G5422-TG Tuning Stability

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by Big Texun, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Big Texun

    Big Texun Electromatic

    12
    Dec 6, 2018
    Atlanta
    Hi Folks,

    I’ve been playing a G5422-TG almost exclusively since I got it about a year ago. This playing time has resulted in the benching of my previous go to guitars; a 1989 American strat and a ‘14 Fender select thinline tele. Why? The tone. The people I play for just respond to the Gretsch’s tone and sorta groan when I show up with the higher end Strat or Tele. In fact, I have recently gone all in... by selling the Fenders and ordering a brand new White Falcon - 59.

    Anyway, the 5422 has awesome tone and it plays pretty well... the biggest problem is that I constantly fight keeping that sucker in tune. Not major but, it just drifts. When the new Falcon arrives, I’m planning to do surgery on the G5422 to try to resolve this issue because I still want to play this guitar. Locking tuners? Bone nut? What say you? (PS: it isn’t the “licensed Bigsby because I never use it.) What’s the most likely culprit?

    (NOTE: I’m not bashing the 5422... quite the opposite. The tone is killer for such an inexpensive guitar and, if I’m being honest, I like the look of it better than the “real” Falcon that cost 3 times as much because I think all the gold flake stuff looks a lil’ too gaudy.)

    Thanks for your suggestions!
     

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  2. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Country Gent

    Age:
    50
    Dec 19, 2011
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    First suspect for tuning issues is the nut. Binding in the nut slots is pretty common issue so either get the nut looked at or even replaced. It needs to be set up properly so either practice and learn how to do it yourself or take it to a luthier. I ruined quite a few nuts before I got the hang of it.
    A bit of graphite or some type of string lube in the slots certainly won't hurt.
    Next culprit could be too many winds on the peg posts. Use a string lock method with minimal turns on the peg post to reduce stretch and binding or get locking tuners. Either will help.
    Look for catch points and burrs on the bridge slots. Lightly sand them out with a piece of high grit sand paper and lube with graphite or string lube of choice.
    If you still have problems after that it gets more difficult to find the source but these will often resolve most if not all the tuning issues.

    Edit:Just read you never use the bigsby. If you absolutely never use it I might consider pulling the spring and replace it with a piece of metal pipe, same diameter as the spring, cut to length to hold it under string pressure. That way the bigsby won't float and gives you a more stable string anchor.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
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  3. section2

    section2 Synchromatic

    517
    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Welcome! I was going to chime in with some advice, but Tinman said it all. My only other suggestion would be to consider replacing the Bigsby with another tailpiece if you really never use it... but only because you could probably sell the Bigsby for more than you'd pay for the replacement tailpiece. Even if you were to use the Bigsby heavily, it shouldn't give you tuning problems if you've taken care of the other issues that Tinman mentioned.
     
  4. Big Texun

    Big Texun Electromatic

    12
    Dec 6, 2018
    Atlanta
    I’ve had it addressed two times by a really good setup guy. Make no mistake, it is a whole lot better than it was... but, I can’t get through 2 songs without have to retune. I know he worked on the nut a good bit both times and some of the other stuff you mentioned... but, it just isn’t nearly as stable (tuning wise) as it should be.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  5. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Even when you don't use the Bigsby, string bending will 'work' the mechanism so you still get the movement through the nut and across the bridge.
    Perhaps switching out the trem for a tailpiece would help?
     
  6. Big Texun

    Big Texun Electromatic

    12
    Dec 6, 2018
    Atlanta
    That’s the weird thing... the genre of music I am playing right now simply doesn’t require any aggressive string bends or even heavy picking. If I was slaying on the guitar, I’d expect some movement but?
     
  7. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    I guess I wouldn't expect a "Big Texan" to have a light touch :D
     
  8. Rusty Silver

    Rusty Silver Gretschie

    Age:
    47
    191
    Jun 25, 2017
    Italy (Rome and Genoa)
    I play my 5422 every day since one year... I can't say she always stays in tune, because I quite often have to do small adjustments to keep her in tune, but not too often (I mean once every 3 or 4 songs, and I bend a lot...) anyway I use 0.11 0.49 strings with wound G.
     
  9. Big Texun

    Big Texun Electromatic

    12
    Dec 6, 2018
    Atlanta
    I don’t always.... its just the genre. Take a look at the pics and see if you can guess. ? :)
     

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  10. Big Texun

    Big Texun Electromatic

    12
    Dec 6, 2018
    Atlanta
    That’s a good thought... heavier strings might help!!!! I think I’m playing .09 0.48s (not sure on the 48s, certain on the 9s).
     
  11. Tinman46

    Tinman46 Country Gent

    Age:
    50
    Dec 19, 2011
    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
    In my experience Gretsch hollow bodies with bigsby like heavier strings. Not sure if it's because it balances the string tension against the bigsby spring better or what. I have 11's on mine and I don't find it any harder than my Tele with 10's.
     
  12. Big Texun

    Big Texun Electromatic

    12
    Dec 6, 2018
    Atlanta
    Next time I restring it, I’ll try that. Might also make a difference at the nut...
     
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  13. Geezer1950

    Geezer1950 Electromatic

    6
    Nov 20, 2018
    WA
    I have the same model guitar which also came with 11s on it. I went to 10x46 Labella Roller wounds and have had no serious tuning issues. Going from 11s to 9s -even hybrids like the 9x46 is a bigger change than I would make, especially with a Bigsby on board. You might need to visit your setup guy again if he did much nut modification to improve the stability with the 9s.........the 11s might not be at all happy now if you decide to go back to the stock gauge strings.
     
  14. snakestretcher

    snakestretcher Gretschie

    Age:
    66
    111
    Sep 7, 2009
    England
    All good points regarding lubrication and likely areas for string hang-ups. If all else has been investigated could it be that you aren't 'stretching' fresh strings sufficiently? I use 9-42 Elixirs on my 5435TG with no major tuning stability problems. I play mostly Blues and bend notes a lot, and coming from playing Gibson short scales with light strings I have got used to checking tuning after each song. It's also worth bearing in mind that rapid changes in ambient temperature will affect tuning.