Fustero Guitar Tuner for old Spanish Guitars. Made in Spain. Imported by Fernandez Music.

October 7, 2011. I now have a few sets of Fusteros available. These are intended as replacement for guitars handmade in Spain.

May 12, 2011. Last week I received an email from Fustero saying that they were sending the tuners which I had order 9 months ago. These will probably arrive by end of May. I am reserving any lyra style tuners for vintage guitars made in Spain. I had speculators wanting to purchase all I have so they could jack up the price. There are a number of very good tuners on the market (such as Gotohs) which can be used by modern luthiers. Such tuners can certainly blend with their designs. In contrast the old Spanish guitars need the Fusteros to preserve their authenticity.

September 19, 2010.I received an e-mail from the Fustero workshop on Septermber 13, 2010 saying that the workshop has been closed since July 2010 and that Sr. Fustero has retired. They told me that they could still send me my final order. It looks to me that very soon there will be no more hand engraved Fusteros. Ron Fernandez, long time importer of Fustero Tuners.


Lira (Lyra) top, gold plated, hand engraved $725--available as of October 7, 2011.

Fustero high grade tuners were used as original equipment on most concert quality guitars made in Spain since 1946. Used by Jose Ramirez, Miguel Rodriguez of Cordoba, Manuel Rodriguez, Ignacio Fleta, Felix Manzanero, Antonio Marin Montero, Manuel Reyes, Archangel Fernandez, Marcelino Barbero, Pedro Miguel, Manuel Contreras, Ignacio Rozas, Francisco Esteve Concert Models, and many others.

The top of the line models are hand engraved. You can see that they are done by hand because the cuts in the metal are clearer and sharper than those which are stamped by a machine.

The gold plated are plated with real gold. I had a goldsmith here in California check the plating.

Most models have 35mm spacing between the rollers. As of October 7, 2011 I have 2 sets of Fusteros with 36mm spacing for Fletas and other vintage guitars; one set with lyra and one set without. Price is $825 per set plus shipping (and 7.75% sales tax if you are in California).

The present tuners are technically superior to those used 20 or 30 years ago. More specifically, the gears are larger, there are washers below the gears to reduce friction and wear, and the rollers are a more durable material.

If you have a vintage guitar made in Spain. Fustero should be your choice. Nothing looks more out of place than to have German or American tuners on a fine Spanish classical or flamenco.

Double waists, black knobs, chrome plated, gold etched $725, available as of October 7, 2011. Please note that the plate is actually a chrome-color--it is shiny not gray colored.

 

Double waists, gold plated, no lyra. $725, available as of October 7, 2011, "bone" design knobs. With "black" faux horn knobs the price is $725

Here's an important note about Fustero tuning knobs. In my December 2004 shipment I requested and received 2 different "white" knobs from Fustero. One type is an imitation "mother of pearl" and the other is an imitation "bone" or "ivory". Please look at the photo below to see the difference between the 2 types of "white" knobs I received. I also continue to receive "black" knobs which look like horn. All 3 of these knobs are very strong and very attractive.

The left knobs are the imitation bone, on the right are the imitation MOP (mother of pearl). This photo does not do justice to the iridescent quality of this imitation MOP.

 

Single machine tuners (above). These custom made Fustero "singles" are gold plated and hand engraved. They are a little less than 32mm in length which makes them suitable for any guitar with roller spacing of more than 32mm. So, these are a solution for guitars with 36mm or 39mm spaced rollers. Also, these could be used for 7 or 8 or 10 string guitars. Contact me for availability and price.

Because of the general lack of information on this topic, I should clarify the matter of authentic mother of pearl knobs. Many years ago Fustero used mother of pearl for their premium models (probably about 30 years ago). I do not know exactly when they switched to imitation knobs but it has been a long time. On a trip I made to their workshop in the late 1990's I asked the Fustero Brothers for the old style oval shaped Mother of Pearl knobs and they told me that they did not have any and in turn they asked me if I had a good source for the MOP. The problem with mother of pearl for the Fusteros was not only the expense but the issue of good consistent quality. The quality issue concerns tiny hidden fissues in the MOP buttons. Such fissures can allow the knobs to split or chip. There is a parallel issue with wooden buttons. The Fusteros told me that they do not like ebony buttons because they have had problems with buttons spliting. They told me that grenadillo buttons (knobs) are a bit stronger.

Since at least 2009-2010 the mother of pearl issue has been complicated by the enforcement of provisions of the Lacey Act in the United States. As I understand the matter, it is mandatory that dealers of mother of pearl and abalone register with the US Federal Government (Fish and Wildlife, Department of Agriculture). Such regulations make dealing/importation/exportation in such materials too complicated so we do not trade in such materials. You can find current regulation on Google by researching Lacey Act and by reading through the Department of Agriculture website.

It is important to realize that the metal shaft inside of the knob exerts a lot of pressure as it is turned. Natural materials such as MOP (which comes from a shell), wood, bone, and ivory are not as consistent in strength and density as the synthetic materials used for knobs which are quite homogeneous. Consequently, the "natural materials" are more likely to fail.

With regard to this issue of authentic verses synthetic knobs, my feeling is that I do not want to deal with the possibility of MOP or wooden knobs which might split in the future when we have a very dependable, strong, beautiful synthetic material for knobs. I should note here that the material used by Fustero is not the opaque cheap plastic used on low grade tuners, it is a material which has a depth to it and is quite strong.

I should also mention here that fine luthiers all over Spain put these types of knobs on their concert grade instruments because they work well, are attractive and are long lasting. If they want to impress collectors and people looking for guitars as works of art they will offer Rodgers tuners from England which are 2 to 3 times the price but of a non-Spanish design. Jose Ramirez III, for example, did this on his Centenario model--a model which had very fine ornamentation but did not sound any better than his 1-A models. I say this from personal experience because my family and I were authorized importers of Jose Ramirez guitars back in the 1960's and in the late 70's/early 80's when we acquired a Centenario.

Please note that all of the Fustero which I import are hand engraved. It is very important that you realize that Fustero also makes cheaper tuners which are NOT hand engraved such tuners are much cheaper. There are 2 models of these cheaper Fusteros. One retails for about $200, it has a black base plate with gold colored ornamentation and pearloid buttons. Another less expensive model has a base plate which is molded--you can distinguish such tuners from the high-end hand engraved models by the sharpest of the engraving cuts.


I should like to mention here that in March 2006 I visited the Fustero workshop--my previous visit had been in the mid-1990. I had a very interesting visit with Javier Fustero who gave me a detailed tour of the workshop. It takes a surprising number of metal working machines to make these little tuning machines! At that time, Javier told that he and his brother were still running the workshop which was established in 1946 by his father. In telling me about the manufacturing process Javier told me that it took an hour to hand engrave the deluxe tuners and that currently they had 2 brothers with decades of experience doing the engraving. I have been pleased to be able to distribute these fine tuners to players around the world.

The very skilled engraver at the Fustero workshop


To order Fustero tuners, contact us by e-mail or phone (949-856-1537) so we can calculate your total cost with shipping and state tax if you are in California. Payment is by money order or credit card or if you are overseas, an international postal order in dollars.We now take VISA and Mastercard. Prices do not include shipping and handling.

Send to: Fernandez Music, P.O. Box 5153, Irvine, CA 92616.

When you write to me tell me where you are located (City and Country). If you have any questions or to check inventory before ordering, email me at: ron@fernandezmusic.com.

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