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booismycat

ES-137.. Won't stay Tuned

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I purchased a brand new ES-137 about 1 yr ago and I can't get it to stay tuned.

Any suggestions on what I should look at in trying to resolve this?

All original equipment at this time. Maybe 20hrs of play time (at home) since purchased.

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I don't know your experience level, so I'll just ask. How long does it stay in tune? Do you stretch the strings after stringing it? Are the slots in the nut the proper size? I have an ES135 and do not have any problems with it staying in tune, but mine has grovers on it and I don't think yours does.

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I don't mean to insult your intelligence, but 1 always stretch your strings rigorously when they're new. In fact, you should do this on yours now, even if the strings aren't new. They're surprisingly stretchy and will go flat again and again and again until you stretch em out. I hook my fingers under the string at the 12th fret, lift the string a couple of inches off the board, then wag the string side to side, gently return it to position, retune, repeat (usually do this 3 times before the strings settle in to pitch -- do it until the string doesn't go flat any more). This will not damage the guitar in any way. 2 When tuning, always tune the string flat (lower note), then sharpen (raise the note) up to pitch. Do these 2 things religiously and if your guitar still won't stay in tune, have a pro look at it.

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Yep, I stretch those strings until they don't go slack anymore. When I pick up the guitar after it has been sitting for a few days, I give them a stretch and get it up to tune as a matter of course. After a while, the stretching does nothing to pitch, and that's when you know you're due for new strings! =P~

 

Also, a little chapstick or pencil graphite under the strings in the nut helps too. With new tuners, rest assured it's not the tuners' fault. Just make sure you tune UP to pitch, as you already do, and the tuner will hold just fine, even the vintage ones.

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Try pressing a string down behind the nut - between the nut and the tuners. The note will go sharp but it should return to pitch when you let go. If you have to bend a note to get the string to come back down to pitch, then the nut slot is binding. This always happens a tiny bit and is the reason why you tune up to pitch, but if its binding it should be looked at. Also you might notice a "ping" sound as the string is being tuned up. Common problem; easily fixable by a good tech. Meanwhile use some pencil graphite or nutsauce or guitargrease in the nut slots.

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I agree that the string stretching is important. However I've also hade trouble with the nut and also with individual machine heads. On a new guitar the machine heads should be OK but the nut may need to be properly set up by a trained luthier. Also a set up of the guitar will ensure that the intonation etc is accurate - its worth paying for a set up when the guitar is new (and ongoing).

 

If the room temperature varies much the guitar will go out of tune. So if you tune up when its cold in the room and the room gets warm the tuning will alter.

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...may need to be properly set up by a trained luthier. Also a set up of the guitar will ensure that the intonation etc is accurate - its worth paying for a set up when the guitar is new (and ongoing).

 

If your 137 Custom is new and needs the attention of a luthier to play right' date=' MAKE GIBSON SWAP IT FOR ANOTHER.

 

Having said that, I have a haaaaaaard time believing that a high-end model like this has a crooked or offset nut. And - I've always known Grover tuners to be bulletproof. Many people who are addicted to luthiers have more money than sense.

 

You can find excellent troubleshooting and setup guides in many, many books. [u'][/u]The Complete Guide to Guitar and Amp Repair by Ritchie Fliegler has served me well over the years... the only times I've had to resort to paying for work on guitars was a neck/fret job when my Flying V got snapped into 3 pieces at the neck joint, and another time to have some soldering done because I was too big a ***** to do it myself (after I watched the guy doing this simple monkeywork & he gave me the bill for the soldering I realized what a ****** I was). I now have a nice soldering setup and have since done all kinds of stuff with it.

 

If I had paid a luthier for each setup/adjustment job I have done over the years, it would be obscene.

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Setting the guitar up is really important for playability and sound quality. Off the rack hardly any guitars suit me. Also brand new or second hand and new guitars keep moving and settling in for a few years. I'm constantly amazed at the difference a quality set up makes.

 

The factory set up new guitars get does not satisfy my needs - even a PRS, and they usually put an effort into factory set ups. But just because its not set up properly it doesn't mean the guitar won't be great to play.

 

You pay a lot of money for a quality guitar and the set up can make it a dream to play. I also don't agree about how easy it is to set it up properly. I've seen fully professional luthiers butcher guitars and have had it happen to me. You need a luthier you trust.

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I totally agree that guitars off the rack don't have good setups as a rule. Some are horrible, and some decent guitars are unplayable because of lack of attention.

 

I've been fixing and building guitars for quite a while now, and it's easy to forget all the mistakes I made learning how to do things. It certainly seems easy now to set up a guitar that has decent components. It still takes some time though. I haven't found a setup problem yet I couldn't fix, but sometimes it takes a new part or some work.

 

Yesterday, I set up an acoustic right off the rack that apparently had never been played (couldn't be played, actually). It took me about four hours to do it right--changing strings, setting the neck, stoning and crowning the frets, bushing the tuning machines, waxing the fingerboard, cutting the nut, trimming the saddle, planing, sanding, and re-finishing the bridge, fitting the bridge pins, and polishing the guitar. I only did what needed to be done to get the action down low enough to play easily (started out at 11/64 at the 12th!). Next time it will be easier to set up, but the bill was $200 with just a few quality parts. The guitar brand new was not much more than that.

 

So, yeah--Learn to do your own setups if you are at all good with tools.

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Sure, everybody has their own feel for a guitar and how they want theirs set up. Of course any given guitar may be "off" from what you like.

 

If there are no significant issues (like on an older one that, say, needs a nut shim or something), it is so easy to set up an electric guitar.

 

If you have money burning a hole in your pocket so bad that you want to pay a luthier to adjust string height, intonation, truss rod, etc., then (like Rigormortis urges) why don't you buy a 'setup tool kit' from Stew-Mac and get your learn on?

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