So... Tuning issues...

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by jakjar123, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. jakjar123

    jakjar123 Electromatic

    Feb 14, 2021
    So I got the Electromatic G5420T last week, great guitar, loving it and boom... Everything keeps going out of tune, once tuned won't stay there for longer than 5 minutes. Then annoying harmonics start coming out of the bridge which the amp picks up... The shop says it shouldn't be happening and they will take a look at it, got a phone call nothing can be done... only thing to do is lubricate the nut and the saddle and that will minimise the issues then, tie something around the strings past the bridge to get rid of the noise.
    Any thoughts on this? I'm very 50/50 about it, the shop is offering a refund or a free setup and I'm just gonna have to learn to put up with those issues and try to minimise them.
    Back in Black likes this.
  2. Londoner

    Londoner Gretschie

    Dec 18, 2020
    Regarding the harmonics, could be wolf tones coming from the strings behind the bridge.
    I found these rubber grommets stopped it.
    jakjar123 likes this.
  3. jakjar123

    jakjar123 Electromatic

    Feb 14, 2021
    Yeah, it's what the guy suggested, but I think it would bother me that I need to jam something between the strings to make it sound good. I'm so torn right now. Love the sound, but I don't love the tuning instability or changing the strings with a bigsby. So... keep the guitar and put up with it or get a Martin instead :/
  4. Cdb1961

    Cdb1961 Gretschie

    May 5, 2018
    Orange Park, Fl
    Nut issues gave me the same tuning issues. Fixed mine with a Zero Fret and a roller bridge. Tuning is very stable even when working the Bigsby. Never had the harmonic issue though.
    jakjar123 likes this.
  5. jakjar123

    jakjar123 Electromatic

    Feb 14, 2021
    Huh. The guy at the workshop told me his Gretches have the same issue so getting a different one won't fix it. How much did the zero fret cost?
  6. Cdb1961

    Cdb1961 Gretschie

    May 5, 2018
    Orange Park, Fl
    All I can say is it fixed my 5420... and I like tone sound difference too
  7. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Sympathetic resonances have nothing to do with tuning issues. Yes lube the nut, install some rubber grommets and enjoy your guitar.
  8. Back in Black

    Back in Black Synchromatic

    Jun 22, 2020
    Ontario Canada

    We had a similar discussion a week ago, and as the G5420T has a wood base bridge, changing the bridge from the static Tune-O-Matic bridge to a dynamic bridge such as a Gretsch Space Control bridge, is quick and easy, and will solve your problem.

    Your static bridge is causing drag and de-tuning whenever the Bigsby is activated.

    Contact Angela Instruments (Gretsch parts), always in stock.

    Best, good luck, and don't despair, this issue can be fixed. the G5420T, is a great model!


    Space Contol - Gold.jpg
    Shock likes this.
  9. Bertotti

    Bertotti Friend of Fred

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I think you have been told a lot of BS. There is no reason at all the Gretsch can’t maintain solid tuning even with use of the Bigsby. The Wolf tones however happen. I keep leather behind most of my bridges guitar and mandolin. It just a sympathetic resonance between the guitar and the strings. Now there are resonances that can be caused by other things. Just based on what you have been told I would return that guitar for a full refund and find a more credible store that can set it up right or keep it and find a luthier with the needed skills to sort it out.

    One other point, depending on your location kit is winter where O am just taking my guitar out of the case and leaving it for a day can cause tuning issues because of the humidity and temp changes. That all settles down once the instrument is equilibrated tot eh environment and doesn’t happen after just ten minutes. I do not want mine to equilibrate because it is severely dry. So I keep it in a humidified case at room temp and take it out to play then play as long as I want and put it back in the case when done.
  10. Highroller

    Highroller Synchromatic

    Jun 11, 2015
    Portland, OR
    Along the same lines as switching to a Space Control bridge (which acts as a defacto roller bridge), you can probably switch to a tune-o-matic derived roller bridge, which allows you to keep the individual saddle adjustment option that makes tune-o-matics so popular.

    Just be careful about your post spacing, Gretsches aren't Gibsons - they're not the same size.

    I've never owned a tremolo outfitted guitar that hasn't benefited from adding a roller bridge, and I currently own six, with Bigsbys, Les Trems and most recently a Maestro Vibrola.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  11. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Wolf tones must be dampened somehow. Grommets, piece of leather, etc. It is what it is and that's how it's fixed.

    Stringing a Bigsby isn't rocket science. It's way easier than a Floyd. Get a Bigsfix. If that's too tough, get a hardtail.

    Tuning issues are 95% due to the nut.
    capnhiho and Scott like this.
  12. Mark 6120

    Mark 6120 Electromatic

    Nov 5, 2020
    Piling on here: my 6120 goes out of tune just be sitting there, where the Tennessean, my strats and especially my bass stay (mostly) in tune from day to day. Is this really just a nut problem?
  13. cosmicCowboy

    cosmicCowboy Electromatic

    Feb 11, 2021
    Texas hill country
    Don’t laugh...

    Locking nut..

    Boom fixed
  14. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    I have 4 Gretsch prolines and a 5120, all with Bigsbys.
    None of them go out of tune since I recut the nuts (ouch) and installed bar bridges.
    I don't get wolf tones ( or don't notice them) so dampening the strings behind the Bigsby isnt something I worry about ...
    Bertotti likes this.
  15. Johno99

    Johno99 Electromatic

    Feb 24, 2017
    Haslemere, UK
    Fixed my G5445T double jet. Had a zero fret fitted and the nut slots eased. With a zero fret the nutslots are no more than guides. Changed up to 11 strings. Also passed the strings over the tension bar on the bigsby. I've had no problem with the strings jumping the bridge slots and the beast stays in tune all day long.
    Gregor likes this.
  16. AllenK

    AllenK Gretschie

    One of the reasons I bought my original 5622 was because it stayed in tune better than the 5420 and 5422 it was up against at the time of buying and two other 5420's I'd tried prior to that. Since then, however, I've played another 5420 that stayed in tune really nicely and was the best of the 5420's I've played. Should have bought it really as it was on clearance at the time at £599. If you otherwise like the 5420 and are being offered a refund, you might want to try a few others, either in direct exchange or from another dealer, as there seems to be some sample variation in the model.

    A better bridge, either the Compton or Tru-Arc bar bridges or an ABM Roller, should also help.
  17. Trash Kidd

    Trash Kidd Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2015
    London U.K.
    Sorry to hear you’re having tuning problems with your 5420..
    I’ve had four 5420s over the last few years. got my latest one last week.
    Never had tuning problems with any of them & I’m a hardcore Bigsby user!
    Having a good set up will help, check the nut... might need some filing..
    I’d recommend using nothing lower than 11s string wise.
    Get a good lube such as Big Bends Nut sauce or similar. Lube the nut & bridge saddles every string change, stretch strings well & you should be good to go...
    Best of luck..
    calebaaron666 likes this.
  18. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    I have a cheap set of needle files and used the round pointed one to knock the sharp edges off the bridge saddles.

    Some people try to make this out to be much more complicated than it is. If the string doesn't catch on anything, and the tremolo is free to return to the same spot every time, and the wraps on the tuners don't move it will stay in tune.

    I wish someone made a string damper that looked good and didn't stand out.
    I might try just winding some thin wire between all the strings. Or maybe some thin black braided fishing line, yeah that might work!
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.