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Tuning instability issues...

#1 User is offline   woody88 

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  Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:34 PM

So I purchased a Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro back in July from guitar center and from day one its had its share of tuning issues. Its always been minor however and I just dealt with it. I was just happy to own a Gibson, and loved everything else about the guitar. Plus the guitar center near me didn't have any other Trad Pro's that were in any better condition or the same color; most looked like they had been knocked around a bit. A few months down the road and the instability is getting worse! I have reason to believe that its the guitars nut: The G string and the B string make a sort of clicking sound when played and bent sometimes that seems as though its coming from the nut; almost as if the strings are somehow getting hung up on something. This was further proved today when I found out that pushing down on any string behind the nut (like as is done in the beginning of IRON MAN)the string falls sharp. When bent below the neck as one would normally do, the string goes a little flat, almost back in tune, but never quite there.

I don't know what else it could be? I am a little bit less than satisfied at the moment. My inexpensive $200 ibanez does not have this issue, or any issues for that matter. I can bend the strings until they all but break and the strings always go back in tune.

What can be done about this? :(

#2 User is offline   Tim Plains 

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:42 PM

That's very common on Gibson corian nuts. You can:

Replace the nut.
Have the grooves filed.
Do what many do and place powdered graphite or lead pencil shavings in the grooves every once in a while.
Tim

#3 User is offline   woody88 

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:46 PM

View Postguitarest, on 13 December 2011 - 08:43 PM, said:

try loosing the strings and putting either graphite or number 2 pencil lead in the nut and see if that helps. Some use nut sauce, I don't use it. I like my old tried and true number 2 pencil lead (shavings not the actual point) it should be in powder form.


I could try it, but that sounds to me like only a temporary fix. The fact that this even happens commonly baffles me. How can an American made guitar have these kinds of issues frequently when outsourced guitars made in India or China don't? Is it a design flaw or what?

Now I am not saying over-seas made guitars dont have their share of issues, they do. But those also do not cost over 2 grand... AND I have heard of this tuning instability before, and quality control issues regarding Gibson. But I didn't believe it before I bought mine.

#4 User is offline   nikininja 

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:49 PM

You'll always have a problem with Gibson's headstock pitch and the way those strings fan out to the tuners. A cross you must bear. I think it's worth it though. Other designs have their own problems.

There are a few things you can do to maintain tuning stability.
1 clean the nut slots. There's no need for lubricants or graphite on a well cut nut. Just keep the slots clean. All lube does is attract dust and grime. It's great for a week or a month, then the grime builds up and you get a sticky nut. Far better off to never put the stuff in the nut slots in the first place.
A great way to clean a nut slot is by using dental floss.

2 keep your string winds round the tuning posts to a minimum. I go an inch past the post that I'm going to wind on to and cut my string off at that point. It gives a couple of winds round the post. Not too many that the string binds on itself. Not too few that the string slips on the post.

3 Adjust your tail piece/stop bar to the correct height. The stop bar is adjustable. Create too great a break angle over the bridge saddles and you're going to incur tuning problems. The stop bar should be down enough to provide enough tension that the strings don't sitar on the saddles. But not so much that the strings will bind on the saddles either. Also it will help extend the life of the bridge.

Hope some of that helps.

#5 User is offline   nikininja 

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:51 PM

I hasten to add, graphite doesn't cause a sticky nut. I just don't like grey nut slots.

#6 User is offline   woody88 

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 08:59 PM

View Postnikininja, on 13 December 2011 - 08:49 PM, said:

3 Adjust your tail piece/stop bar to the correct height. The stop bar is adjustable. Create too great a break angle over the bridge saddles and you're going to incur tuning problems. The stop bar should be down enough to provide enough tension that the strings don't sitar on the saddles. But not so much that the strings will bind on the saddles either. Also it will help extend the life of the bridge.

Hope some of that helps.


How do I know if the tail piece is at the correct height?

Also, are there any Les Pauls that come off the assembly line that do not experience these issues? If so, am I better off getting mine fixed or looking into selling what I have and buying another guitar? (not necessarily a Gibson, unless I can find one that has NO issues)

If I do get the nut fixed, would this be the last of my issues? I have to be honest, I didn't spend too much time with the guitar before I bought it. I had a couple people look it over and they told me its a good guitar, I just don't want to bother getting the nut fixed if there are other underlying issues.

#7 User is offline   BigKahune 

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:04 AM

View Postnikininja, on 13 December 2011 - 08:49 PM, said:

..... You'll always have a problem with Gibson's headstock pitch and the way those strings fan out to the tuners. A cross you must bear. ....


IMO once properly setup with correctly cut nut and saddle slots - there should be no binding problems at the nut or saddles.

As R9 has already mentioned, Gibson's factory cut nuts are frequently too narrow in the slots causing binding. A properly cut/setup nut will correct binding in the nut slots. And regarding the string angle from the nut to the tuners being an issue, that corner of the nut slot can be eased. Lubricant may allow you to avoid filing the nut slots.

If you find the lubricant is not working, has Guitarest commented - find an established shop/luthier to do the work for you.

For the problem you're describing at the nut, the stop height makes no difference.
13 Gibson CS Advanced Jumbo R/Spruce..O12 Gibson Southern Jumbo TV....O11 RainSong JM-3000 12
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08 Gibson Robot SG LTD........................oO08 Fender Am/Dlx Stratocaster.....08 Gibson Les Paul Push Tone
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#8 User is offline   cjmwrx 

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:09 AM

Posted Image

These things work great. And the lead is small enough to get into the slots. Next best thing to having the nut filed out. Even after having a luthier have at mine, I still have to use a pencil on the D. Then again, I don't have tuning issue with mine. Only when the temps change. Which is happening a lot right now, and will happen with any guitar.
BDR529

#9 User is offline   LP4Me 

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 08:49 AM

One additional thing that I'll throw in that hasn't been mentioned yet is the way the strings are wrapped around the tuning posts. I like to put the string excess THROUGH the first wrap before beginning to tighten the tuner.....it's hard to describe, but you can probably visualize what I'm talking about. It basically eliminates any potential slippage at the tuning post (once the strings are stretched) Doing this has really helped the tuning stability on my LP's.

#10 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:46 PM

The only thing I can add, for me personally, I got rid of my "Tuning"
issues, on my Classic LP, by (finally) breaking down, and getting a
new (bone) nut! Best decision, I've ever made, in that regard! No
more pinging, or tuning instability, any more...at least, not on
THAT guitar! (Smile) Other's need the same treatment, but I'll have
to do that, in cycles, as I can.

CB

#11 User is offline   mojjett 

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 09:45 PM

Lubricating the string contact points is just one of the things you need to do to maintain your guitar. No need to be worried or angry about it. I also had nut pings on my LP. I used pencil lead & it worked. Now I just use Fast Fret, which is mineral oil w/an applicator. When I clean my strings w/it, I also dab it on the nut & bridge saddles. Easy peasy. Haven't had problems scince. It could also be that the nut grooves are a bit narrow, but that also is very minor. It doesn't mean that the guitar is flawed. Knowledge is the best weapon. I suggest to learn how to do a basic setup yourself, it's not too difficult. & also to be able to detect more serious things even if you can't fix it yourself, you'll be less stressed for it, & you'll also save $$. Good luck.

#12 User is offline   Angellus 

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 03:02 PM

sounds like a burr in the nut slot


use some abrasive cord to smooth out the nut slot, you can buy some at stewmac

http://www.stewmac.c...asive_Cord.html

dont be heavy handed though just smooth it out along the string path.

graphite and nut sauce only reduce the symptoms, they do not cure it. once smooth then use graphite for les friction.


my SG was a wreck of a Gibson, didnt ever realize it until I got my les paul. I slowly worked on her fixing all the sloppy slots and saddles and fret and tuners...................


Not all Gibsons are created equal, the price of a handmade instrument maybe :-k in the traditional of Les im still tinkering with the thing exploring all the different options
Gibson Left Hand Traditional Modified
Gibson Left Hand SG Modified
Gibson Left Hand ES 335 Modified

Guitar Repairs, Mods & Maintenance
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