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Tuning Stability for the Wildkat


ppiluk
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Hello All,

 

I picked up a Wildkat in a trade. I love the look and of course the Bigsby. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get more than 3 or 4 songs before it needs to be tuned. It is pretty frustrating. So my question is does anyone have tips to improve the tuning stability.

 

Thanks for reading my post!

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Hello All,

 

I picked up a Wildkat in a trade. I love the look and of course the Bigsby. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get more than 3 or 4 songs before it needs to be tuned. It is pretty frustrating. So my question is does anyone have tips to improve the tuning stability.

 

Thanks for reading my post!

 

I don't know how you play, but keep in mind that a Bigsby is not constructed to be used like a more modern tremolo system. It's not built for dive bombs or octave and a half pulls, just a nice gentle tremolo.

 

Make sure your strings are properly stretched with not too many winds at the tuners. No more than three winds is a good rule. The more winds at the tuner, the longer it takes for them to stretch.

 

New strings need to stretch, but in time will settle in. Maybe you're using brand new strings and they just need to be properly broken in.

 

Try using a graphite pencil in the slots at the nut. It can help the strings ease their way back to proper pitch after the Bigsby's been used. There are products you can buy to help with that, but a regular old pencil ought to do the trick for cheap.

 

Are your strings strung properly on the Bigsby unit? I'm not trying to be insulting here, but I have seen several new players to the Bigsby set them improperly raising the action badly and leaving the guitar virtually untunable. You ought to be able to find YouTube videos showing the proper way to thread your strings under and over the Bigsby roller. Check those out if you like.

 

These are the first things you may want to check. Another more expensive proposition is the purchase of a roller bridge. Rather than stationary saddles, the roller bridge saddles actually do spin as the string gets pulled back and forth with Bigsby use.

 

Undoubtedly others will chime in here with suggestions, but the above are just a few hints to help you out, and they just may be all that you need.

 

Good luck, and post what you learn. You may be able to help out someone else with the sane issues.

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Hello All,

 

I picked up a Wildkat in a trade. I love the look and of course the Bigsby. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get more than 3 or 4 songs before it needs to be tuned. It is pretty frustrating. So my question is does anyone have tips to improve the tuning stability.

 

Thanks for reading my post!

Check this thread out, ppiluk. Good info there! [thumbup]

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/124493-wildkat-tuning-problem-solved-hopefully/

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I don't know how you play, but keep in mind that a Bigsby is not constructed to be used like a more modern tremolo system. It's not built for dive bombs or octave and a half pulls, just a nice gentle tremolo.

 

Make sure your strings are properly stretched with not too many winds at the tuners. No more than three winds is a good rule. The more winds at the tuner, the longer it takes for them to stretch.

 

New strings need to stretch, but in time will settle in. Maybe you're using brand new strings and they just need to be properly broken in.

 

Try using a graphite pencil in the slots at the nut. It can help the strings ease their way back to proper pitch after the Bigsby's been used. There are products you can buy to help with that, but a regular old pencil ought to do the trick for cheap.

 

Are your strings strung properly on the Bigsby unit? I'm not trying to be insulting here, but I have seen several new players to the Bigsby set them improperly raising the action badly and leaving the guitar virtually untunable. You ought to be able to find YouTube videos showing the proper way to thread your strings under and over the Bigsby roller. Check those out if you like.

 

These are the first things you may want to check. Another more expensive proposition is the purchase of a roller bridge. Rather than stationary saddles, the roller bridge saddles actually do spin as the string gets pulled back and forth with Bigsby use.

 

Undoubtedly others will chime in here with suggestions, but the above are just a few hints to help you out, and they just may be all that you need.

 

Good luck, and post what you learn. You may be able to help out someone else with the sane issues.

Thanks for the reply. I rarely use the Bigsby and this isn't the first guitar I have had with a bigsby but its the first one that won't stay in tune.

 

Its possible the strings aren't stretched but I have had the guitar for a month now so that problem should have worked itself out.

 

The Bigby is strung correctly, no insult at all.

 

I am likely going to pickup a roller bridge, that is if I decide to keep this thing.

help!

 

Thanks for the

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FWIW, I've had a Wildkat for about 5 years now. Great little guitar for the money. I really didn't (and still don't) have any tuning issues, but put a Gotoh roller bridge on while having some other work done. I have a few other guitars with a Bigsby, use it very sparingly, but really don't have any tuning issues on any of them, and I do my fair share of bending! YMMV.

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Check the Nut! Most "tuning" issues originate there. If it "pings" when tuning, the string are catching in the slots.

If you're not comfortable widening the slots, a little, then have a proper "set up" done, including the nut slots.

IF you use a variety of string gauges, have the slots cut for the largest (obviously). And "Nut Sauce" or just

powdered graphite in the nut slots, after proper cutting (if needed), works wonders as well.

 

Good Luck!

 

CB

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Check the Nut! Most "tuning" issues originate there. If it "pings" when tuning, the string are catching in the slots.

If you're not comfortable widening the slots, a little, then have a proper "set up" done, including the nut slots.

IF you use a variety of string gauges, have the slots cut for the largest (obviously). And "Nut Sauce" or just

powdered graphite in the nut slots, after proper cutting (if needed), works wonders as well.

 

Good Luck!

 

CB

 

Thanks for the suggestions. I don't hear a ping when tuning. I think I am going to try the "nut Sauce" idea and will likely get a roller bridge in the new year.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I don't hear a ping when tuning. I think I am going to try the "nut Sauce" idea and will likely get a roller bridge in the new year.

 

Well, that's good! Sometimes the strings don't make much sound, at all, but still "click" or tug, at the nut. You can

actually feel it, even if you can't hear it. If it's not doing any of that, then perhaps it only needs a good setup?

The roller bridge will certainly not hurt, the situation. Might have them check the truss rod, to be sure it's tight,

as well. Just some (more) thoughts. [biggrin]

 

CB

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love my wildkat too but there are a few mods I've done that are a must. First you must change out the wiring harness with better quality sheilded coax, next that soft nut as to go, try bone. Then switch those tuners out with locking ones from guitarfetish.com and install a roller bridge. These mods have made this guitar my everyday player. stays in tune and has a great clean sound out of all my amps. Happy New Year!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just picked up one of these after a price drop. I've always loved the sound of hollow and semi hollow guitars. This question may sound very stupid but its not intended to be silly. But I still need to do a set up on my guitar. I, like others are plagued with the tuning issues. I'm very thrifty and im gonna put new strings and nut sauce or powdered graphite in the nut. When I do have it set up I plan to tell the tech to widen the nut slots slightly to give em more room. So here is my silly question. Do I need to replace the bridge with a roller bridge even if I dont use the tremolo bar? Every one is screaming that its a must do mod but im not sure if those players actually use the bar or not. I use it >1% of the time I play. I do bend full notes etc during leads but almost NEVER use the tremolo bar.

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I just picked up one of these after a price drop. I've always loved the sound of hollow and semi hollow guitars. This question may sound very stupid but its not intended to be silly. But I still need to do a set up on my guitar. I, like others are plagued with the tuning issues. I'm very thrifty and im gonna put new strings and nut sauce or powdered graphite in the nut. When I do have it set up I plan to tell the tech to widen the nut slots slightly to give em more room. So here is my silly question. Do I need to replace the bridge with a roller bridge even if I dont use the tremolo bar? Every one is screaming that its a must do mod but im not sure if those players actually use the bar or not. I use it >1% of the time I play. I do bend full notes etc during leads but almost NEVER use the tremolo bar.

 

 

 

 

 

Well, there is a chance that the strings will catch in the bridge slots with bends, that said it shouldn't be any worse than any other tuneomatic. You can lube the saddles with a tiny dab of nut sauce too.

Only way to know for sure if its going to give YOU trouble is just to play the thing and see if it gives you greif. If it does, report back and the friendly brethren here will help you out.

 

Alternately there are inexpensive alternatives. I've used some of their stuff before and like their bridges, hard to beat for the $.

 

 

http://www.guitarfetish.com/Roller-Bridge-Chrome-plated-fits-Les-Paul_p_661.html

 

 

 

 

Johnny

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Do I need to replace the bridge with a roller bridge even if I dont use the tremolo bar? Every one is screaming that its a must do mod but im not sure if those players actually use the bar or not.

 

Morbe, while I did suggest the roller bridge as a possibility, I sure wasn't screaming about it.

 

As a point of fact I have never bought a roller bridge for any of my several tremolo equipped guitars ever. Not Fenders, not Gibsons, not Epiphones, and I have never experienced any severe tuning issues due to the use of a Bigsby, or any number of tremolo systems. The nut can be an issue, but string grab at the bridge has never been a problem. String grab at the nut can be a problem without the use of a tremolo. If you've ever tuned any guitar and heard that annoying ping and a quarter tone jump in pitch you know what I mean.

 

I have an Eastwood Airline reissue that came with a roller bridge installed new, and I honestly can't tell any great difference between a stock tune-o-matic and a roller bridge.

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When I meant screaming I didn't mean any one person in particular. Collectively on several forums I've read that constantly (roller bridge mod). I didn't mean to offend any one or call anyone out. Sorry if it seemed that way.

As for play ability it plays well but it does need better strings o just got it a couple days ago. Im gonna restring it and lube the nut and bridge and even under the roller bar and see what that does. I do hear string pop when I use the bigsby but most notably when I add tension behind the nut it does stay sharp and then I call stretch the string as Im playing it and goes back to pitch or very close to it.

As for the bigsby I can always pull or depress to get it back on pitch collectively. I just really hate bigsbys on a small guitar. Personally I would rather replace the bigsby with a tail piece before I replace the bridge as I dont use tremolos anyway. Crazy I know but thats just me

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hey morbe,

 

so I don't know about the roller bridge.

 

I've got 4 guitars with bigsby's only one has the roller bridge (my swingster white royale)

 

I can't really say that I have been hounded by tuning probs on any of them.

 

I do religiously lube the nut, the saddle, and the other "witness" points where the string makes contact with the hardware.

(like the 2 tension bars the strings ride over)

 

even if the nut slots are a little too tight, the initial lubing will help calm things down (ime).

 

After about a week or so, the lube will break down a bit, and if you then start to have tuning problems again, it may point to the nut slots as the area that needs to be addressed. if you think the stings may be binding up after using the bar,, give it a tug and see if it it goes back to pitch.

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Hello All,

 

I picked up a Wildkat in a trade. I love the look and of course the Bigsby. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get more than 3 or 4 songs before it needs to be tuned. It is pretty frustrating. So my question is does anyone have tips to improve the tuning stability.

 

Thanks for reading my post!

 

I have a few suggestions:

First: New strings... Old dead strings will not stay in tune. I've seen many posts where people talk about tuning issues, and suggest all kinds of expensive

surgery without mentioning this little fact. How old are the strings? Guitar strings are a cheap "when in doubt, change them" remedy to try first.

Two weeks to a month is all you can expect to get with a set of strings. After that, they go dead and won't stay in tune, and it's no fault of your guitar.

 

(also, IMHO three or four songs is about all I ever get... on any guitar. I usually tune my guitar before every song. It depends on how hard

you hit it of course, and how sensitive your ear is. That's why I like pedal tuners and clip ons. I just tune my guitar before every song

without even thinking about it.)

 

Next: +1 on lubing the nut slots, bridge saddles and bigsby contact points. I use a home made mixture of vaseline and powdered graphite.

A tiny dot on a toothpick is enough for a nut slot, or a bridge saddle, or under the string tree on a Fender. StewMac sells some stuff called

"Guitar Grease" which works well and isn't as expensive as Nut Sauce.

 

>The nut is usually the source of tuning problems as described above. The nut slots need to be the exact dimension of the strings you prefer.

That's one of the things a pro setup includes and is very worth the money you spend on it. A good luthier has tools that can measure nut slot

depth and dimension. The average player does not. So it's always a good idea. After a pro setup, most players can maintain their instrument for

a good long time. I have installed Tusq nuts on both of my Epiphones, and they are much better than the stock plastic. These are slick and don't

need lube, only slight adjustment.

 

>All players should learn and use what I laughingly call "The Poor Man's locking tuner." Check this "self locking" method of installing strings

and see if it doesn't help your situation, so that you don't have to buy a new bridge or new tuners.

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=installing+guitar+strings+%2B+self+locking+method&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

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So far I swapped out the strings for some new ones. This isn't my first hollow body but I put strings on it that I put on my stratocasters and Im not sure what to think. I havent plugged into an amp yet but I used Ernie Ball Slinky Cobalt strings. It plays well but it just doesnt sing like with the strings it came with. Perhaps There is a set of strings more suitable for this guitar you guys dont mind sharing? or is there another thread on strings?

So far so good with the tuning issues I did however add Nut Sauce. and it does seem to stay in tune though the strings are still very new. but with the made tun ability noticeably smoother as in I was able to walk it on the correct note vs fighting back and forth between # and b until I got on note. Thanks I will keep up to date with my experiences with this guitar.

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  • 3 years later...

I picked up a Wildcat on sale from Guitar Center a few years ago. I like the aesthetic and size of them. Not much bigger then my Les Paul. Price point got me into a semi hollow body without breaking the bank. The stock licensed Bigsby sits very close to the bridge. This creates a steep break angle of the strings from the TOM bridge to the roller bar on the Bigsby. Numerous people more knowledgeable then I have cited this steep break angle as central to it’s tuning issues. I had my guitar tech install an aftermarket Biggsfix Tuning Stabilizer V3.  It replaces the original roller bar on the Bigsby with one that sits higher thereby reducing the break angle. This and some love to the stock bridge and nut has dramatically improved the tuning and playability of my Kat. The stock nut came a little low from the factory. I’ll likely replace it someday, but for now I’m more then happy playing it as is👍

Cheers!

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