings on the phase 3 locking tuners?
Sam May 10, 2012 - 10:52am
When will the Phase III be available as an aftermarket product? I have an '07 sc250 with some really stiff phase II's that I'd love to upgrade.
JD Bradshaw May 06, 2012 - 11:09am
My PRS Custom 24 and MIRA stay in tune better than any other guitar I own because of their locking tuners..I only play the best!
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