Tuning Problems With New Epi Lep Std 60s

rfrizz

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I have searched, but I have not found a good answer.

I have had this for under a month, and I love it except for the tendency to go out of tune. It came with 10s, but I have replaced them with an EB 10-46 set. The specs say it has a Graph Tech nut.

The tuning problem is a tendency for the strings to go sharp, especially after it has been in its case overnight. I think the nut slots may be binding the strings because when I got the corner of my fingernail in some of the slots, it does not seem smooth. This is the case for plain and wound string slots, and Nut Sauce has helped, but it hasn't cured the detuning. I am thinking about polishing the slots with fine sandpaper.

Q1: Is this likely what is causing the strings to detune?
Q2: If I use sandpaper, what grit(s) should I use? Also, how should I do it? Fold it in half and use it like dental floss?
Q3: Any other ideas?

EDIT: I should have specified time. If I tune the guitar and play it for 10-15 minutes, the strings often will go out of tune. Also, I know to tune up to the correct pitch.
 
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BadPenguin

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Let's assume it's the nut, like 90% of all tuning issues. UNLESS the case is stored in a room that is a LOT colder/warmer then the rest of the house.
Go to Home Depot or Lowes, and get a welding tip cleaner. Cost about 5 bucks.
download (6).jpg

Run the file closest in size to the slot, one, maybe two times. Repeat for the rest of the slots. That should fix the issue.
As to the other possible cause, leave the guitar out of it's case. It'll get played more.
 

BDW60

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It’s humidity/temperature, changing conditions, causing the strings to go sharp. Happens all the time on cheap guitars and expensive ones as well. If it was just one or two strings constantly going out while playing, that’s much more likely a nut issue.

Let the guitar settle in to the specific conditions in your house. It generally will even itself out.
 

Michael Matyas

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Guitars often go out of tune in a case. Metal strings can go sharp or flat from minor temperature changes. This is nothing to worry about. But if strings don't return to pitch while you are playing, after bending or hard strumming, then this is something you probably want to address. The best tuning solution would be to get a set of nut files and back-file the slots, then polish them and use a string lubricant. Back-filing means filing the slots in a rounded shape so the strings only rest on the front edge of the nut. Polishing the plain string slots can be done with sandpaper, but a better method is with dental floss dipped in fine valve grinding compound. A good way to polish the wound string slots is with a piece of the right gauge string Super-glued to a short wooden dowel. It is helpful to file the slots so they get slightly wider on the side of the nut that faces the tuning machines. This allows each string to fan out toward its tuner with less chance of binding in the slot.

This is a job that calls for a light touch, lots of patience, and the right tools. If you'd like to fine-tune your own nut slots, I recommend the book, How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great, by Dan Erlewine. This is available from stewmac.com. Best wishes and good luck!
 
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rfrizz

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It’s humidity/temperature, changing conditions, causing the strings to go sharp. Happens all the time on cheap guitars and expensive ones as well. If it was just one or two strings constantly going out while playing, that’s much more likely a nut issue.

Let the guitar settle in to the specific conditions in your house. It generally will even itself out.
I was not clear with my writing. I edited and added this:
If I tune the guitar and play it for 10-15 minutes, the strings often will go out of tune.
 

monstruo_loco

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Question; all strings or only a few go out of tune; & if so, which ones? Suggestions on what to do already mentioned either address one or the other.
 

Michael Matyas

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Keeping a guitar in tune while playing, especially with heavy bending or whammy bar use, is a complicated process. Quality nut material can help, but only if slots are properly filed and polished. As I said before, slots must be ramped downwards in a carefully filed curve from the front of the nut towards the peghead face. A flat slot, or one with a sharp front edge and a steep downward angle, just will not get the job done, especially on guitars with an angled peghead. Another thing that the player or setup person must do is install strings properly and lubricate the nut slots. Les Pauls were originally designed in the early 1950s when the majority of players were using nickel or flatwound strings gauged 12-54 or heavier, and there wasn't a lot of string bending going on. The Les Paul peghead designed has changed little since that time, but string gauges and playing styles have changed a lot. In order to keep up with the times, a serious player has to either find a topnotch guitar tech to do setups, or to do the work him or herself. Lead guitarists who do a lot of bending and vibrato action will face a greater challenge than rhythm players who use heavier strings and don't bend very much. Whole books have been written just dealing with setting up guitars.

A word to the OP: I am sure, that you, like most of the members of MLP, are a dedicated and serious musician who spends a lot of time and effort to develop your playing technique and style. You know that if something is worth doing it is not easy. The same thing goes for adjusting and maintaining a stringed musical instrument. So I am confident that you will try to learn as much about this as you can, even if you choose to have a guitar tech do the work for you. I have found that some brands/types of strings stay in tune better than others. Two of the best I've found for staying in tune are D'Addario NYXLs and SIT (Stay In Tune) brand Silencers. For decades I have been an Ernie Ball guy but I think from now on I'm going with the SITs. They are a little stiffer than regular $5 strings, but I can still bend them and they don't cost that much more. If you'd like to try either of these strings and you can't find them locally, they are available from juststrings.com and stringsbymail.com.

I apologize for the length of this post, but this is what I have learned over five decades of playing and working on all kinds of guitars. I am still learning, and I know I still have a lot to learn. I wish you all the best in getting your guitar to play great and stay in tune. The book I cited in my previous post is a fantastic place to begin your journey. Good luck and stay safe!
 
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rfrizz

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Keeping a guitar in tune while playing, especially with heavy bending or whammy bar use, is a complicated process. Quality nut material can help, but only if slots are properly filed and polished. As I said before, slots must be ramped downwards in a carefully filed curve from the front of the nut towards the peghead face. A flat slot, or one with a sharp front edge and a steep downward angle, just will not get the job done, especially on guitars with an angled peghead. Another thing that the player or setup person must do is install strings properly and lubricate the nut slots. Les Pauls were originally designed in the early 1950s when the majority of players were using nickel or flatwound strings gauged 12-54 or heavier, and there wasn't a lot of string bending going on. The Les Paul peghead designed has changed little since that time, but string gauges and playing styles have changed a lot. In order to keep up with the times, a serious player has to either find a topnotch guitar tech to do setups, or to do the work him or herself. Lead guitarists who do a lot of bending and vibrato action will face a greater challenge than rhythm players who use heavier strings and don't bend very much. Whole books have been written just dealing with setting up guitars.

A word to the OP: I am sure, that you, like most of the members of MLP, are a dedicated and serious musician who spends a lot of time and effort to develop your playing technique and style. You know that if something is worth doing it is not easy. The same thing goes for adjusting and maintaining a stringed musical instrument. So I am confident that you will try to learn as much about this as you can, even if you choose to have a guitar tech do the work for you. I have found that some brands/types of strings stay in tune better than others. Two of the best I've found for staying in tune are D'Addario NYXLs and SIT (Stay In Tune) brand Silencers. For decades I have been an Ernie Ball guy but I think from now on I'm going with the SITs. They are a little stiffer than regular $5 strings, but I can still bend them and they don't cost that much more. If you'd like to try either of these strings and you can't find them locally, they are available from juststrings.com and stringsbymail.com.

I apologize for the length of this post, but this is what I have learned over five decades of playing and working on all kinds of guitars. I am still learning, and I know I still have a lot to learn. I wish you all the best in getting your guitar to play great and stay in tune. The book I cited in my previous post is a fantastic place to begin your journey. Good luck and stay safe!
Thank you! And no apology needed. I am going to get a multi-X, lighted jeweler's loupe to look at the shape of the slots. I understand that they should curve down moving toward the peghead, and the curve should roughly follow a parabola.
 

emoney

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Everyone that owns a guitar should also own a set of nut files. Doesn't have to be an expensive, pro-set, but if you're comfortable changing strings, then you'll do fine with the files. I take a couple soft passes through each slot with the appropriate file every time I change strings. Keeps the gunk out.
 

rfrizz

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Everyone that owns a guitar should also own a set of nut files. Doesn't have to be an expensive, pro-set, but if you're comfortable changing strings, then you'll do fine with the files. I take a couple soft passes through each slot with the appropriate file every time I change strings. Keeps the gunk out.
I personally would not be comfortable rubbing anything abrasive in a slot at every string change because of excess wear. I think a thin strip of cloth should be enough. For big-time, stubborn gunk, there are appropriate solvents.

If I used a solvent, I would use painter's tape and plastic wrap to protect the headstock and fretboard. Unless the solvent will 100% evaporate, I would wipe dry, wipe with a wet, and then again wipe dry. And then, for the sake of anal retentiveness/OCD, repeat the final step.
 


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