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What to do when tuners don't hold tune

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So, what do you do to keep your tuners from coming out of tune ? Jam a matchstick in the gears ? Coat them with loc-tite ? Any suggestions (besides "change out the tuners") on how to keep a guitar with "cheap" tuners in tune ?

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Any suggestions (besides "change out the tuners") on how to keep a guitar with "cheap" tuners in tune ?

 

Without stating the obvious:

Make sure the guitar is set up properly. (basic starting point)

 

Make sure nut slots are proper depth so first few frets play true. (also helps with accurate intonation) Doesn't do much good to have a string intonated perfect...then tuned perfect...if the first few frets play way sharp. This can happen if the nut slots are too high.

 

Make sure strings are not binding in nut slots. (may require new nut such as Tusq) or....

Use pencil graphite or "nut sauce" in nut slots to help keep strings from binding while tuning and playing.

 

Willy

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I had to wind the strings over the top of the posts instead of under on one of my guitars until I was able to change out the tuners. It seemed to help quite a bit.

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First of all you have to be absolutely certain that it is the tuners' fault.

Have you noticed if the tuner knob turns backward during the "De-tuning".

Tuners turning backward are a bit rare, that's why I asking.

 

You can try to add tension by turning the screw that hold the tuner peg on, if that is the kind of tuner you have. Be careful though it's possible to over tighten it.

 

Can you show a picture?

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First of all you have to be absolutely certain that it is the tuners' fault.

 

You can try to add tension by turning the screw that hold the tuner peg on,

if that is the kind of tuner you have. Be careful though it's possible to over tighten it.

 

Can you show a picture?

 

Advice given may depend on WHICH tuner you're speaking of.

 

As Gordy asks, PICS of TUNERS? If unable, tell us which git. IF it's an

EPI, we'll be able to figure out what kind you have. If NOT EPI, dunno.

 

There are links in the Epi Lounge DIY thread about how to post pics, AND

Tuning up your Tuners. Won't post direct link yet, waiting for your response.

 

I've had my experiences with the "Factory" tuners on the EPI LP Special II -

that's a hit or miss deal. Either they are barely "acceptable", or they work so poorly

they're literally unuseable.

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+1 on Willie's advice. Even cheap tuners will generally do a decent job of holding tune. In my experience it's usually the nut that is the culprit. To check if the strings are binding in the nut, tune the string to pitch then bend the string sharp and release. Check the tuning again. Did it go flat? Then push on the same string on the headstock side of the nut and release. Does it go back up to pitch, or even sharp? If so then the string is binding in the nut and you need some graphite, nut sauce, or possibly enlarging of the nut slots.

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Don't forget about how the strings are wrapped, on the posts.

If they are improperly wrapped/installed, they'll constantly

slip. So, along with the "nut" being the more obvious culprit,

check the windings, too. Be sure, the Truss Rod is snug, as well.

 

Hope you get it sorted out.

 

CB

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I'm not going to post a picture as it would only be a picture of an inexpensive guitar tuner. I was only looking for suggestions as a general question. I think I will try some molybdenum

disulfide (moly -d) or graphite on the nut slots.

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I'm fairly knowledgeable about guitars, but I made the same "mistake" thinking that replacing tuners would help. I replaced a set of no-name tuners with brand new Grovers, and it changed NOTHING. I've yet to determine what the problem is (the guitar itself may be just a bit more unstable than my others), but the tuning machines weren't it.

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My experience has been, over the last 4 decades, that the main reason for folks complaining about their tuners is the fact that they aren't winding their strings correctly, allowing slipping (charlie brown already posting about this, as well as someone else, I believe). The biggest obstacle to overcome with this theory is that people don't want to think it's them..... blame it on hardware....I've had great guitars with high end tuners.... I've had low-end guitars with low-end tuners....I have mid-level guitars with mid-level tuners .... never had a tuning issue I could blame the tuners for .... either improper string winding, or the tight nut syndrome. Ain't saying it's not possible, just have never run across a guitar in over 40 years I couldn't get to to hold tune without replacing tuners - in fact, tuners is one thing I haven't ever replaced on a guitar - stockers have always done me right ..... proper string winding, proper nut, and possibly bridge saddles would be the likely culprits. Just in my old man humble opinion (imomho :))

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.... never had a tuning issue I could blame the tuners for ....

I have. On two guitars out of the 10+ I've owned. One was a Johnson strat-copy. That is the guitar I was talking about in my above post. I dont know why, but winding the strings "over" worked. The other is my old Kingston acoustic with the old-school inline tuners with exposed gears. On some of the tuners you could feel the slippage. Others were almost unturnable. But, we are talking old and abused with the acoustic, so it may not technically apply.

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A lot of good solid knowledge here guys. The bottom line is that before you blame the tuner, you have to be certain it is the tuners' fault.

 

1. Does the post actually turn backward under tension?

I've only seen one in all my years of being around guitars.

 

2. Is the tuner the type that you can add tension to?

The screw that holds the tuning peghead on, is actually a tension screw. When you turn it tight you put pressure on the plastic washer that is in between the peghead, and the tuner body, creating more tension.

 

3. Most likely is that the windings are slipping because of too many winds.

 

4. Other than that, the nut would be the next culprit. Too tight a nut slot for whatever string size is on the guitar.

 

5. Could be that the bridge saddles need some TLC also.

 

See the pic below. It shows the screws that hold the peg head on, and the white plastic washer in between the head and the body.

 

InstalledRear.jpg

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Firstly Make sure the string are on correctly, the following tube video gave me a few pointers (and i have been playing for 20 years)

 

 

so assuming the strings are on right and you have dealt with any trouble at the nut, one simple thing that often helps is to always tune up to the note rather than down.

 

I always tune up to the note, give the string a wee pull to stretch out any slack in the winder then check and tune up to the note again (if necessary) it is a good tip for any tuners but is especially important for cheap/worn tuners.

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Which takes us to:

The tuners we love to Hate!!! (and why they are not that bad)

 

IMG_1695.jpg

 

There really is not that much to these. The problem is more often all the things previously discussed. (I'm guessing 95% or more of the time)

 

One of the problems is that they (should) be unstrung and removed from the guitar to check them. The screws that hold the covers on also hold the tuner on the guitar. (bushing do not need to be removed)

Care should be taken with screws as the heads can easily be striped.

Once removed the covers just pop off. They are held on by a slot in the cap and a matching grove on the tuning key shaft.

 

IMG_1696.jpg

 

At this point, the main thing that could be wrong is if the screw is loose. Tighten the screw and reinstall. If it is loose and can not be tightened back down then there is a problem.

As you can see from the following pic there is not much more to them.

 

IMG_1700-1-1-1.jpg

 

As indicated by the parts, the tuning peg is inserted through the base and held in position due to the matching flats on the sides of the tuning peg shoulder and inside of the round gear. It is then secured with the screw.

The bottom of the peg "seats" inside the gear leaving a small gap between the gear and the shoulder of the peg.

This space is about 1mm. The same as the thickness of the base plate.

The securing screw is about 5mm long and seats at the bottom of the tuning peg shoulder so as to not allow for over tightening.

 

About the only thing that could be wrong (aside from defective gears) is if the screw came from the factory a bit too long. This could cause loose seating.

About the only things that could correct this would be to grind the screw down a very slight amount risking messing up the threads and possibly cross threading inside the peg shaft.

OR...

Adding a small thin washer between the base plate and the round gear to give the screw more travel.

This would allow for more travel but you would also risk over tightening and stripping the screw.

 

I do realize that much of this is pointless. The real tuning problems are usually a result of the above discussions.

The question, however, does come up frequently.

 

 

Willy

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Which takes us to:

The tuners we love to Hate!!! (and why they are not that bad)

 

I've never had a problem with a set of those type. Not that I prefer them or anything...

The ones I had a problem with on my Johnson Strat were chinese diecast.

 

Another type of problem that is common with those tuneres are the hooks that hold the theaded peg to the plate. Too much force or abuse can break or bend those hooks and cause slippage between the round gear and the peg threads. If you are having a problem with slippage and the tuning peg is wobbly, thats probably the cause.

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Which takes us to:

 

IMG_1700-1-1-1.jpg

 

Willy

 

(EDIT: - RTH just said same thing while I was writing this, but with less

words. I thought Pirates were Long-winded?)

 

Willy!!!!! What EXCELLENT Photog work and effort! [thumbup] +1 for sure.

I want to add something I discovered, as I had the SAME factory tuners on

the LP Special II project git I refinished. I'll use your pic as "viewable reference".

 

5 of the Tuners were fine, the 6th was totally hosed, lots of SLOP. I disassembled

as you show in your post. The Tuner Tip/Shaft/Worm Gear (at Top of your pic) are

held in place by two "factory crimped" metal "C"-shaped "holders" that are part of the

tuner base.

 

THAT is where MY problem was. The Crimp job wasn't right, so the Tuner Worm Gear was TOO

FAR AWAY from the round "Drive Gear" that makes the string shaft turn. The worm gear and the

drive gear wouldn't mesh together correctly. (Worm gear and Teeth on drive gear BARELY touched).

 

My only solution to bring the Worm gear CLOSER to the Drive gear was to put BASE assembly

Vertically in Bench Vise with Tuner shaft at top, then place a Metal Bar across TOP of BOTH

"C"-Shaped parts, and gently POUND with hammer to slightly move it closer to Drive Gear. It did work.

 

It should not have been allowed out of factory, but - Hey, when you make Gazillions of 'em,

why bother with Quality Control? [flapper]

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(EDIT: - RTH just said same thing while I was writing this, but with less

words. I thought Pirates were Long-winded?)

Arrrrgh! You be correct, sir!

Been hella busy at work. No time for jibba jabba!

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I had two sets of the tuners pictured above, both on 90's Peavey guitars, one a Strat clone, (Predator), and one a Tele clone, (Raptor), both American made and great guitars for the money if you're ever in the market for something like that. Both sets held, contrary to warnings I got from friends about how terrible those tuners were supposed to be.

 

As for wrapping strings, something I learned a long time ago was to pull the string back over itself like a little hook. Then crank the winder and seat the string. I've never had a string slip on the tuner that way.

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3. Most likely is that the windings are slipping because of too many winds.

 

 

that was the advice I got on here a couple of years ago and it was quite correct in my case. I cut back to 2 or 3 winds per string and the Epi LP stayed in tune. on the other hand I've got an old Electra Strat (70s, early 80s) and the tuners are just worn out and slip.

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