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Gibson TP-6 Stop Bar vs plain old stop bar


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In 40+ years of playing I've never found the need for micro-tuning. I also think the big hunky tailpiece with all the knobs is just plain butt-ugly.

 

Your opinion may vary!

I did thirty years without, switched to the TP-6 two years ago wherever applicable and never look back. Three stopbar guitars of mine don't allow for TP-6 use, two Gibsons and an Epiphone, and I miss them there.

 

i've heard that they add sustain. of course most gibsons have more sustain than needed at times but just wondering.

There's no difference in sustain, and also in tone when replacing a brazen stopbar. Aluminum lightweight tailpieces providing that good old Gibson tone are a different story.

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I did thirty years without, switched to the TP-6 two years ago wherever applicable and never look back. Three stopbar guitars of mine don't allow for TP-6 use, two Gibsons and an Epiphone, and I miss them there.

 

 

There's no difference in sustain, and also in tone when replacing a brazen stopbar. Aluminum lightweight tailpieces providing that good old Gibson tone are a different story.

 

i like to rest my hand on the stop bar a lot of the time... would my hand move the tuners around enough to know it out of tune?

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i like to rest my hand on the stop bar a lot of the time... would my hand move the tuners around enough to know it out of tune?

Rotating the tuners unintentionally is rather unlikely, but it feels different, perhaps also less comfortably, depending on the force applied by the resting hand. For me this is not a problem. I am accustomed to Floyd Rose systems without back stops, these don't allow for resting my right hand since this would make pitches going sharp. I tend to rest my forearm on the top and move my hand freely.

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...what do these offer gibsons other than a fine tuning system?...

I...switched to the TP-6 two years ago wherever applicable and never look back...

Why, Cap? What makes them so good?

 

Obviously Gibson thought it worthwhile to design them, make them and fit them to various instruments over the decades but I still don't see any great need.

I remember asking in my dealership about the TP-6 when it first appeared and no-one could convince me that it offered much by way of an improvement over the ABR-1 / McCarty.

 

Now, 35 years (or so) on, it's your chance. You know what you are talking about and are a sensible guy.

Charlie Brown has also fitted them to a LPDC or two and he, too, knows his stuff so there might well be something I'm missing.

 

I can get my intonation correct with the regular ABR-1 and McCarty. I'd like to know why the TP-6 can somehow be better than correct.

 

P.

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Why, Cap? What makes them so good?

 

Obviously Gibson thought it worthwhile to design them, make them and fit them to various instruments over the decades but I still don't see any great need.

I remember asking in my dealership about the TP-6 when it first appeared and no-one could convince me that it offered much by way of an improvement over the ABR-1 / McCarty.

 

Now, 35 years (or so) on, it's your chance. You know what you are talking about and are a sensible guy.

Charlie Brown has also fitted them to a LPDC or two and he, too, knows his stuff so there might well be something I'm missing.

 

I can get my intonation correct with the regular ABR-1 and McCarty. I'd like to know why the TP-6 can somehow be better than correct.

 

P.

Sorry, but although rather coarse than detailed, the following will be a bit lengthy... [rolleyes]

 

I never had to deal with serious intonation adjustment issues and, being just a tailpiece, the TP-6 doesn't change anything in this respect. It's about fast tuning with dead-on pitch precision and staying in tune much better. As a side effect, changing strings is far easier.

 

Over the years, I tended to play my Ibanez RG 430 with Floyd Rose licensed Edge vibrato more and more. I started avoiding my hardtail guitars just because of developing pitch deviations during playing, even in case I would have loved their tone, and virtually gave up performing pitch bendings on them except during studio recordings. Strings going out of tune are annoying during rehearsals and awkward on stage.

 

After buying my 1973 L6-S, 2011 L6S and my first Les Paul guitar, this situation became dramatically unsatisfying. So I gave the TP-6 a first try, and it convinced me rather fast in a double sense. It allows for tuning tweaks within the fraction of the time taken by using machine heads, and also permits tuning refinements as fast as lightning during playing, e. g. after a three half note bending leaving a string a few cents flat.

 

Compared to locking nuts and bridges, any other string suspensions, nuts and bridges are compromised with respect to tuning. The TP-6 helps to overcome tuning imprecisions with extreme precision, fast and easy.

 

I was a little in doubt when switching to the TP-6 on my 1973 L6-S. It featured an aluminum lightweight tailpiece stock. After installing the TP-6, most of the compression was gone, and I had to increase string action significantly. When replacing a brazen stop bar, there is no feelable or audible difference.

 

If the TP-6 was offered in nickel and with imperial thread posts, I think I would sacrifice the aluminum stopbar of my Custom Shop Les Paul Standard, too. My Epiphone LP doesn't allow for replacing its brazen stop bar for the same reasons. Since there is no black one available, I think I will stay stock with my Government Series II Explorer, too, although it lags when tuning, probably due to the edgy nut and the sideways breaking angles. The Epi doesn't have a real nut problem, the CS Gibson was in need of replacing the stock Corian one. It performs much better with a bone nut, same as a 2011 L6S and the SG Supra of mine, and the replacements fitted by the Thomann service are much better crafted. Like Gibson, at Thomann they also use PLEK machine and process for setting nuts.

 

However, I am still considering replacement of all the other stock Corian nuts left up to now, but they are not significantly inferior to the Epiphone plastic nut and the new bone nuts on the Gibsons mentioned above. OK, Charlie Brown for sure had to smile reading my previous lines, he knows pretty well what I'm talking about, better than me I suppose. [biggrin]

 

Finally, all of my meanwhile six Floyd Rose guitars still are the undisputed leaders of tuning stability, Fender FR Strats as well as the Gibson Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess and the Ibanez RG mentioned above. All the tweaks and tricks in nut grooving, nut lubricating, restringing and tuning up obviously can't change this. Despite of that, I luckily have no serious tuning issues with Fender hardtail guitars although the string clamps on the headstock cause lag, and so it takes some time. Anyway, all the Gibsons retrofitted with the TP-6 beat my hardtail Fenders for staying in tune.

 

Right after my first try with a TP-6, I retrofitted the other stop bar guitars to which it applies with a TP-6 when changing strings the next time. I also went with buying a TP-6 together with all the suitable guitars I bought since. And, of course, I really love playing them now! [biggrin]

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Sorry, but although rather coarse than detailed, the following will be a bit lengthy... [rolleyes]

 

I never had to deal with serious intonation adjustment issues and, being just a tailpiece, the TP-6 doesn't change anything in this respect. It's about fast tuning with dead-on pitch precision and staying in tune much better. As a side effect, changing strings is far easier.

 

Over the years, I tended to play my Ibanez RG 430 with Floyd Rose licensed Edge vibrato more and more. I started avoiding my hardtail guitars just because of developing pitch deviations during playing, even in case I would have loved their tone, and virtually gave up performing pitch bendings on them except during studio recordings. Strings going out of tune are annoying during rehearsals and awkward on stage.

 

After buying my 1973 L6-S, 2011 L6S and my first Les Paul guitar, this situation became dramatically unsatisfying. So I gave the TP-6 a first try, and it convinced me rather fast in a double sense. It allows for tuning tweaks within the fraction of the time taken by using machine heads, and also permits tuning refinements as fast as lightning during playing, e. g. after a three half note bending leaving a string a few cents flat.

 

Compared to locking nuts and bridges, any other string suspensions, nuts and bridges are compromised with respect to tuning. The TP-6 helps to overcome tuning imprecisions with extreme precision, fast and easy.

 

I was a little in doubt when switching to the TP-6 on my 1973 L6-S. It featured an aluminum lightweight tailpiece stock. After installing the TP-6, most of the compression was gone, and I had to increase string action significantly. When replacing a brazen stop bar, there is no feelable or audible difference.

 

If the TP-6 was offered in nickel and with imperial thread posts, I think I would sacrifice the aluminum stopbar of my Custom Shop Les Paul Standard, too. My Epiphone LP doesn't allow for replacing its brazen stop bar for the same reasons. Since there is no black one available, I think I will stay stock with my Government Series II Explorer, too, although it lags when tuning, probably due to the edgy nut and the sideways breaking angles. The Epi doesn't have a real nut problem, the CS Gibson was in need of replacing the stock Corian one. It performs much better with a bone nut, same as a 2011 L6S and the SG Supra of mine, and the replacements fitted by the Thomann service are much better crafted. Like Gibson, at Thomann they also use PLEK machine and process for setting nuts.

 

However, I am still considering replacement of all the other stock Corian nuts left up to now, but they are not significantly inferior to the Epiphone plastic nut and the new bone nuts on the Gibsons mentioned above. OK, Charlie Brown for sure had to smile reading my previous lines, he knows pretty well what I'm talking about, better than me I suppose. [biggrin]

 

Finally, all of my meanwhile six Floyd Rose guitars still are the undisputed leaders of tuning stability, Fender FR Strats as well as the Gibson Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess and the Ibanez RG mentioned above. All the tweaks and tricks in nut grooving, nut lubricating, restringing and tuning up obviously can't change this. Despite of that, I luckily have no serious tuning issues with Fender hardtail guitars although the string clamps on the headstock cause lag, and so it takes some time. Anyway, all the Gibsons retrofitted with the TP-6 beat my hardtail Fenders for staying in tune.

 

Right after my first try with a TP-6, I retrofitted the other stop bar guitars to which it applies with a TP-6 when changing strings the next time. I also went with buying a TP-6 together with all the suitable guitars I bought since. And, of course, I really love playing them now! [biggrin]

 

thanks for the details. i think i will try one out.

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Thanks very much, Cap, for taking the time to answer in such detail.

As far as I can understand it the TP-6 allows for quicker fine-tuning 'on the fly' and re-stringing is a speedier process - correct?

I can appreciate why it can offer those benefits to a player - even if I, myself, have no real need for either.

 

OTOH...

 

...It's about...staying in tune much better...

...I started avoiding my hardtail guitars just because of developing pitch deviations during playing...and virtually gave up performing pitch bendings on them...

...Compared to locking nuts and bridges, any other string suspensions, nuts and bridges are compromised with respect to tuning....

I still can't understand why a TP-6 will help any guitar stay in tune better. Surely a bolted-to-the-deck McCarty stoptail can't be bettered in terms of stability? It can't move!

There are, obviously, no moving parts and, once the strings have settled, what can possibly happen with a McCarty stoptail which would result in a change in pitch?

 

P.

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Well, I own Gibson's with one or the other. And, I happen to be one of

those, that happens to love the look of the TP-6, as well.

 

Although, if it didn't add something functional, as well, I'd never

put one on, for JUST the look, alone. Having said that, I own several

Gibson's with the TP-6 (either "stock"(Lucille), or added later). I love

the ability to "tweek" the tuning to as close to perfect, as you'll likely

get. And, I have noticed an increase in sustain, with all the guitars

where the TP-6 has been added, as well. This has not been scientifically

verified, just my own observation. And, as other's have pointed out, it

is a lot faster/easier to change strings, too.

 

Win, Win situation...IMHO.

 

CB

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Thanks very much, Cap, for taking the time to answer in such detail.

As far as I can understand it the TP-6 allows for quicker fine-tuning 'on the fly' and re-stringing is a speedier process - correct?

I can appreciate why it can offer those benefits to a player - even if I, myself, have no real need for either.

 

OTOH...

 

 

I still can't understand why a TP-6 will help any guitar stay in tune better. Surely a bolted-to-the-deck McCarty stoptail can't be bettered in terms of stability? It can't move!

There are, obviously, no moving parts and, once the strings have settled, what can possibly happen with a McCarty stoptail which would result in a change in pitch?

 

P.

It's a problem of the time taken by tuning using the machine heads compared to using the TP-6. No matter what nut material or make, it lags tuning. I guess it's the resettling of strings at the nut. My explanation is that tweaking a pitch deviation of same amount at the peghead tuners will pull much more string length through the nut than doing the same using the tailpiece tuners.

 

Another advance of fine tuners is their pretty consistent ratio of rotation to pitch. Thicker strings will always be affected more by the same angle of twist on machine heads since the leverage grows with string diameter. Since the fine tuners pull the strings instead of winding them, the effect of a certain revolution angle on pitch is closely the same for each string and so rather predictable, too.

 

To my experience, the TP-6 is an all-win accessory for metric-threaded guitars with chrome or gold stoptail.

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Well, I own Gibson's with one or the other. And, I happen to be one of

those, that happens to love the look of the TP-6, as well.

 

Although, if it didn't add something functional, as well, I'd never

put one on, for JUST the look, alone. Having said that, I own several

Gibson's with the TP-6 (either "stock"(Lucille), or added later). I love

the ability to "tweek" the tuning to as close to perfect, as you'll likely

get. And, I have noticed an increase in sustain, with all the guitars

where the TP-6 has been added, as well. This has not been scientifically

verified, just my own observation. And, as other's have pointed out, it

is a lot faster/easier to change strings, too.

 

Win, Win situation...IMHO.

 

CB

Agree totally, including your opinions on look. [biggrin][thumbup]

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In 40+ years of playing I've never found the need for micro-tuning.

 

Not in front of 5000 or more not-screaming-not-quite-fans, not in some of the crummiest bars ever found, not while standing right next to the one and only Ms Vicki, wife of Tiny Tim as she wrote the book on pole dancing as we thrashed through yet another Bad Moon Rising have I ever needed to micro fine uber tune anything.

 

I've even managed to convince a large variety of recording devices that I am in tune with the Hammond and the Jazz and the Rhodes and the warbler without even a hint of fine micro tuning.

 

The world is indeed a strange and wonderous place.

 

rct

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while not required, I do love it. I have a TP6 on my ES-335 and my RD Standard. I'll be getting one for my LP Traditional as well. I also had one on my SG Standard I had, 2008 era.

 

I found the quickness of string changes (especially when I decided to put PRS locking phase II tuners on the guitars), and compared to factory grovers and standard tail the stability isn't a huge improvement, but what it did improve was the quickness and accuracy of tuning for me. Now on my Traditional, the upgrade of the tuner heads over the stock tulip style ones was huge for stability. The SG on the other hand was much more stable on the 3rd string. It got rock solid stable when I swapped to a wound 3rd from the Dean Markely 11-50 sets.

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while not required, I do love it. I have a TP6 on my ES-335 and my RD Standard. I'll be getting one for my LP Traditional as well. I also had one on my SG Standard I had, 2008 era.

 

I found the quickness of string changes (especially when I decided to put PRS locking phase II tuners on the guitars), and compared to factory grovers and standard tail the stability isn't a huge improvement, but what it did improve was the quickness and accuracy of tuning for me. Now on my Traditional, the upgrade of the tuner heads over the stock tulip style ones was huge for stability. The SG on the other hand was much more stable on the 3rd string. It got rock solid stable when I swapped to a wound 3rd from the Dean Markely 11-50 sets.

Hello Wiredin, and welcome here. [thumbup]

 

Thank you for your comment. I also have some trouble with contemporary machine heads of three different makes coming stock on Gibson guitars. They all are too edgy around the string holes and tend to kill E1st strings, and the locking ones hardly clear enough diameter for using a .050" E6th. I think I will gradually replace them with Schallers. They don't make similar locking ones, but I easily sacrifice this feature for stable operation.

 

The stock Grovers on my 1970's Gibsons are still fine as well as the stock Schallers and Gotohs on various old guitars of mine. Interestingly I never had any trouble with bass guitar machine heads through the years.

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Hello Wiredin, and welcome here. [thumbup]

 

Thank you for your comment. I also have some trouble with contemporary machine heads of three different makes coming stock on Gibson guitars. They all are too edgy around the string holes and tend to kill E1st strings, and the locking ones hardly clear enough diameter for using a .050" E6th. I think I will gradually replace them with Schallers. They don't make similar locking ones, but I easily sacrifice this feature for stable operation.

 

The stock Grovers on my 1970's Gibsons are still fine as well as the stock Schallers and Gotohs on various old guitars of mine. Interestingly I never had any trouble with bass guitar machine heads through the years.

 

thanks :) Aside from 3 guitars in the stable I'm a Gibson guy, but only ever post on the Orange amp forums... don't know why I never checked this place out.

 

yes, the stock 70's Grovers on my RD work wonderfully as well. but Everything else I've swapped out for PRS Phase II. Have for years, and they are now my tuner of choice. I run .050/.052 on my 6th, and they work fine there.

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thanks :) Aside from 3 guitars in the stable I'm a Gibson guy, but only ever post on the Orange amp forums... don't know why I never checked this place out.

 

yes, the stock 70's Grovers on my RD work wonderfully as well. but Everything else I've swapped out for PRS Phase II. Have for years, and they are now my tuner of choice. I run .050/.052 on my 6th, and they work fine there.

 

Sorry, but I will be going completely off-topic now... [blush]

 

If I ever had to decide over buying an amp without thinking about price and weight, I would go with an Orange Rockerverb 100H MkII DIVO and two 2 x 12" cabinets. There's no other electric guitar amp on the market convincing me more.

 

However, I think I will stay with my emulating setup for convenience which means ease of use as well as transportation. I operate two 1 x 12" cabinets with the fairly efficient EVM 12L speakers, driven by a 2 x 125 W transistorized poweramp. Weight is the reason why I am reluctant of even considering an Orange 4 x 12" cabinet although the massive walls make for a chunky tone unattainable with lightweight cabinets. But however - I may need my back somewhat longer perhaps... [crying] ... at least I hope so! [biggrin]

 

I even consider downsizing to using my acoustic guitar amp with my virtual gear for magnetic pickups, too - would take just a single global setting and different cable routing. [rolleyes]

 

Ah yes, and back to topic, the TP-6 is darn great! [biggrin]

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Sorry, but I will be going completely off-topic now... [blush]

 

If I ever had to decide over buying an amp without thinking about price and weight, I would go with an Orange Rockerverb 100H MkII DIVO and two 2 x 12" cabinets. There's no other electric guitar amp on the market convincing me more.

 

However, I think I will stay with my emulating setup for convenience which means ease of use as well as transportation. I operate two 1 x 12" cabinets with the fairly efficient EVM 12L speakers, driven by a 2 x 125 W transistorized poweramp. Weight is the reason why I am reluctant of even considering an Orange 4 x 12" cabinet although the massive walls make for a chunky tone unattainable with lightweight cabinets. But however - I may need my back somewhat longer perhaps... [crying] ... at least I hope so! [biggrin]

 

I even consider downsizing to using my acoustic guitar amp with my virtual gear for magnetic pickups, too - would take just a single global setting and different cable routing. [rolleyes]

 

Ah yes, and back to topic, the TP-6 is darn great! [biggrin]

 

I miss my RV100 a lot! I've owned most of the line that was available from 2008-2010: Tiny Terror, Dual Terror, AD30TC, AD140H, RV100H, RV50, rocker 30, AD30Reverb. Got the RV50 now, but I really do miss my AD140. never should have parted ways with that.

 

 

You did remind me, the TP6 allows the the fine tuning that I've found necessary for my ghost preamp on my 335.

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Another point I was remembering during a rehearsal yesterday while tuning: I forgot to mention that the use of machine heads will always cause an additional force to the neck, and so the pitches of all the strings will shift very slightly during tuning one and again when leaving the tuner alone. The TP-6 allows for tuning free of trial and error operations since there's just the string tension along the whole string run from peghead to tailpiece. [thumbup]

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Another point I was remembering during a rehearsal yesterday while tuning: I forgot to mention that the use of machine heads will always cause an additional force to the neck, and so the pitches of all the strings will shift very slightly during tuning one and again when leaving the tuner alone. The TP-6 allows for tuning free of trial and error operations since there's just the string tension along the whole string run from peghead to tailpiece. [thumbup]

 

You know, you're right! I've noticed that, too...with the tuning machines.

Especially, on guitars with spring vibrato mechanisms (Strats, etc.)! But,

they all seem to do it, to varying degrees. The TP-6 certainly eliminates,

or, at the very least, mimimizes that, to a large degree. [thumbup]

 

CB

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Another point I was remembering during a rehearsal yesterday while tuning: I forgot to mention that the use of machine heads will always cause an additional force to the neck, and so the pitches of all the strings will shift very slightly during tuning one and again when leaving the tuner alone. The TP-6 allows for tuning free of trial and error operations since there's just the string tension along the whole string run from peghead to tailpiece. [thumbup]

 

I've noticed that too and it annoys the hell out of me particularly when it occurs on one of my guitars (most of them) without a TP6.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've used a TP-6 on most of my guitars as well as the Schaller version. I can leave a little slack in my winding and use the fine tuner to get in tune. Also, it helps if you got some nut or saddle binding going on and you are tuning down and back up a bunch and it goes sharp after it ticks past the bind. The fine tuner gets you locked in quickly without having to screw with it until you get the binding issue resolved. On a side note, they used to cost $50, dunno why they doubled in price the past couple of years, which is what got me started using the Schaller version.

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