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RichardP

Out of tune easy

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I have a 339 Pro. I like the guitar, but it goes out of tune easy. I also have a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. It's never out of tune. I can pick it up and go. Why does my epiphone 339 go out of tune so easy? I usually tune it a couple of times during a gig. I think the more I bend the strings the more it goes out of tune. Should I replace the nut? or the Tuners? Would different strings make a difference?

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I have a 339 Pro. I like the guitar, but it goes out of tune easy. I also have a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. It's never out of tune. I can pick it up and go. Why does my epiphone 339 go out of tune so easy? I usually tune it a couple of times during a gig. I think the more I bend the strings the more it goes out of tune. Should I replace the nut? or the Tuners? Would different strings make a difference?

 

Replace nut first then the turners, but first check that the turner's screws and bushings aren't loose and you could try some graphite on the nut and saddles.

 

Are these the original strings or have you changed them?

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First thing to do is make sure there's no string slack in the tuner posts. The recomended way for putting on new strings is the double lock method:

 

- cut the string, allowing for a couple inches past the tuner (example: for the low E string, cut it about halfway between the tuners for the A and D strings).

- put the string thru the hole in the post and bend it when about an inch is sticking out (lock #1).

- turn the tuner and wrap one loop over the post hole, and the rest under it (lock #2).

- as you continue to tune the string up to pitch, keep tension on it with your right hand.

- when the strings are close to pitch, use your right hand to go up and down each string, pulling up as you go to get rid of slack. repeat after using a tuner, and retune again.

- this should take out almost all slack and keep the strings from slipping. Within minutes of playing, any remaining slack will come out.

 

I frequently swap magents in my PU's (to change their EQ's), and that involves loosening the strings and retuning, so I go thru this more times than the vast majority of players. Also, my playing style involves constant deep bends and intense vibrato, ala Peter Green and Jimmy Page. Extreme stuff and I don't have tuning problems on stage. I break a string every year or two (I use 9's).

 

Second thing is to use graphite powder on your nut slots. Master luthier Dan Erlewine says that 90% of 'tuner' problems are actually nut problems. Your 339 should have Grover Rotomatics, which I've never had or heard of a problem with them slipping. They're rugged and reliable. There's no need to replace them, you won't get anything that stays in tune better.

 

Assuming your guitar is properly-built, the only other thing I can think of that causes tuning issues, is drastic changes in temp and humidity. Cold and rain will do it. Drive to a gig in a cold car, and then go inside to a warm bar, and a guitar will have to adjust and settle in. But after that, it should be stable. Here in Florida you'll have 90 degrees and 90% humidity outside, and in a/c it's 70 degrees and dry. Wood's going to expand and contract with all that.

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Replace nut first then the turners, but first check that the turner's screws and bushings aren't loose and you could try some graphite on the nut and saddles.

Are these the original strings or have you changed them?

Good points.

 

Also, as Blueman stated, string setup is important!

 

After that.....

Do you hear any pings while tuning?

The slots in your nut might be too tight. (Ouch)

They can be widened with torch tip cleaners. (Less than $5.00 from any welding supply store)

 

Torch-tip-cleaner.jpg

 

Just make sure you are widening the slots....not making them deeper.

(unless that is what you want to do)

 

Willy

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The nut is a very important part of the instrument. You really should use proper nut files with rounded bottoms to cut the slots. A "V" shaped slot will lead to string binding as the string jams in the V. A square shape lets the string slop around (the slot has to be wider than the string to avoid binding) but a rounded bottom holds the string in place.

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The nut is a very important part of the instrument. You really should use proper nut files with rounded bottoms to cut the slots. A "V" shaped slot will lead to string binding as the string jams in the V. A square shape lets the string slop around (the slot has to be wider than the string to avoid binding) but a rounded bottom holds the string in place.

 

Very true. A cheap little part that can cuase you headaches with string slipping or intonation (if it's the wrong height). If you have common nut slot issues, replacing tuners won't do anything, even if you get locking tuners, because the problem is before the strings reach the tuners.

 

Another thing I do when I get a guitar is use a T-nut driver to tighten the fastening ring on the tuner on the front of the headstock. Don't know that it makes much difference, but they're usually loose, and I like them snug.

 

And yes, those annoying little 'pings.' That's almost always the strings binding in the nut slots and then shifting loose as you play. I used to have that problem, but since I change strings the right way (as detailed above) and use graphite powder in the slots, I haven't heard a ping in years, and I don't replace tuners. Frustrating as string slipping is, the solution costs little, if anything.

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Another thing I do when I get a guitar is use a T-nut driver to tighten the fastening ring on the tuner on the front of the headstock. Don't know that it makes much difference, but they're usually loose, and I like them snug.

Just a warning to be careful doing this and not make them too tight, especially with a nitro finish (not applicable to most Epi's). I know from experience if you tighten them too much on a brand new Gibson Les Paul that the finish will bubble up and chip off around the tuner. [crying] . "Snug" is the key.

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Just a warning to be careful doing this and not make them too tight, especially with a nitro finish (not applicable to most Epi's). I know from experience if you tighten them too much on a brand new Gibson Les Paul that the finish will bubble up and chip off around the tuner. [crying] . "Snug" is the key.

 

Right. You don't want to over-tighten anything on a guitar.

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Take it to someone who can do a setup on the guitar. That way everything will be ready to play and adjusted properly. Do that before you start replacing parts. Replacing parts should be that last thing to do on that rig.

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Take it to someone who can do a setup on the guitar. That way everything will be ready to play and adjusted properly. Do that before you start replacing parts. Replacing parts should be that last thing to do on that rig.

 

There's nothing to replace. He needs to be able to properly put on a set of new strings himself, as every guitarist should, and sprinkle a little graphite powder in the nut slots. That will fix almost all slippage issues.

 

Rather than rely on paying techs for everything, who may not know much either, players should own Dan Erlewine's book: 'How to make your electric guitar play great', from StewMac. You are much better off knowing the basics about your guitars and being able to make adjustments yourself, so you're sure they're exactly what you want. Know your instrument, take control of it.

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Wow - thanks for everyones information.

 

Ok - I've been bad. I'm still using the stock strings that came with the guitar. I'll replace the strings and use a little graphite to start with. I've always been bad about replacing my strings.

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Wow - thanks for everyones information.

 

Ok - I've been bad. I'm still using the stock strings that came with the guitar. I'll replace the strings and use a little graphite to start with. I've always been bad about replacing my strings.

 

I think I have to take advantage of the report button, as you've just admitted to being bad. Sadly, I'll have to report myself for the same reason. Actually, why would the strings that come with the guitar be bad? Being a newb myself, explain that to me, as the guitar came in tune and only needs very fine adjustments every few days for me. I've heard it helps with graffite, I'll be sure to use what sounds like a great idea. Also, what about Fret Ease and applying it to my fingers instead of the strings, will it help an old mans finger tips, one that roofed for several years and as such, have fiberglass embedded in my hands and fingers, which makes it a bit uncomfortable?

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Actually, why would the strings that come with the guitar be bad? Being a newb myself, explain that to me, as the guitar came in tune and only needs very fine adjustments every few days for me. ................. will it help an old mans finger tips, one that roofed for several years and as such, have fiberglass embedded in my hands and fingers, which makes it a bit uncomfortable?

First,Damaged262,

I see you have only three posts so..WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!!

 

Next, how old can you be? If you are talking about embedded fiberglass, then I must have asbestos and slate embedded in mine. (LOL)

If you are tough enough for that business, your fingertips will be just fine. It just takes a bit of playing.

 

As to the strings, keep in mind...

The stock strings may have been on for any amount of time. They have also traveled across the world oceans in lord knows what conditions.

Heck, its a miracle the guitar still plays.

 

Besides...Consider the quality of factory stock strings.

I've heard rumors they are made from old barbed wire that was recycled from used welding rod.

 

Willy

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I agree with pretty much everything above from B335.

 

I keep hearing relatively new pickers complain about "tuning problems" when 95 percent of the time, it's the nut binding strings. I used to figure another 3-4 percent was the bridge messing up somehow. Maybe 1 percent tuners, and then inevitably with poorly adjusted tension on old-style tuners, or very "used" guitars with worn out tuners. Ain't had the tuning problem in decades and when I did, it was handled with graphite. "Old" strings don't help, but aging on some types of strings will have more effect than others. I've "worn" strings to the point they had indentations from frets and not had tuning problems until it got awfully bad, though.

 

BUT, note also the point that changeable weather, both temperature and humidity, will affect some guitars more than others, even of the same type and/or brand. Each has different woods involved.

 

The reason I picked up my first semihollow wasn't to look like this or that artist, or even to sound like this or that artist, but because winter weather plays hob on my hollow bodies' tuning for hours - and even after it seems stabilized "back stage," stage lighting can pull the thing outa tune in the time it takes to play one piece. Yeah, it stabilizes, but I figured it's better to go the semi route in winter or even once air conditioning at home has temp/humidity significantly different from outdoor and/or conditions likely at whatever venue.

 

Another point on factory strings is that they're not yours. I don't care if you get a $5,000 guitar, to me the first thing to do when purchased is to put on "your" strings. Even if a high-quality "brand" is on the instrument, they're basically put there to maintain tension on the neck and to test to ensure the electronics work. They're not your strings with only your fingers playing 'em.

 

The "howta stretch the strings while you're stringing" is pretty much identical to what I do. Always one string at a time unless you're messing with pups or whatever like B335 does. That's equally true on acoustic or electric and especially true on guitars with a "floating" bridge.

 

I don't get as sorta precise on the tuner attachments as B335 does, but tuner and all other attachments should be checked on a new guitar one way or another - again, largely because of combined weather change on the wood and who knows what may have been considered good enough at the factory.

 

With wood, however, you don't want to overmuscle any screws. Yeah, the finish is one thing, but on screws that go into wood, it's even more vital to take care not to strip 'em.

 

The "out" jack is another point to test for tightness, but it's one you need to be very careful tightening so you don't twist the whole jack to the point it breaks the wires inside.

 

m

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Graphite powder in the nut... pencil shavings? Just sprinkle a bit on it/dump some on it, put the strings in and blow the rest away?

 

I'm about to change my strings from the factory ones, so any little bit will help. Also, there is a slight ping when tuning the strings but I'm changing from 10's to 9's. Difference?

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In the olden days when I started guitar stuff, soft "lead" in pencils worked quite well. I bought the wooden variety with the big "lead" that was usual for lower gradeschool children.

 

I'm not sure about current pencils with harder lead. Ain't had the problem.

 

I have virtually all my steel-string guitars wearing 9-42. Ain't had problems. That's not to say that you might not have the same experience 'cuz each guitar is different.

 

Remember too, we're talking .009 vs .010 - not a whole heckuva lotta difference...

 

m

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I have a 339 Pro. I like the guitar, but it goes out of tune easy. I also have a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. It's never out of tune. I can pick it up and go. Why does my epiphone 339 go out of tune so easy? I usually tune it a couple of times during a gig. I think the more I bend the strings the more it goes out of tune. Should I replace the nut? or the Tuners? Would different strings make a difference?

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I have a ace budokan and I think the 339 the ultra 3 and ace model all have the same D neck

and there must be a problem with them staying in tune and buzzing strings.

they never used these type of necks much but i think there problems with them

don't know if that helps but i feel the same way you do frustrated

Bongofury

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Bongo...

 

Buzzing strings indicate something different than tuner difficulties. Could be neck torsion or could be something with the nut. Different kinds of "buzzing" have different causes - but almost never are caused even by the worst tuners themselves.

 

Actually I've even been frustrated in "the olden days" by what I thought was horrid "string buzz" that had nothing to do with the strings at all, but still came through the amp. Long story, that... but...

 

m

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Graphite powder in the nut... pencil shavings? Just sprinkle a bit on it/dump some on it, put the strings in and blow the rest away?

 

I'm about to change my strings from the factory ones, so any little bit will help. Also, there is a slight ping when tuning the strings but I'm changing from 10's to 9's. Difference?

 

I get graphite powder from a hardware store, they sell it to lubricate padlocks. I move the strings aside, put a little powder in the slots, put the strings back in the slots, then tune up. Only after do I wipe away the excess. That should take care of pings.

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Go to YouTube and watch Danny Gatton's video on setting up your guitar.

Most problems concerning strings are because they are not installed properly.

Your wraps should go all the way down to the headstock surface. (Not my advise, Danny's. I think he would know.)

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