The purpose of mechanical guitar tuning machines has always been to enable the instrument to be tuned with precision. It follows that the result with fine quality tuning machines is to be able to tune the strings with the greatest possible precision.
All musicians know well that it is not enough simply to reach the nominal pitch of the string. The tuning of fixed-fret instruments is always a compromise since slight variations of the various pitches (for temperament/key) are always necessary. Considering, then, that all tuning machines can tune the instrument, why opt for high quality mechanics?
The answer is simple: precision!
When we talk of precision in this context we refer to the greater ease of refining, or ‘tweaking’, the tuning in order to attain those few cents of pitch – higher or lower – that make the crucial difference towards the optimal result. (This principal, of course, applies to all stringed instruments). It is here that high-precision mechanical construction comes into play.
Alessi Tuning Machines are manufactured to the highest possible degree of precision.
All component parts are produced using CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines to achieve the greatest accuracy and consistency.
Yet whilst the choice of materials and the hand-assembly craftsmanship are of the highest order, these alone are not enough to achieve the highest possible quality.
Further detailed finishing processes are necessary to obtain the optimum result and these, again, are meticulously carried out manually.
Alessi Tuning Machines are conceived with very specific criteria:
The FIRST criterion is, as has already been mentioned, precision. This concerns the worm screw and rotation gear of the roller barrel. The final coupling between the two parts is made in such a way as to cancel even the slightest play, so that the rotation of the roller (the string winding barrel) is as direct and immediate as possible in both directions of movement, giving the player a very real sense of direct contact with the string whilst tuning.
(A Patent has recently been filed (PATENT PENDING) which essentially consists of being able to manually access the worm screw and gear not only during assembly but also in the future should the play between the two parts become such as to allow the slightest backlash. This operation will be very simple to perform and anyone can do it easily).
The SECOND criteria comes from the fact that some tuning machines – although assembled to an assumed optimum smoothness of operation – can deteriorate causing an almost-constant detuning of the instrument. In fact, many guitarists will have noticed the persistent need for tuning adjustment, without actually realising that it is often the tuning machine itself which is the cause, not the string.
Alessi Tuning Machines are equipped with a worm screw friction system calibrated in order to avoid this tedious problem. (Which is why they are perhaps a little more resistant to rotation but hold the tuning far more precisely, and better transmit the sound, whilst the gearing and parts themselves are very compact)
In regard to rotation: a distinction must be made between the mechanical part of the worm and screw gears, and the rollers. As already mentioned, the two-part worm and gear assembly is frictioned perfectly to prevent the tension of the strings from overcoming the mechanical resistance, thus causing constant detuning of the strings. The rotation of the rollers must, on the other hand, be utterly fluid and above all must eliminate any interfering friction caused by rotating in or against the wooden head of the instrument.
This is why the string rollers are equipped with outer bearing wheels which are mounted on fixed supports in the guitar head centre to avoid any contact with the outer part of the string roller.
The standard arrangement for this is by a plain Delryn bearing. To special request the Delryn bearing can be replaced by miniature ball race bearings. (It is worth noting, however, that due to the extremely high integrity of the Alessi system, very little force is transmitted to these outer roller bearings)
A further feature is the presence of a specifically designed-in ‘fail safe’ in the mechanism, created to avoid damage to the head of the instrument. In the event of a collision or serious blow, the worm gear absorbs the forces and will yield, thus avoiding much worse damage to the structure of the instrument. In such instances the damaged part of the mechanism can easily be replaced without excessive cost (far less than possible structural repairs)
The innovative design, the very high quality materials used throughout for the manufacture of all the component parts, their generous proportions and the wear-resistant bearings, and meticulous assembly, all allow for an extreme long life of the mechanism. After much rigorous and in-depth testing, this can confidently said to be for many decades into the future.
Why opt for Alessi Tuning Machines?
Highest possible performance.
Constructed throughout using the finest proven materials, leading to
Maximum possible working life.
Refined and world-renowned aesthetics
Customisation of templates available.
Immediate customer support,
and Last but not least, reasonable prices, but it doesn’t mean poor quality
And much more…
© Nicolo Alessi 2021
ALESSI Tuning Machines are created out of a combination of love and knowledge: on the one hand a passion for the classical guitar and, on the other, more than 30 years experience as an industrial designer.