Tuning Issues

PauloQS

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Nut health is all it takes. No ugly AF string butler, nut sauce or other branded lube, locking tuners, different headstock design etc. needed. Just properly slotted nut and maybe a bit of graphite usually applied with a mechanical pencil. All my Gibson guitars will stay in tune just as well as all my other brand guitars, which currently includes Fender, Godin, Martin and PRS.
 

SWeAT hOg

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Nut health is all it takes. No ugly AF string butler, nut sauce or other branded lube, locking tuners, different headstock design etc. needed. Just properly slotted nut and maybe a bit of graphite usually applied with a mechanical pencil. All my Gibson guitars will stay in tune just as well as all my other brand guitars, which currently includes Fender, Godin, Martin and PRS.
+1 on everything here!
 

PauloQS

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Here’s an anecdote.

I have a friend who got a PRS SE a while back. He loved the guitar, but the thing wouldn’t stay in tune. He went online and had this list of very nice parts the internet overlords told him to get. It included the MannMade USA bridge, a new nut of the same material used in the USA models, and locking tuners.

I told my friend to give me 15 minutes with his guitar and lo and behold, the nut was slotted very poorly, which I then addressed. No new parts were necessary. Just that nuts of those SE models were notoriously poorly slotted until 2018. I saved my friend a few hundred bucks and I even rounded the edge of the nut because it was way too sharp.

In my experience, most non-custom shop guitars need some nut health intervention. Slots are usually too narrow and often times the action at the nut is a tad too high. I conjecture manufactures are only using the plek machine to make the guide for the slots. USA PRS stay in tune because they had those molded nuts that don’t need a lot of attention. I conjecture it has nothing to do with break angle, headstock geometry or all that hocus pocus I see stamped all over the internet.
 

GermHerm

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Not optimal nut cut!
All my LPs, SGs, Flying Vs, etc. stay in tune optimally.
What is the problem? Head angle and spread out of the string angles, especially the D and G strings are involved. This effect is given for all guitar models with this specific construction and its brand independent!
File the slot in the head and string(!) direction a little wider, use nut sauce and you are good to go ... Check out for videos at the StewMac website. My 2 cents.
 

blouie

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My brand new 2020 R0 does not like to stay in tune! All my other guitars except my 84 custom have locking tuners and I have no issues (particularly my EBMMs which I can take out of the case a year later and they are still in tune).

Does anyone recommend changing tuners on a reissue (with something like this)?


or


I love my R0 but the fact it gets out of tune all the time is so frustrating. I'll try a nut lube product next time I change strings. Hate the thought of modifying the R0 but I've already talked myself into installing Dunlop Straplocks anyway!

I exclusively use a TC Electronics Polytune. For the guitars with trems, it makes tuning ultra quick and easy (and possible!)
 

CoolRene

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Does everyone have tuning issues with there LP's? I have 6 LP's and it's a real challenge keeping them in tune. Seems like I need to retune every song and it's not just a minute adjustment, it goes way out of tune. Happens mostly on the GBE strings. My PRS and Fender guitars stay in tune much better, I can pull those out of their cases and they are always in tune or at least close. What's the deal?
The design of the Gibson headstock was known for creating tuning issues, although it gets better nowadays.
Some stay in tune right from the beginning, some need a little tweak.
My advice:
1. wrap the strings around the tuning shaft in the "self-locking way" : first wrap over, all others (not exceeding 2 or three wraps under).
2. depending on your string gauge, check if they fit the nut grooves. In case they're too large, some filing might be needed
3. check if the grooves follow the path to the tuners. The G and B strings particularly tend to get stuck if the grooves are perpendicular to the nut
4. lube the grooves either with dedicated lubricant (nut sauce or other), or with a simple graphite tip from a pencil
5. Stretch the strings and retune as many times as necessary until they're stable.

With all that, you should be fine. Mine stays in tune a whole set without problems (and I bend the hell out of my strings).
 

RedSkwirrell

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Does everyone have tuning issues with there LP's? I have 6 LP's and it's a real challenge keeping them in tune.
One with, one without.

My 1990 I've had set up three times and I'm now scared to have it done again because the last one was so good.
But she needs a new nut.

2010 Limited was a PLEK set up at the factory and was perfect out of the box.
She tunes herself to whichever tuning I want (Robot tuning) but, once set, she keeps it while playing.

I use 0.010 Bright Wires on both.
 

SWeAT hOg

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My brand new 2020 R0 does not like to stay in tune! All my other guitars except my 84 custom have locking tuners and I have no issues (particularly my EBMMs which I can take out of the case a year later and they are still in tune).

Does anyone recommend changing tuners on a reissue (with something like this)?


or


I love my R0 but the fact it gets out of tune all the time is so frustrating. I'll try a nut lube product next time I change strings. Hate the thought of modifying the R0 but I've already talked myself into installing Dunlop Straplocks anyway!

I exclusively use a TC Electronics Polytune. For the guitars with trems, it makes tuning ultra quick and easy (and possible!)
FYI, locking tuners do NOTHING for tuning stability on a Les Paul, unless it’s decked out with a vibrato bar. Your problems are at the nut, maybe in how tight you get the wind on the tuner post. Fix the nut, stretch the strings and rock out in tune!!
 

Bluesman1956

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Does everyone have tuning issues with there LP's? I have 6 LP's and it's a real challenge keeping them in tune. Seems like I need to retune every song and it's not just a minute adjustment, it goes way out of tune. Happens mostly on the GBE strings. My PRS and Fender guitars stay in tune much better, I can pull those out of their cases and they are always in tune or at least close. What's the deal?
Trade 5 of them for PRSs keep one for a wall display, that’s what I did.
 

gkelm

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OP, my experience as well, LPs are the worst. I’ve suffered too long...I must address the nut issue.
 

Bluesman1956

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The design of the Gibson headstock was known for creating tuning issues, although it gets better nowadays.
Some stay in tune right from the beginning, some need a little tweak.
My advice:
1. wrap the strings around the tuning shaft in the "self-locking way" : first wrap over, all others (not exceeding 2 or three wraps under).
2. depending on your string gauge, check if they fit the nut grooves. In case they're too large, some filing might be needed
3. check if the grooves follow the path to the tuners. The G and B strings particularly tend to get stuck if the grooves are perpendicular to the nut
4. lube the grooves either with dedicated lubricant (nut sauce or other), or with a simple graphite tip from a pencil
5. Stretch the strings and retune as many times as necessary until they're stable.

With all that, you should be fine. Mine stays in tune a whole set without problems (and I bend the hell out of my strings).
Your absolutely correct, the Gibson head stock design has always been its a major design flaw, Leo Fender saw this and corrected the problem, Paul Reed Smith also realized it and made a superior product.
 

Saiko

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Unpopular opinion: It's you.

That's normally the answer. The headstock angle has nothing to do with it. The nut was probably cut for a lighter gauge of strings than you use. I have 4 Les Pauls, an ES-335, and an SG and I have zero issues with them. If I had one that had some issues, I would simply adjust the nut accordingly.

And for the record, I've been playing Les Pauls since 2005 and I've yet to knock one over or have one fly magically off a stand in such a way to break the headstock...

The "problems" that many people seem to have with Gibsons often seem to come down to ignorance and carelessness.
 

mdubya

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Does anyone recommend changing tuners on a reissue (with something like this)?

Nope. Tuners are not the problem.

Lube them nuts!

Even the famous luthier who has worked on some of my guitars and who always insists on a highly polished, properly cut bone nut, uses Big Bends Nut Sauce.

I let him do his thing if I take a guitar to him.

At home, I use No. 2 pencil graphite. All of my guitars stay in tune and usually go in an out of the case without ever needing to be tuned. 9 Gibsons and 1 Ibanez.
 

PauloQS

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Let’s stop this ridiculous myth, at least in this forum. It’s not headstock design or break angle. Also locking tuners will do nothing to help with tuning stability. It’s the nut.

Leo Fender’s design had nothing to do with tuning stability, but with cost cutting. He could make more necks with less wood without having to resort to scarf joints. I highly doubt he was thinking about tuning stability when he designed his guitars.
 

Cjsinla

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I read an article (can't remember where) that if you wind the G,B &E strings down the posts (opposite to the E,A&D which is usual up the tuning post/peg) this fixes the problem. I haven't done this myself but i might next string change. PS I usual have problems with only the G string but don't we all :)
No, we all don’t. Nylon nut can hold tune for hours or days.
 

Tinpan

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No issues on any of mine (2 x Les Paul Customs; 1960 reissue; Axcess with ABR-1 Bridge; and an ES-335).
 

redking

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I plan on buying a pair of these so that I can get a really close up look at the nut while I'm working on it. Then just follow the basic principles of cutting a good nut.

1615567378070.png
 

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