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Salvador

Nut or Tuners

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Brand new 2020 LP Classic with GraphTech nut & Grover tuners. When I tune it isn't smooth. It feels like the string or the mechanism grabs, then moves. It feels like there is either an issue with the tuners or the strings are grabbing in the nut, and then with more tuner force (or string force if tuning down), slips free. 

1. Is there some kind of adjustment I should know about &/or do to the tuners?

2. I've heard of products like nut-sauce, is this something I should use?

3. How common is it for the nut be cut wrong?

4. Any suggestions?

Confounding this is that I contacted Gibson directly and they were unconcerned, saying "go ahead & replace the tuners if you'd like."

I am basing my assessment on other guitars I have. I have two other LP-like guitars, An Epiphone LP Pro Plus-top & a Harley Benton Chibson. Both of these other guitars have Grover tuners. I don't know the type of nut on the Epiphone, the HB has a graphite nut. Both of these guitars feel better than the Gibson when tuning, the HB being the best, then the Epiphone, & the genuine Gibson the worst.

Edited by Salvador
added info

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Grover tuners are usually pretty good.  Is this on all strings?

You could take one single stirng off and see how smoothly the tuner rotates?

But from your description it sounds as if strings binding at the nut is the most likely explanation.  There has been some discussion on this forum recently about badly cut slots.

Nut sauce is probably very good - I haven't used it - but expensive - it may be a graphite-based lubricant.

Marking the slots with a soft lead pencil is an old trick.  Here are some ideas -

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&ei=VpV2XoeKOp2e1fAPwZiWsAE&q=nut+sauce+guitar+vs+graphite&oq=nut+sauce+guitar+vs&gs_l=psy-ab.1.4.33i22i29i30l5.17444.19098..21992...0.2..0.78.215.3......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i22i30.i72CHVR3YF4

You can even make your own by mixing tiny amounts of lighter fluid, vaseline and 3-in1 (or similar) oil.

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All good advice.   I agree that it sounds like the nut rather than the tuners.  If it's the nut that can be on any string, but it's usually the D or G.   It would be odd for it to be all the strings.

Sometimes the nut is cut fine grossly but there may be a rough edge, burr, or some debris that is causing problems.   Sometimes just touching it up with a file is all you need to do but that requires some care and knowledge because you can easily make it worse.   Close inspection, cleaning and lubing the slots is a good place to start.   Try some dental floss or if you have a really tiny brush (like the ones that come with Nut Sauce) you can try that.  I wouldn't use any kind of abrasive cord because you can easily round off your take off point.   

If in doubt go to a tech. 

The good news is that it sounds like it should be easily fixable.

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FYI, I had posted separately about a badly cut nut on my 2020 LP Standard. Initially, it appeared to be merely a cosmetic issue, but as time went on, I began to have sitar and intonation issues. So, I took it to a very reputable tech who confirmed that the nut was causing problems. I'm having him put in a bone nut replacement with a full set-up. Based on the symptoms you describe, it sounds like the same thing.

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Thanks for all the advice. I'll try some of the suggestions.  If there is a defect in manufacturing, shouldn't that be a warranty item? 

The issue is on all strings, not just the D & G. It is very pronounced on the 6th & 5th strings, but to a greater or lesser degree exists on all strings. There also seems to be more lash in the tuning mechanism than on either of the two guitars LP-like guitars. Sadly, even the potentiometers aren't as smooth as on the imports. Maybe Gibson is struggling so much they can't even make guitars any more.

Less sadly, it plays great. 

I'm only comparing the Gibson Les Paul with other Les Paul type guitars, as my other guitars are so different it wouldn't be an apples to apples comparison. 

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4 hours ago, jdgm said:

Grover tuners are usually pretty good.  Is this on all strings?

You could take one single stirng off and see how smoothly the tuner rotates?

But from your description it sounds as if strings binding at the nut is the most likely explanation.  There has been some discussion on this forum recently about badly cut slots.

Nut sauce is probably very good - I haven't used it - but expensive - it may be a graphite-based lubricant.

Marking the slots with a soft lead pencil is an old trick.  Here are some ideas -

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&ei=VpV2XoeKOp2e1fAPwZiWsAE&q=nut+sauce+guitar+vs+graphite&oq=nut+sauce+guitar+vs&gs_l=psy-ab.1.4.33i22i29i30l5.17444.19098..21992...0.2..0.78.215.3......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i22i30.i72CHVR3YF4

You can even make your own by mixing tiny amounts of lighter fluid, vaseline and 3-in1 (or similar) oil.

I took a look at the link you provided. Candle wax sounds intriguing, is easy enough to get, & probably not very messy. I'll try that on one string & see if it helps. The vaseline 3-in-1 & lighter fluid combo sounds dangerous and I'm not sure how a GraphTech nut would react to that. I'll have to research this material separately. All that for a $2K guitar..... It should come with a valet to apply it for me.

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I would try this first before spending $$$ & modding. 

Loosen the Strings & move one at a time out of the Nut Slots. Shave off some Graphite from a Pencil into the Nut Slots one by one. Put each string back one at a time. Tighten & Tune..

I put a little Graphite in the String Slots every time I change Strings on all my Guitars.. No Tuning problems...

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The nut slots are ever so slightly too narrow (likely at the channel end) for the gauge of your strings. A guitar tech would make quick work of the issue. Nut sauce might also help until the slots have widened themselves over time. You can also take an old string and rub it along the slot to help ever so slightly widen the channel. It's annoying for sure for the end user.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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13 hours ago, Leonard McCoy said:

......You can also take an old string and rub it along the slot to help ever so slightly widen the channel.

 

Excellent idea, I'll have to remember that one! 👍

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Almost ALWAYS, it's the nut!

look for Big Bends Nut Sauce  you can get a tube of that for 8 bucks (The Little Luber)...

 

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Gibson guitars have been having this problem for 50 years that I have personally experienced since the first Les Paul I bought in 1970.  The nut needs to be filed a little to stop the strings from binding.  A luthier can fix this for you in about 10 minutes.

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14 hours ago, Larsongs said:

Graphite shavings from a Pencil does the same thing & costs literally nothing.... 

Well   that helps but it's not quite as good as the lube, and quite a bit "messier".. 

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2 hours ago, kidblast said:

Well   that helps but it's not quite as good as the lube, and quite a bit "messier".. 

I'm not sure I agree that it doesn't work as good. I have no Tuning issues on any of my Guitars.

Nut Greaese is good. I'm not knocking it. I'm just offering an additional alternative that costs literally nothing...

I use an Exacto knife & shave the Pencil Graphite directly into the slot.. No mess.. Works great.

Edited by Larsongs

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5 minutes ago, Larsongs said:

I'm not sure I agree that it doesn't work as good. I have no Tuning issues on any of my Guitars.

Nut Greaese is good. I'm not knocking it. I'm just offering an additional alternative that costs literally nothing...

I use an Exacto knife & shave the Pencil Graphite directly into the slot.. No mess.. Works great.

for sure..  I've used it many times my self..  it does work! 

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On 3/23/2020 at 8:50 PM, merciful-evans said:

BB nut sauce is expensive but you only need to buy it once I think. 

The little luber syringe is cheap, and will last a loooong time. 

That said, sounds like the nut needs filing if it's not just, say, the G string. I'd take it to a luthier. 

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2 hours ago, Pinch said:

The little luber syringe is cheap, and will last a loooong time. 

That said, sounds like the nut needs filing if it's not just, say, the G string. I'd take it to a luthier. 

bout 8 bucks...  I just replaced my first tube which lasted quite a long time.  (years...)

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Many / most players I know who had tuning issues were either not stringing them well, or a simple pencil lead application fixed it. After 55 years of owning,  playing, and dealing with friends gits that's a bunch of problems easily solved without going "big hammer" on the problem.

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With your nut slots filed right and Big Bendz Nut Sauce you should be good to go. I put it on the nut and a bridge of my acoustics. I've had the last tube I bought for about 2 to 3 years and still have about 3/8th of an inch of stuff still in the syringe.

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Thank you for the advice everyone.  I have tracked down the issue: It is both the nut and the tuners. The nut is grippy.  Strangely so. I'm not sure exactly what the Graph Tech nut is trying to be. If the design goal is to act as a quasi locking nut, a'la Floyd Rose, it fails. Nor does it permit the strings to slide freely. 

I purchased Big Bends Nut Sauce & applied it. It helped a little bit. So I applied it again. It helped a little. 

SO, I thought "Well, I wonder how the tuners feel when they aren't dragging a string through Mr. Jr. Loctite Graph Tech nut, and they weren't smooth. They too had a grippiness in the mechanism. I can open them up. oil them (I not only have plenty of BB's Nut Sauce, but I also have some pure Silicone oil), but should I have to on a BRAND NEW GUITAR?

Not only is this the only guitar I have with this issue, here's the REAL kicker: I bought an Epiphone Les Paul Standard a month before I bought the Gibson. I liked it, so I figure I'd "upgrade." It also has Grover Tuners, but a different nut material. It too didn't tune all that well. I put the Nut Sauce on the Epiphone (for practice, as it's the cheaper guitar) and it helped quite a bit. Not so on the Gibson. 

At this point I have 3 "Les Pauls:" Gibson, Epiphone, Chibson. The Chibson tunes the nicest, the Gibson is the worse. Explain how this is possible? Explain how this makes sense?

So at this point I'm faced with repairs, or whatever, for a brand new guitar that I think shouldn't have problems.  I base this on experience. I own many guitars, mostly American, but some foreign. NONE of them have had this issue. I am VERY disappointed. There is no excuse for the premier, arguably the number one guitar company IN THE WORLD to produce anything inferior to anybody.  Plus how does it make sense that three guitars, all with Grover tuners, but presumably different build-quality, with Gibson ostensibly the best of the three, to have the worst problems, & the cheap foreign made knock-off to have superior tuning feel & stability?

Edited by Salvador

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On 3/21/2020 at 3:36 PM, jdgm said:

Grover tuners are usually pretty good.  Is this on all strings?

You could take one single stirng off and see how smoothly the tuner rotates?

But from your description it sounds as if strings binding at the nut is the most likely explanation.  There has been some discussion on this forum recently about badly cut slots.

Nut sauce is probably very good - I haven't used it - but expensive - it may be a graphite-based lubricant.

Marking the slots with a soft lead pencil is an old trick.  Here are some ideas -

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&ei=VpV2XoeKOp2e1fAPwZiWsAE&q=nut+sauce+guitar+vs+graphite&oq=nut+sauce+guitar+vs&gs_l=psy-ab.1.4.33i22i29i30l5.17444.19098..21992...0.2..0.78.215.3......0....1..gws-wiz.......0i71j0i22i30.i72CHVR3YF4

You can even make your own by mixing tiny amounts of lighter fluid, vaseline and 3-in1 (or similar) oil.

 

Yes, it's all strings. Not just the 3rd & 4th. It is very pronounced on the 6th string, low E.

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7 hours ago, Salvador said:

 

Yes, it's all strings. Not just the 3rd & 4th. It is very pronounced on the 6th string, low E.

 

I just noticed you mentioned this before; I should have read that; sorry! That does sound potentially more serious than merely nut binding.

What string gauges are you using? 10-46 or less should be fine. Anything bigger might fowl all the nut slots. 

 

 

BTW I'm surprised that Gibson told you to 'replace the tuners if you want'. I'm also surprised that you have a chibson with Grover tuners. You say the Grovers on the Gibson are not working properly? While any mechanical device can fail, I've never heard of new Grovers being faulty before. Sounds odd TSTL.

Bottom line: I think your Gibson can probably be easily rectified. It does sound however, that your confidence is seriously undermined. In that case, sending it back might be the best option for you.

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