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Need Expert Advice - Les Paul Studio Out Of Tune

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I am a singer/songwriter and play the rhythm guitar in my band. I've been playing guitar about 11 years and played mostly acoustic the first 7-8 years.

I play open and barred chords in our arrangements predominantly. No lead or bending at all.

I own a mexican Fender Telecaster that I've practiced with, recorded with and played live with effectively for the past two years.

I recently upgraded to a les paul studio and right out of the case it is apparent that I can not play this instrument and keep it in tune.

The first was so bad that I thought it was defective so after two practices I returned it and had another sent out to me.

The second one behaved much like the first...

A battle to even get the G and B strings to tune open. Then halfway through a single song the chords are ringing way out of tune.

A chords are a nightmare, Am, D also are an issue. Barred or chords up the fretboard arent as bad but as I said I play almost open chords exclusively.

I then took this second guitar to be setup by a pro, thinking I was all set and went to record with it last night. By the second take the engineers and my guitar player had had enough. Just put that thing down!

So what is the problem? Is it me? Am I too heavy handed to play this instrument? Is it the instrument? Could two Gibson Les Paul Studios be bad? Anyone with any insight or experience with this type of issue who can lend some advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to keep this guitar but right now it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to.

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I'm no expert. But, did your pro take a look at the nut slots? Sounds like posssibly the "G" slot isn't cut deep enough. And possibly one or two more are also not at the right depth. It's a problem - sometimes the nut slot cuts from the factory are bad.


Do your symptoms match this: When you fret a string in first two or three frets from a slot cut too high, the string gets stretched as it's pushed down to get to the fret, making a sharp note. The higher up you play, the less the stretch. While the strings are in tune when you tune it, as soon as you play chords low on the neck it's evident the chords are not in tune. Also, as you play low on the string(s) from high slots are stretched, it stretches them out of tune.

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Go to hobby lobby and get some graphite lube sold for the axles on the cub scout pinewood derby cars. It's a nasty slippery gray powder that I put in the nut slots before I string the guitar. If that doesn't work I think you should get your nut slots cleaned up by a tech. Also do you have a consistant wind on your string post? A sloppy wind with the string windings doubling up on top of each other doesn't help.

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I'll add my 2 cents in , on this one. If you are hearring " pings and chinks ", the nut slots are not cut WIDE enough. the tech who did the set up should have heard this when he tuned up the guitar a tested it. it needs to be filed out with special nut files. it will take 2-3minutes to fix. I've had this problem with more than one Gibson and it's not a big problem. The graphite lube or other lubs will work , but they won't fix the problem. if you don't fix it , it is possible to crack or slice a part of the nut off. hope this helps you. let us know what happens.



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A good setup would have fixed the issue. Did you change the gauge of strings used as that is often the start of issues for people with a new guitar. And no it's not a Gibson thing I have numerous Gibson and they stay in tune without any issue's the crappy plastic nuts they use on guitars now days amaze me though the first upgrade I do on most guitars is a bone nut as part of the original setup.

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