What do you call the tuning thingy poking out on the head stock of your bass guitar?
There are many variations of the names that bass tuning keys are called, so those little knobs you use to change the pitch of the strings can be named;
- Tuning Keys
- Tuning Knobs
- Machine Heads
- Elephant Ears
- & More
On the bass guitars, where the string tension is usually extremely higher than a normal standard guitar, a larger, heavier duty set of machine heads are used, these machine heads are the engine room of the bass tuning setup and the knobs and keys are their wingman.
The Bass tuners usually feature larger knobs than their guitar tuner counterparts too and sometimes can be a wide variety of shapes and sizes, these are attached to the other part of the tuning setup which is where the gears are.
Generally Bass guitars machine heads make use of a worm gear for their tuning knob system.
This is a spiraled screw thread and a gear that lock together, the rotating the screw will slowly move the gear around and then tighten or loosen the string to give you the required tension to give you the correct note.
The standard gear ratio used on the machine head is 20:1 and exposed gears are more common in premium top end bass guitars than in the standard six string guitars.
There are so many variations involved in this bass guitar part the best way to see them or to buy if you need an upgrade is online, just google “Bass Machine Heads” or any one of the variables of names in the dot points above and this should get you going in the correct direction.
There you have it, a brief insight into the elephant ear looking knobs at the end of your bass, enjoy.