Pulling Strings After Tuning Down

CoolRene

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String tension varies until they’re stretched out enough to stabilize. Once it’s done, you can bend the hell out of them, they’ll come back to pitch (unless your guitar’s nut is poorly adjusted/lubrified and retains strings in its grooves).
 

rfrizz

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I'm actually shocked that it's taken you 35 years since you first started playing before you asked this question, and honestly even more shocked that you are uncertain enough about your 'guessed' answer that you felt you needed to post here about it, or that you're watching Joe Walsh's youtube about how to tune your guitar properly.... and I'm not trying to be mean when I say that, it's just that after playing that long and asking that question now, just 'doesn't compute' for me. I knew it wasn't April 1, so it couldn't be that, but, after 35 years? It's like being married and after 2 kids, asking your wife where the babies are coming from!!! Just to put it in perspective, I think it's fair to say that most of the people here either figured this out or otherwise found this out within the first days to weeks of getting our first guitar... I know I did.

The only thing I could say that's stupid about your question is that you waited so long before you asked it, but then I don't know you, and there might have been extenuating circumstances... for all I know, might have been in a coma, or shipwrecked on an undiscovered island. The important thing is that you've found a good, friendly source of knowledge about everything Les Paul-related.

PS... I started as a classical guitar student in the late 70's, put myself through college playing rock, blues, motown in clubs at night and going to classes days.
And every one is so proud of you that you gigged your way through college, and we applaud you. But every one is a little bit disappointed that you think a well-known Youtube video titled Joe Walsh Les Paul Set Up is about merely tuning a guitar (emphasis added). I am so terribly sorry for jangling your nerves to such a degree, and I promise to be more thoughtful of your feelings in the future.

If you are going to toot your on horn and be smug & snarky, it is a good idea not to say anything stupid while doing so.
 

rfrizz

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Since I do that when I tune up a new set of strings, and every time I check the tuning before I play, I don't do that separately. YMMV. FYI, if you haven't already figured it out, the nut is a common place for strings to bind, partly because of the string break angle from the nut to the tuning machine. That's why you see pencil marks in the grooves of the nut, because graphite is a good lubricant and helps the strings slide a little more easily through the nut slots... you still need to pull the strings when tuning though, as best practice, and, the graphite or whatever lubricant you use (if you use lube) doesn't last forever.
I have found that tugging the strings brings out nut and bridge binding problems so that they can be polished and/or lubed as appropriate.
 

jk60LPTH

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And every one is so proud of you that you gigged your way through college, and we applaud you. But every one is a little bit disappointed that you think a well-known Youtube video titled Joe Walsh Les Paul Set Up is about merely tuning a guitar (emphasis added). I am so terribly sorry for jangling your nerves to such a degree, and I promise to be more thoughtful of your feelings in the future.

If you are going to toot your on horn and be smug & snarky, it is a good idea not to say anything stupid while doing so.
We both know which youtube we're talking about and what it's about, I watched it 5 or 6 years ago- I watch all of Joe's youtubes- he's one of my favorite guitarists. it's a nice tutorial for beginners, but a lot of us here have been doing these things for decades, including setting up our own guitars. But the only part that you spoke about in your opening question was related to guitar tuning, not to setting up a guitar, and I'm not the one who named the thread "Pulling Strings After Tuning Down", am I? Nor am I the one who named the link that you posted to the youtube we're talking about "Joe Walsh Pulling Strings"...

You do have a pretty vivid imagination though, you write about "every one is so proud of you...", "we all applaud you...", "everyone is a little bit disappointed..." Who are all of these people you're referring to? My nerves are jangling to such a degree.... and I'm so thankful that you've promised to be more thoughtful of my feelings in the future.... I can finally sleep again!

:rolleyes:
 

Maggot_Brain

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I've been doing it since the '70s.

Stretching new strings after installing them, stretching them after tuning, giving a Strat trem a quick yank up after dive-bombing -- back then we had to figure all that stuff out on our own.
Funny. I had to figure it out in 2020, too. Just because the internet is here doesn't mean there are qualified people on it to teach these things. So I couldn't just go to some be-all, end-all website and learn everything I needed to know all at once, as you somewhat imply.
 

rfrizz

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We both know which youtube we're talking about and what it's about, I watched it 5 or 6 years ago- I watch all of Joe's youtubes- he's one of my favorite guitarists. it's a nice tutorial for beginners, but a lot of us here have been doing these things for decades, including setting up our own guitars. But the only part that you spoke about in your opening question was related to guitar tuning, not to setting up a guitar, and I'm not the one who named the thread "Pulling Strings After Tuning Down", am I? Nor am I the one who named the link that you posted to the youtube we're talking about "Joe Walsh Pulling Strings"...

You do have a pretty vivid imagination though, you write about "every one is so proud of you...", "we all applaud you...", "everyone is a little bit disappointed..." Who are all of these people you're referring to? My nerves are jangling to such a degree.... and I'm so thankful that you've promised to be more thoughtful of my feelings in the future.... I can finally sleep again!

:rolleyes:
Are you still whining about this?

Google "royal we" for details about how it fits into sarcasm. I'm got responsible for your limited understandind. You now admit to be familiar with Walsh's setup video, so for you to be confused into calling it a "tuning video" because I selected the potion where he is is pulling the strings, well, that just makes me sad. Grasping at straws isn't becoming.

You were so triggered and butthurt by my post that you felt the need to reply with a looooong, insulting post, so stop sniveling about being called out for being a dick about it.

Other than that, baaaaaawwwww!
 

CB91710

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I do it too.
Any time I loosen a string for any reason (other than removing them), even if I'm going to be tuning up immediately, I still pull the slack out.
 

jk60LPTH

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Are you still whining about this?

Google "royal we" for details about how it fits into sarcasm. I'm got responsible for your limited understandind. You now admit to be familiar with Walsh's setup video, so for you to be confused into calling it a "tuning video" because I selected the potion where he is is pulling the strings, well, that just makes me sad. Grasping at straws isn't becoming.

You were so triggered and butthurt by my post that you felt the need to reply with a looooong, insulting post, so stop sniveling about being called out for being a dick about it.

Other than that, baaaaaawwwww!
Hey, I'm just happy that the internet was invented and Joe Walsh was born... :)
 

rogue3

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Every club gig i have ever played(past tense) with a band... had the pre gig *ritual*...new strings,nut lube(graphite),saddle lube(sewing machine oil),intonation,and string stretch,
to stabilize the string for tuning.
Occasionally, one string would break with this stretch.Good to know with this test,that there was a weak string right out of the package,before i hit the stage...ya!
Worked fine for me.Very stable at the gig...and good for a couple days post gig.

I was taught this by a hard core R&B/Blues guy i was playin with way back.
(hey, Sugar Plum Croxen!)
sugar.jpg
I copied his pre gig prep,and never looked back.It was obvious,to the ear.
I spent a couple months playing with that cat,i learned his set list,still have all the lead sheets with the chording.A whole lot of classic r&b and blues songs i would have never known existed, let alone learned, had i not played with the man.thankyou Leonard(his real name).
...but back to stretch...

No issues onstage with tuning,after prep and stretch.Tuning would be slick as shit,but, i still had the occasional string break.(i bend like hell and vibrato a lot).

As to the op's question about Joe,same reason,as everyone has pointed out.
For tuning stability.
I did not have to watch the video to know why.
 
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rfrizz

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Hey, I'm just happy that the internet was invented and Joe Walsh was born... :)
Well, we definitely concur on that. Also glad that Walsh's charisma transfers through video so he was able to make this very watchable HOW-TO for basic guitar setup, covering truss rod/neck curvature, bridge adjustment/action, and pickup height including pole-pieces.

Most guitar setup pages/vids I have seen don't cover adjusting pups.
 

CB91710

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Well, we definitely concur on that. Also glad that Walsh's charisma transfers through video so he was able to make this very watchable HOW-TO for basic guitar setup, covering truss rod/neck curvature, bridge adjustment/action, and pickup height including pole-pieces.

Most guitar setup pages/vids I have seen don't cover adjusting pups.
That video is my go-to link for when people talk about not being able to afford to pay someone to do a setup, or they can't afford the $500 in specialty tools that Screw-Mac has persuaded them they need.
 

rfrizz

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Every club gig i have ever played(past tense) with a band... had the pre gig *ritual*...new strings,nut lube(graphite),saddle lube(sewing machine oil),intonation,and string stretch,
to stabilize the string for tuning.
I gotta ask... Why do you prefer to use graphite on the nut, but oil on the saddle? I'm definitly not saying there is anything wrong with this (because there isn't!) but since most people use the same lube on the nut and saddle/bridge, I'm curious if you have a reason why you prefer this approach.
 

rfrizz

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That video is my go-to link for when people talk about not being able to afford to pay someone to do a setup, or they can't afford the $500 in specialty tools that Screw-Mac has persuaded them they need.
A middling capo, decent steel feeler gauge, and a good steel string-height gauge shouldn't be more than $30-$40. I know a few people who can do it without a feeler gauge.
 

CB91710

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A middling capo, decent steel feeler gauge, and a good steel string-height gauge shouldn't be more than $30-$40. I know a few people who can do it without a feeler gauge.
Even string cut-offs make decent feeler gauges, and in some ways, better than purpose-made blades.
With a 1/2" wide feeler gauge, it's easy to rotate it so you don't get a good feel between the fret and the string that is running perpendicular to it.
But an E string that passes cleanly over the fret tells you that the clearance is more than .009-.010, and a B string that catches tells you that the clearance is less than .011-.013, and a G string that catches tells you the clearance is less than .017

And at the end of the day, this is not rocket science... the published specs are a starting point. Knowing that it is somewhere between .008 and .013 is good enough, since you are going to "season to taste" anyways.
Some guitars will always buzz at 4/64, and some can go as low as 2/64 on the treble strings.
Some players need a bit more because they play with a lot of bends. Some need more because they hit hard.

I've always set up my own guitars, and from 1976 to probably 1997, I never used anything more than a tuner and my eyes and ears.
Radius gauges are the biggest waste of money in my current toolbox.
 

dasherf17

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I'm pretty sure this video has been posted here before. (Like a bagillion times.)

My question is, why does Joe pull/stretch the strings after he tunes them down before tuning back up to pitch? Also, who thinks this is a good or bad practice?

My guess is that he does it to pull slack off of the portion of the string wrapped around the capstan. Before anyone says it, I know that strings should be tuned up to pitch, and not down to pitch.


Joe Walsh Pulling Strings
View attachment 556951
Hey...if Joe says to do it...who are we to argue...with a sick mind? His words...I'm just quoting...
But seriously, folks (somebody stop me...sorry...) Joe is a guitar hero...
I HAVE stretched my strings and it seems to shorten the break-in/retune time.
I don't seem to torque on 'em like he does, but I do the stretch.
 

CB91710

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Hey...if Joe says to do it...who are we to argue...with a sick mind? His words...I'm just quoting...
But seriously, folks (somebody stop me...sorry...) Joe is a guitar hero...
I HAVE stretched my strings and it seems to shorten the break-in/retune time.
I don't seem to torque on 'em like he does, but I do the stretch.
"Stretching" the strings establishes the break angle at the bridge, and to a lesser degree, the nut and tuners.

When you pull a new string over an edge, there is a slight radius.
Tune to pitch and play... you'll be flat in a few minutes.
This will continue until the string pull itself into the minimum radius the wire is capable of bending over the sharp edges.

"Stretching" the strings more quickly establishes this minimum radius.



Except the G string on a Les Paul.
It's always going to give you the finger :rofl: :rofl:
 

dasherf17

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I've been doing it since the '70s.

Stretching new strings after installing them, stretching them after tuning, giving a Strat trem a quick yank up after dive-bombing -- back then we had to figure all that stuff out on our own.
I had it suggested by a fellow guitar player in the '70s, too...I thought it was a good idea and when I saw Joe's video (actually a previous VHS video), I feel I was taught something good, all those years ago.
 

rogue3

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I gotta ask... Why do you prefer to use graphite on the nut, but oil on the saddle? I'm definitly not saying there is anything wrong with this (because there isn't!) but since most people use the same lube on the nut and saddle/bridge, I'm curious if you have a reason why you prefer this approach.
Really Good question.

Yes,graphite works fine too...but the sewing machine oil aside from lubricating the string slot has another function.
It protects the bridge and bridge screws from sweat corrosion,for the gig that night.

Pre gig prep/string change,one very,very tiny drop on each saddle slot,with new strings on and tuned to pitch.At that point,i will detune the strings,give each string a stretch,then tune back up to pitch.I then proceed to intonate.If it is a hot night, right before going onstage,an addtional tiny ....tiny drop on each saddle slot again.

Of course,the graphite on the nut slots,(HB pencil for me) goes on before the strings go on.

The sewing machine oil (low viscosity)also flows(in tiny amount) down to the screws. Not much,but has the effect of protecting the metal from sweat corrosion.Anyone that has tried to intonate and can't get the screws to turn easily,will appreciate what a smooth turning intonation bridge screw can mean,(Les Paul or Fender bridges) particularly if you have just one axe to rely on, it can be a pita if corrosion is causing the screws to bind.
Its really a working man's solution, a player who does a lot of gigs.wear and tear sweat corrosion on the metal bridge.

Anyone here who has played under the hot lights night after night (there are a few here) knows what i mean. If you are doing a lot of gigs,summertime,sweat can pour off you!...and corrosion can build up over the weeks,but the oil mitigates the corrosion damage to the bridge assembly,imho.

Every few weeks(or more often) with this treatment,you have to take the bridge off,put in a bowl of warm water and mild soap,and scrub the residue off i used a toothbrush...the oil will hold residual dust and dirt(skin!) so periodic cleaning is necessary. Clean it up, dry immediately,completely.I've actually used a hand held hair dryer to dry the bridge assembly, it gets any remaining moisture in the screw hole.bone dry.
A clean unoxidized bridge,smooth turning intonation screws,lubricant at string change = long term smooth turning intonation screws.

Even more important on strat and tele bridges with their complicated collection of tiny intonation and height screws that can corrode.But cleaning those assemblies is a more complicated affair :eek2:.I only dealt with my Les Paul Nashville bridges,fairly simple.Despite many gigs,the bridges are in fine shape and still intonate effortlessly after 35 years.

This is hardly necessary at home though:rofl:. I am pretty sure not a drop of sweat has hit those bridges at home for me(haha!).Graphite would be fine too.
Still,the regimen does produce a fine sounding,smooth tuning setup for me,so, i still follow it everytime i change strings,which is way less than i would playing out regularly.ymmv.
 
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