Gibson LP Custom random/intermittent tuning issue

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by 80lpkustom, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. 80lpkustom

    80lpkustom Junior Member

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    Strange title I know but let me explain. Recently picked up a Gibson Les Paul custom. The guitar came with 9's (I Think). Now personally I prefer 10's on my Gibson's, after re stringing with 10-46 Gibson bright wires, the guitar fights with me sometimes when I try and tune it up. At other times the issue is not present the guitar plays normally.

    Issue in question is mostly on the B and G strings, although the other strings have acted up in the past. What happens is when I pluck them, they immediately go sharp if I keep plucking them eventually they go from sharp to flat and then finally up to pitch. The guitar will then stay in tune only for a few minutes before going sour again.

    Things I have tried are

    Lubing the nut with graphite
    flossing the nut with thread and playing with no lube
    adjusted the height of the tail piece ( it was cranked all the way down against the body causing the strings to bind up heavily on bridge)
    Tightening the tuning knobs and and making sure the actually tuning machines themselves were properly tightened.

    Apologies for the long post, any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. frozenotter

    frozenotter down with the sickness Premium Member

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    I had this problem with my Custom too. My issue is that the nut slot was too tight and it left slack in the string from the nut to the tuning post. One bend and it would pull out the slack a bit causing the tuning to .."change". You may want to hang out for other advice but you could use a nut file and make the groove in the nut for these strings fit the strings a little bit looser. Have to be very careful though since things can go wrong very quickly.

    By "looser" I mean a PERFECT fit.
     
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  3. Biddlin

    Biddlin Senior Member

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    You're welcome!
     
  4. Jymbopalyse

    Jymbopalyse Senior Member

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    Just for shits and giggles, get a precut nut and just swap them out.

    See what happens. Cost ya whole $10 to try.
     
  5. JohnnyN

    JohnnyN Old school Premium Member

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    To me it sounds like too tight nut slots, as frozenotter mentions.
     
  6. 80lpkustom

    80lpkustom Junior Member

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    Strings have been stretched in very well, fist by me, second by my dad, who spent the better part of an entire day playing and stretching out the strings. He swears there is no issue, unfortunately whenever I pick the guitar up to play it the issue still persists. I have tried using 1500 grit sand paper to widen out the nut but I guess ill have to go back and try to widen it some more.
     
  7. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    How are you measuring what you are perceiving as flat/sharp/intune? This is important before starting messing with the nut and everything.

    Is the guitar sounding sharp or flat on open strings, or are you getting sharp & flat while playing on the frets?
    Are you getting this along the entire neck, or just first part, or last part, after 12th fret?
    How hard are you playing and strumming? Does this happen with everyone playing your guitar?

    Sorry, lot of questions, but what are you reporting (a guitar that does move from sharp to flat to sharp to in tune) sounds weird.
     
  8. 80lpkustom

    80lpkustom Junior Member

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    If I strum after tuning up to pitch I can watch on my tuner as well as hear the change in the pitch of the strings. It doesn' seem to matter if I pluck/strum them open or chord them. I can watch the needle of the tuner slowly go sharp, then slowly go back until the guitar plays flat and out of tune.

    I gave the guitar to my dad who really stretched the strings and played it all day. He claimed he was strumming very hard and didn' have an issue. Weird part about all of this is I've had days myself were the guitar has played great never going out of tune once even with heavy bending.
     
  9. rjwilson37

    rjwilson37 Senior Member

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    You may have heavy fingers, which will cause your guitar to seem out of tune when you're just pressing down to hard. It only takes a light touch to really get your chords and fingering on the lower frets to ring out nicely. If your Dad is not having any issues, you shouldn't either.

    Also... I have never known a Les Paul Custom to come with 9's, they all come with 10's. The new Les Paul Studios and Standards come with 9's on the first 3 E, B, G strings and 10's on the Low 3 strings E, A and D. So you have 9-46, instead of 10-46, which is light Top and Regular Bottom when you purchase the 9-46..
     
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  10. PierM

    PierM Premium Member

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    Then you are confirming its related to your playing. If your dad said he had no issues.........
     
  11. Macronaut

    Macronaut Silver Supporter

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    This was my guess too.

    After playing my acoustic for a bit, I tend to press too hard on my LP, which has an extremely easy touch. This causes pretty much what the OP is describing.
     
  12. Axis39

    Axis39 Senior Member

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    Be careful just randomly sanding the nut... Really, it should be done with some care and attention to detail. It's not hard, but, tuning a nut can make or break a guitar.

    The slots should be the correct size for the strings. They should be angled towards the tuner the strings will be attached to. The strings should also not be buried into the nut. There are few really good videos out on Youtube on slotting a nut.

    I have yet to have a guitar show up with a factory nut that was up to my standards. I spent a little money on some nut files and spent a good time learning how to do the proper set up stuff on guitars (eventually I built a few as well, but that's neither here nor there). When other guys pick up my guitars they marvel at how well they are set up and how easy they play. I'm not some genius... But, if this sounds like more work than you want to undertake, find a good luthier or repairman near you and have it set up the way you want it!

    With your dad, it could be two things.. Either you are really heavy handed at picking. Or, maybe your dad is not as sensitive to it going out of tune?
     
  13. rjwilson37

    rjwilson37 Senior Member

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    Yes to this quote from Axis39. If you don't file the nut properly, you may have an issue with the tuning in the lower frets and may require you to get a new nut. And the new nut should be adjusted properly by a Luthier, someone specialized in this type of work.
     
  14. rjwilson37

    rjwilson37 Senior Member

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    I am a little bit heavy handed and sometimes my chords would be off a little especially near the nut, where I would just lighten up a little and I'm good to go. My current guitars are setup perfectly for me, even with heavy hands at times, my chording is perfect everywhere on the fretboard, even right by the nut. :acoustic:
     
  15. 80lpkustom

    80lpkustom Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the reply's guys, I had some time on my lunch break and went home to sit down with the custom and play it through my dual rectifier on the clean channel. Sure enough after just a few minutes of play even with me trying my hardest to pick lightly the B and G strings are still going out first sharp then flat, just as they have before.

    As others have suggested Im suspecting the nut my need to be redone for the 10s though I may try a set of hybrid strings with a lighter top and regular bottom first.
     
  16. irocdave12

    irocdave12 Senior Member

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    Yeah sounds like binding in the nut. Also I've found Nut Sauce works way better than pencil lead. The G string is the usual problem child on les pauls and the sauce helps on mine
     
  17. rjwilson37

    rjwilson37 Senior Member

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    When you're heavy handed, it's not your picking, it's your fingering on the frets that causes your strings to sound out of tune. If your dad is playing and not seeing any issues, then maybe it's your fingering. Just a thought, since some guitars bring out your heavy handedness more than others.
     
  18. 80lpkustom

    80lpkustom Junior Member

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    The strings like to go out of tune if I pluck them open virtually as much as if I try any notes or chords. I'll try a set of bright wire 9-46's and see if that makes any difference, before trying more on the nut.
     
  19. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Hitting strings always make them sharp initially. The harder you hit the more the initial is sharp. If the note is playing continuously (as you strike the string once) and its going in and out of tune during the ring then there's not much anyone can do - maybe you have a dud set of strings??
    Nut issues only come into play when the note goes flat or sharp and stays that way for the next strike
     
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  20. 80lpkustom

    80lpkustom Junior Member

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    Thats what I was getting at, sorry if I didn't make it clearer earlier on.

    Very possible, I'm going to try a different set tomorrow, along with some Big Bends nut sauce
     

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