Jump to content
Hamer Fan Club Message Center
Sign in to follow this  
polara

Tuning instability causes

Recommended Posts

This is one of those things that makes people go nuts on The Gear Page, but maybe we’re slightly more rational here. I bring it up because with this band we do a “nonstop” kind of set. No pauses between songs, maybe just some feedback or synth noise vamp by Missus Polara. We like how it makes us SEEM more like a polished, big-time act. But it means no guitar changes and minimal tuning breaks. Obviously if something goes crazy wrong we break, but we try to be seamless. 
 

Tuning stability is thus my absolute top priority. And the engineering of Fender-style guitars, with strings going in a pretty straight line over the nut and then angling slightly downhill to the tuner, is probably why they tend to not go out of tune compared to Gibson-style: strings make a sharper turn running over the nut, so more friction. 
 

Any of y’all have favorite tips on getting the Gibson approach to stay it tune well? With my Monaco SuperPro, if I stretch the hell out of the strings, occasionally lube the nut, and tune the D and G strings to pitch, then bend them super hard, retune, repeat... it’s okay. The Music Man is easier: pull the string through the locking tuner. Tighten. Snip. Tune. Done. 
 

I can minimize the issues on a G-style by doing every little thing right, and maybe that’s the answer. There are no shortcuts. But what has worked for y’all? 

Edited by polara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like graphite powder mixed with a small amount of gun oil on the nut. It looks bad on light colored nuts so I’ve been using Big Bends on those colors. When I restring I lift the guitar a bit by each string and pull it in two directions while under pressure. You’d be amazed at how well that set’s the strings! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the old Martin method to install strings which locks it at the tuning post. Then stretch the heck out of them while tuning up.  Then play in for 5 or 10 minutes and stretch any that are still drifting.  Make sure your nut is cut well.  

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dutchman said:

I like graphite powder mixed with a small amount of gun oil on the nut. It looks bad on light colored nuts so I’ve been using Big Bends on those colors.

The problem with those methods are they attract dirt. Also if hands get graphite on them and it gets on the pickup poles, good luck getting the graphite off. The best method I’ve found, is using Crayola crayons. White and black for respective nut colors. Just scrape it into the slot, and voila, a nice slick surface the strings won’t bind on, and it won’t dirty up the slots by attracting dirt.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

                                     On the GIbbys I usually had no issues........................ BUT...........once in a great while I had some string 'PINCHING" in the nut.[You all know how that can hurt!] Then I would have the nut grooves checked to make sure nothing was getting hung up there, if so I would have them recut and polished. Strings should be stretch out and played in before a performance also. Check how you are wrapping the strings on your string posts,and make sure your tuners are not slipping.lots of things can be done to improve tuning issues. I have used this also but don't over do it just a tiny weeny bit in the nut slots does the trick. 8IJTAya.jpg

Edited by ARM OF HAMER
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BoogieMKIIA said:

I use the old Martin method to install strings which locks it at the tuning post

I've found ^^this^^ is the key to solving most of the problem.  Here's a link that shows it in detail if you're not familiar.

As recently discussed in another thread, the String Stretcha works much better for stretching the strings than grabbing and pulling at three or four locations up and down the neck.  After using it for nearly a year I still feel like I should be on a Ronco commercial, but I just stretch it, and forget it.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, gtrdaddy said:

The problem with those methods are they attract dirt. Also if hands get graphite on them and it gets on the pickup poles, good luck getting the graphite off. The best method I’ve found, is using Crayola crayons. White and black for respective nut colors. Just scrape it into the slot, and voila, a nice slick surface the strings won’t bind on, and it won’t dirty up the slots by attracting dirt.

That’s a great Idea!! I’m gonna try it!!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stew Mac sells a lubricant that is graphite mixed into wax. I love it. Not messy like a lot of the nut lubricants, and works great.  I have also used it on truss rod nuts, as it won't drip into the wood, and doesn't attract dirt.  It is a bit pricey, but it seems like all the lubricants are.  They call it "guitar grease"

https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_Supplies/Cleaners_and_Lubricants/Guitar_Grease.html

I will say that Crayons are mentioned as the cure to Kahler tuning issues.

Edited by tbonesullivan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have stated, the nut slots are crucial. I use the old strings to smooth out the slots, seems to work pretty well. Grab an end of the string in each hand and pull it taught, and use air like a file in a back and forth motion through the slot. Just don't go overboard with it. Using a #2 pencil to draw in the slot helps lube it and works good. 

Next look at your saddles... Make sure there are no sharp edges to catch on were the strings pass over. You could try the string/file trick on it, but the point end of a micro size rattail file works well if you find an issue.  And of course the condition of the tuners is important. I try to use a minimal length of string to wrap around the posts... like 3 to 5 wraps, in single file (not crossing over. I read an interview with BB King once and he was saying he used almost all of the string to wrap on the tuner. To the point it was a big glob on the post. I guess it worked for him, but I'm not going to do it.

Anyway, these are methods I've used with success.

Other than that, the guitar's structure can affect things. I have a mid/late 70's SG Deluxe that goes flat if you simply rotate it to face the ground. That guitar feels and play sooo good, but you're constantly tweaking with the tuning and it drives me nuts.

Edited by DaveH
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, cynic said:

......Here's a link that shows it in detail if you're not familiar......

I've done this for the past 20 years on all of my guitars and it has virtually eliminated my tuning issues. Two tugs at the 12th fret on new strings and your pretty much good to go.  Just pulled my Les Paul out of the case after 3 months (straight from a gig) and it's in tune with stock tuners, no nut goo of any kind. It took me faaaar too long to learn that trick, but it is bulletproof.

Now, if I have a problem with tuning, 99% of the time it's a bad string or set of strings.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I literally stopped bending strings so dang much on Gibson scale guitars. If I can slide into or out of a note instead of a bend, I do it. Worse case scenario would be a bend on record, but a slide live (I obviously don’t play live so YMMV).

The worst thing for me was replacing bluesy and emotional bending with actual fucking licks... I’m self taught and don’t know theory, don’t know any chords or know any scales. My first iteration as a guitarist was a Kirk Hammett “Kill em” All” era clone (LOTS of whole step bending)... my next was a grunge era Mike McReady/DeLeo clone (LOTS of whole step bending)... basically my solos were comprised of mostly blooz bends in the 80s and 90s. Coming up with actual licks was like pulling teeth with me... not easy.

I wish I had some tips but I’ve tried everything I can get my hands on and nothing ever works.

I do happily bend single notes on my Floyd Rose equipped guitars... no pedal steel, unison or adjacent bends involving more than one string though.

These bending limitations really fucking suck IMHO.

Edited by zenmindbeginner
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ream the nut slots w old strings like Dave described. I stretch like crazy including behind the nut and tailpiece on a gibby style. I also find that if youve developed ANY backbow in your neck the d and g go nuts on a setneck 24.75 scale

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, zenmindbeginner said:

I literally stopped bending strings so dang much on Gibson scale guitars. If I can slide into or out of a note instead of a bend, I do it. Worse case scenario would be a bend on record, but a slide live (I obviously don’t play live so YMMV).

The worst thing for me was replacing bluesy and emotional bending with actual fucking licks... I’m self taught and don’t know theory, don’t know any chords or know any scales. My first iteration as a guitarist was a Kirk Hammett “Kill em” All” era clone (LOTS of whole step bending)... my next was a grunge era Mike McReady/DeLeo clone (LOTS of whole step bending)... basically my solos were comprised of mostly blooz bends in the 80s and 90s. Coming up with actual licks was like pulling teeth with me... not easy.

I wish I had some tips but I’ve tried everything I can get my hands on and nothing ever works.

I do happily bend single notes on my Floyd Rose equipped guitars... no pedal steel, unison or adjacent bends involving more than one string though.

These bending limitations really fucking suck IMHO.

                                                              WOW! really? regarding your playing abilities.Your a really fine guitarist IMHO,love your videos. [Playing those Hamer's doesn't hurt either] I would have never guessed.Compliment intended!:)

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/18/2020 at 7:22 PM, hamerhead said:

I've done this for the past 20 years on all of my guitars and it has virtually eliminated my tuning issues. Two tugs at the 12th fret on new strings and your pretty much good to go.  Just pulled my Les Paul out of the case after 3 months (straight from a gig) and it's in tune with stock tuners, no nut goo of any kind. It took me faaaar too long to learn that trick, but it is bulletproof.

Now, if I have a problem with tuning, 99% of the time it's a bad string or set of strings.

Jeffro's "lightning bolt" approach (bend on both sides of the tuning post) works great:
 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MCChris said:

Jeffro's "lightning bolt" approach (bend on both sides of the tuning post) works great:
 

 

Nice! I'll have to try that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, MCChris said:

Jeffro's "lightning bolt" approach (bend on both sides of the tuning post) works great:

That's essentially what the aforementioned "martin method" achieves but with the added bonus of pinching the bitter end between the wrap and the post.  I've done as little as half a wrap with wound strings and had no slippage.

This video is offers a better explanation than the one previously posted, but it's long and requires some FF'ing.

 

Edited by cynic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, cynic said:

That's essentially what the aforementioned "martin method" achieves but with the added bonus of pinching the bitter end between the wrap and the post.  I've done as little as half a wrap with wound strings and had no slippage.

The Martin approach doesn't call for the second bend, which renders the pinching unnecessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, MCChris said:

The Martin approach doesn't call for the second bend, which renders the pinching unnecessary.

That second bend is the bend that happens naturally as the post is turned regardless of method. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^This. You get 2 bends, then a wrap over the string. That baby ain't going nowhere.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

huh, never tried bending on the autre side of the post.

Really? 

I've found that you do have to make sure the nut grooves are not prone to pinching. FR's are a whole other discussion, but basically other than that - tug on the string quite a bit and tune up. rinse and repeat as necessary...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BillW said:

huh, never tried bending on the autre side of the post.

Really? 

I hadn't either. It's brilliant, I tell ya! No need for the wrap-under thing (although no harm in doing that too).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, MCChris said:

I hadn't either. It's brilliant, I tell ya! No need for the wrap-under thing (although no harm in doing that too).

It really is the way to go. Almost as good as tuners with locking posts. Way less stretching involved. As long as the nut and saddles are right, you can go for hours without tuning.

Edited by gtrdaddy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...