The reason the original tuners were stiff had to do with the tapered headstock thickness of early Gibsons (the peghead is thicker at the nut and truss-rod cavity than it is at the tip of the peghead), as well as a factory-sanded curve in the back of the peghead. As a result, when the mounting screws were tightened, the tuner plate bent from end to end, and the posts became tilted in their respective holes. After 50-plus years of use, the soft brass crown gears had gotten chewed up from the pressure. In fact, when Ex tightened down the new tuners, they were hard to turn!
My fix for this is to place two wood-veneer shims under the plate in the center that taper out to the ends. The first shim fills the concave hollow of the stamped tuner plate, and the second shim acts as a spacer to keep the plate flat when the screws are tightened down.
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