Annoying tuning problems

Discussion in 'Technical Side of Things' started by Stefan, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. EarleG

    EarleG Electromatic

    39
    Dec 19, 2013
    Hendersonville TN
    Along with the recommendations, etc., check the truss rod adjustment to make sure the adjusting nut is not loose.
     
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  2. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    Thanks again flr all the input!
    The dam nut was the problem. Swapped for a Tusq XL and now everything’s fine!
    07745236-7966-4FE3-8413-65632B4B1DFA.jpeg

    Interesting thing:
    The Tusq nut even sounds much better- more clarity, more loudness, more overtones and more sustain compared to the bone nut!
     
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  3. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    73
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Glad you got it sorted out, Stefan. Who cut the nut slots for you?
     
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  4. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    Thanks audept!
    Graphtech did the job ;)
    The slots are perfect for my usual 10‘s!
     
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  5. DennisC

    DennisC Country Gent

    Age:
    38
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Yeah, their slots are pretty well. Often, you don't need to do anything about them, and never is there much to do. Graphtech, it seems to me, offers not only the best material here, but also a well-designed product that cannot be recommended high enough - I wouldn't wanna use anything else. It appears to me to be a harder material than bone, therefore transfering vibration with less loss, therefore supporting twang and sustain.

    ... but ... but, there's always a but(t) - the slots seem pretty deep to me. When the 5420 and I were growing into each other, I learned to prepare nuts, and the key thing that made her stay in tune well enough for me was sanding off a lot of the top, so the strings are only halfway + a little bit in it.

    The nut I got refunded and banned from the shop for was ... as deep as possible, I wonder why the strings didn't have a tombstone each next to them, as they were deep enough to justify one for sure - nothing sanded off, slots cut as deep as needed to have the strings at the right height above fretboard ... usually, you do this by sanding off the bottom until the lowest string's slot meets the desired elevation, and then, only then, do anything relevantly lowering the slot bottom in the other slots themselves.

    I found that, using Elixir strings (the green ones - the orange and blue ones sound a bit dull compared to uncoated, but the coating they use in these is a different, thinner, one), I need to do a few strokes in every slot, but that may depend on slight variations in their actual gauge compared to the namesake gauge - a 10 is a 10, but a 9.95 will not be refered to as anything else than a 10.2, therefore I guess that's where the rabbit lies in the pepper.

    Anyway, great that she works fine now - she deserves so!
     
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  6. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    It‘s not the final nut, I‘ve ordered the aged version. Maybe I sand the slots on that nut a bit to achieve the ideal height. Anyway- it‘s like a new guitar. Intonation is spot on, tuning issues are gone and it sounds so much better. A dream guitar.
    22729BC4-090D-45A6-9328-ED7758C722E0.jpeg
    Tusq is the best nut material to my ears, I‘m using their nuts in my Telebuilds since years. Simply perfect and stressless.
     
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  7. Gregor

    Gregor Synchromatic

    909
    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    So glad it worked out for you Stefan. We nutheads finally got it right. Congrats.
     
    Stefan likes this.
  8. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    Dang - I was beginning to think we'd never solve that one! Good for you.
     
    Stefan likes this.
  9. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    It seems a common problem on stock nuts. Strings are absolutely buried, and tone is choked.
    Sand the nut down and it’s like setting the tone free. I’ve had instances where I thought I put on a new set of strings.
     
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  10. Ricochet

    Ricochet Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Not all bone is created equal, but Tusq is…

    Unbleached bone seems stronger than the pretty white bleached variety to me.
     
  11. DennisC

    DennisC Country Gent

    Age:
    38
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    That's true, but the stock nut, I effed up myself. I decided then that I'd learn it later and just wanted a guitar with a nut not restricting me - if I hear the deviance, either after bending or bigsing, it's not in the tolerable range anymore.

    The string-burying nut I refered to was what a truly well reputed, nearby luthier came up with. I guess somewhere between having a bad day and checking stuff before returning to customer, it must have gotten lost or so.
     
  12. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    Meanwhile I‘m sure the quality of the nut is definitely most important.
     
  13. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Gretschie

    295
    Jan 11, 2019
    Wokingham
    I've got guitars with plastic, tusq and bone nuts. What I found was important was cutting the slots properly (flared towards the tuners, small contact area and the top sanded so that the strings aren't buried), so you don't need to use any 'nut sauce'. My G5622T and my Jaguar still have the factory plastic nuts, but I've cut them properly and sanded down the tops too.

    They all play great and stay in tune. I don't buy the nut material affecting the tone though; most of the time you're fretting a note higher up, so it's only open strings where the 'sound' of the nut could make a difference IMHO.

    I've fitted bone nuts to some of my guitar projects that didn't include a nut (and one that I messed up when I first got my nut files and cut my LP nut too deep :oops:). I don't think they 'sound' any better, just that it was as easy to order them as it was to work out which Tusq part I needed and may have been cheaper (since I figured I'd need spares for my mistakes!).

    I recently had my old Epiphone LP refretted and my Luthier put a new bone nut on it (because the previous refret job was such a hack job). I mentioned that I'd given the first guy a Tusq nut which he had kept (and made an awful job of cutting a bone one). My Luthier said that he finds they wear quicker than the (non bleached) bone ones he uses, so I didn't feel too bad about it in the end. Easier to fit for the DIY crowd though, so it's a moot point if you need to change it more often.
     
  14. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    The tonal benefits affects of course just the open strings. Dunno if Tusq wears quicker- the nut on my Thinline is 2 or 3 years old and that guitar is played a lot (first fret recrowning a few weeks ago), no signs of wear.
     
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  15. stevo

    stevo Friend of Fred

    May 1, 2012
    Atlanta
    That's a very common issue across most guitars. My Taylor nuts are dead perfect. My Gretsch, Fender and Guild - not so much. Too deep, slot slopes were shaped poorly.
     
    Ricochet likes this.
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