Help me get used to my new 5422 (technique, tuning, etc.)...

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by EssEll, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. EssEll

    EssEll Electromatic

    47
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    Got my new 5422 a few weeks ago and am mostly loving it so far, but one issue I'm having is with refining my tuning and playing technique -- mostly finger pressure, I guess. I've played guitar for decades but in playing this baby a lot so far at home, I'm noticing what I thought were out-of-tune issues, even after dialing-in pretty much perfect open tuning. But then I play some cowboy chords and some more stuff up the neck, and I find myself tweaking the tuning a lot. Not using the Bigsby in this scenario, and not bending single notes. Tuning with a slight touch sharper or flatter here and there, and get it sounding good, and then I find that I'm out of tune with strings open, or on other chords. That all leaves me to realize (I think) that this guitar is really sensitive to finger pressure, and than a micro increase in pressure on any given finger on any given fret results in a sharp note and a sour-sounding chord. And I find that paying more attention to a lighter pressure can help, but it's difficult to completely alleviate. I realize that I'm probably more of an aggressive strummer and heavy-handed fretter, using more fretting pressure than I maybe need, but on other guitars it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue.

    Is this making sense? Anyone had similar experiences? Similar remedies? Other remedies? Thanks in advance...
     
  2. GlenP

    GlenP Gretschie

    277
    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    Yes, I have noticed similar tendencies with those jumbo frets. Hard to adjust your technique if you are an acoustic player and have developed a Vulcan death grip habit.

    Don’t even try using a capo.

    Not sure if the action might be a little high, but sounds like you just are just bending the strings sharp when you fret too hard, action might not be a factor. Maybe try fretting closer to the fret itself instead of behind it?
     
    EssEll likes this.
  3. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Congratulations on your beautiful new guitar! Let's see some pics.

    As for your tuning issues, the first thing I'd check is the nut. You'll have problems if the nut is too high or if the strings are binding in the nut slots. If you're not experienced with nut work, a quick trip to the luthier is in order.

    One other thought: have you checked the intonation? If the strings are in tune when they're open, but sharp or flat at the 12th fret, then you'll need to adjust the saddles at the bridge. (I'm assuming you already know this as an experienced guitarist, but I'm throwing it out there just in case.)
     
    LongJohn and GlenP like this.
  4. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Oh, one more question: which string gauge are you using on your 5422? If it's just a matter of using too much pressure, thicker strings should help.
     
    Merc likes this.
  5. GlenP

    GlenP Gretschie

    277
    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    Probably lot of good guitar techs in town, but if you want to get the best possible set up and a PLEK fret dressing on any of your guitars, head over to Mike Lull’s shop on the Eastside.
     
  6. radd

    radd Country Gent

    Dec 27, 2017
    Santa cruz
    I’m sure it has about the same neck as my 5420. Mine has none of those issues. But, The first thing I do with a new guitar is set it up to my specs. My guess is yours needs a set up, relief, string height and nut grooming. I also always immediately change strings to the ones I prefer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
    section2 likes this.
  7. EssEll

    EssEll Electromatic

    47
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    Yes, the intonation seems to be very good, actually.
     
    section2 likes this.
  8. EssEll

    EssEll Electromatic

    47
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    I had that thought too. It has stock strings on it -- I think they're 10s and they do seem a little light....
     
    section2 likes this.
  9. EssEll

    EssEll Electromatic

    47
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    You got that right. Been there before and that's the only place I'd go!
     
    GlenP and section2 like this.
  10. EssEll

    EssEll Electromatic

    47
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    You got it!

    G5422T.jpg
     
    Merc, RussB, audept and 1 other person like this.
  11. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    Definitely check the nut. Probably the slots aren‘t deep enough. A bit of graphite may also be helpful.
    Anyway, that‘s a fine looking guitar!
     
    section2 and EssEll like this.
  12. GOOBALL JEFF

    GOOBALL JEFF Gretschie

    139
    Oct 1, 2019
    london
    after building two guitars recently I have come to the conclusion that the nut is one of if not the most important thing to get right.
     
    wabash slim, G5422T, audept and 3 others like this.
  13. rbpicker

    rbpicker Electromatic

    45
    Nov 5, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Id say your intonation is off. Very critical to playing in tune all over the neck. Yes, and dress the nut slots, strings locked around tuner posts with minimum of wraps, polish and apply graphite on the bridge saddles... a lot of sensitive areas on these with all the moving parts.
    Once you get it dialed in...Oooh la la.
     
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  14. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Toronto
    Yep, I'm pretty sure the stock strings are 10s. I'm happy with 10s on my 5620, but that's what I'm used to. Try heavier strings along with a good setup and nut dress, and your 5422 should be singing.
     
    EssEll likes this.
  15. BrianW

    BrianW Synchromatic

    681
    Oct 21, 2014
    Vancouver Island
    My first thought reading your post was to check the action... and the neck relief. Overly high strings plus too much neck bow will give out of tune in different places on the neck (have to press the strings further down to make them "fret").
    As has also been suggested, the nut could need work... I am no expert, but my 5422 takes very little pressure to fret and is in tune all the way up the neck.

    And yes, jumbo frets will sharpen a note if pressed too hard
     
    section2 and EssEll like this.
  16. EssEll

    EssEll Electromatic

    47
    Oct 11, 2019
    Seattle area
    The set-up from Sweetwater seemed pretty good overall (and probably was, for what they can really do) and I did tweak the action just a bit -- it plays great (except for that tuning thing! -- although I still think my technique is a contributor to the problem) -- but I will be taking it into Mike Lull Guitar Works on Saturday -- just spoke to them and they said they've never seen a new Gretsch that didn't benefit from a good thorough set-up. Should be done within 4-5 days. Looking forward to getting it back in ship shape -- its a pleasure and inspiration to play!
     
    Wjensen, section2 and GlenP like this.
  17. GlenP

    GlenP Gretschie

    277
    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    I got my 12 string in July and have been playing with the factory strings. I was planning to take mine to Mike Lull when these strings wear out, and it has sufficiently acclimated to the local humidity by now so the neck should be stable enough. The issues are a similar on the 12 string, but the octave strings bend differently, they tend to get sharper than their paired string. I think the intonation is close, but my 12th fret action is a tad high. I have been getting used to it, but am planning to do like you and have Mike Lull set it up. He has worked wonders in my acoustic 6 and 12 strings and my Telecaster. I hope he is able to get yours working the way you like it.
     
    EssEll likes this.
  18. Gregor

    Gregor Gretschie

    248
    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I have the exact same thing happening on my 5220. It has medium jumbo frets which are a bit larger than what I'm used to, although I like them ok and thought I might be using too much fretting pressure but when experimenting with pressure and finger position almost directly on the fret, it still plays sharp in anything other than open strings. So I have been compensating by tuning the open strings a tad flat which I know is not ideal but it's better than it was. By the way, the intonation is spot on with the harmonic at the 12th fret so that's not the problem. By the responses here it may be related to the nut although I don't perceive that to be the issue with no binding problems. I'm interested to hear what Mike has to say. Please keep us informed.
    A swell looking guitar you have there and I'm sure it is (or soon will be) a pleasure to play.
     
    EssEll likes this.
  19. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    People here often report tuning issues with new guitars they have bought that never got a good pro set-up.

    There should not be any tuning issues and your technique should have no impact. Your guitar most likely is not set up correctly.

    1st thing to look at with any tuning issue are the nut slots. If there's any tiny notches there it will pull strings out of tune. Truss rod, bridge, action, bigsby may also need adjustment.

    I suggest you take it to a good guitar tech, spend $50 and get a full pro set-up. Get all these issues fixed and there'll be no prob's.

    I bought my 5422 from StreetSounds and they do pro set-up before they ship any guitar. So out of the box I had zero tuning issues and bigbsy worked perfect.

    Later I put in a bone nut and made sure the slots were cut perfect.
    Again no issues ever with my 5422 :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
    MyGirlGretta and EssEll like this.
  20. RussB

    RussB Electromatic

    80
    Sep 20, 2019
    CT
    Set up...

    Truss rod adjustment/neck relief
    Nut slot height.
    I run 11's on my Bigsby guitars
     
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