tuning issues

rightintheface

Senior member
Messages
326
i'm still kinda new to this, and learning in bits and pieces (as ya do). just thought i'd ask, how much does your nut effect tuning stability? my LTD explorer stays in tune forever with just a plastic nut that hasn't been modified, however my epiphone sg goes out of tune pretty easy. it has grover rotomatic machine heads and also a plastic nut. could the nut be the root of the problem? i've ruled out strings, i change farily regularly, stretch them pretty well. and my explorer is fine. any suggestions?
 

Funky Phil

Senior member
Messages
324
The nut material is important (low friction is good), but the slots are more important.

They should be wide enough for the strings to move easily when tuning. If they are too tight, tuning will be a pain.

Also they should be the correct height. Just enough clearance over the 1st fret so there is bo buzz.
If they are too high, the 1st fret (and, to a lesser extent, the lower frets in general) will play sharp.

Also, the slots should be shaped so that the string leaves the nut at the edge closer to the 1st fret.
The slots should slope gently downward towards the tuners.

Cutting a nut properly takes time, and it's best to be slow and careful...and to use the correct files.
 

fourdogslong

Active member
Messages
73
I got a neck with a pre-cut nut from warmoth and I'm having tuning issues. I am using waverly tuners so I doubt that's the problem, unless I messed up the installation but I don't see how I could've done that, maybe some of the tuners aren't centered at 100% with the bushsing but I doubt that could cause problem.

So I suspect the nut. It's a white tusq nut cut by warmoth, I put graphite in it and it helped a little but it's still not perfect, the bridge is a tonepro TOM if that matters.
Sometimes when I am tuning the guitar I feel like some tuners don't tune the string evenly, I mean that sometimes I'll have to turn the tuner a lot before the pitch change and sometimes it's the opposite.
I doubt the tuners are that crappy with such a good reputation.

So tell me, how can I correctly enlarge the nut slot? Do I really need to buy 6 different nut file or is there an easier and less expansive solution? I don't want to bring it to a luthier, it's my project and I want to get it done.
Thanks
 

iamdavidmorris

Senior member
Messages
132
fourdogslong said:
I got a neck with a pre-cut nut from warmoth and I'm having tuning issues. I am using waverly tuners so I doubt that's the problem, unless I messed up the installation but I don't see how I could've done that, maybe some of the tuners aren't centered at 100% with the bushsing but I doubt that could cause problem.

So I suspect the nut. It's a white tusq nut cut by warmoth, I put graphite in it and it helped a little but it's still not perfect, the bridge is a tonepro TOM if that matters.
Sometimes when I am tuning the guitar I feel like some tuners don't tune the string evenly, I mean that sometimes I'll have to turn the tuner a lot before the pitch change and sometimes it's the opposite.
I doubt the tuners are that crappy with such a good reputation.

So tell me, how can I correctly enlarge the nut slot? Do I really need to buy 6 different nut file or is there an easier and less expansive solution? I don't want to bring it to a luthier, it's my project and I want to get it done.
Thanks

There's a good chance that nut isn't set up for the gauge of strings you're using.  You could buy some nut files, but they're expensive.  There are alternatives, but the cheapest I know of is a set of old guitar strings.  I've heard that if you drag an old guitar string through the corresponding nut slot over and over, it can do the same job as a nut file.
 
1

10maxpower01

Guest
I recently found this series of videos explaining how to set up a strat with a tremolo. He goes into great depth and here he explains how to set up the nut
(He's Italian, so watch out for the accent)
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daAsLkXND7A&annotation_id=annotation_777683&feature=iv[/youtube]
 

Steve_Karl

Senior member
Messages
1,618
Are the tuners on the problem guitar able to be tightened with a screw in the middle of the knob?
If so make sure they're not too loose.

I bought a set Schaller mini locking for my last build and one of the tuners was loose and causing problems for the tuning of that one string.
It didn't feel loose, when turning the knob, it felt exactly the same as all the others, but it was loose inside, and enough to cause problems.


 

AutoBat

Senior member
Messages
3,589
I'd focus on the nut first, as hardtail rules out a goofy trem, and tuning machines are rarely the issue, even on cheap ones.
you may want to outsource this to a guitar tech if you aren't comfortable doing nut work.

what gauge strings do you use?
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
tuning issues are basically always the nut unless you've got a wonky floating trem or an unstable neck joint. Make sure it's not those two, then fix your nut.
 

fourdogslong

Active member
Messages
73
AutoBat said:
I'd focus on the nut first, as hardtail rules out a goofy trem, and tuning machines are rarely the issue, even on cheap ones.
you may want to outsource this to a guitar tech if you aren't comfortable doing nut work.

what gauge strings do you use?

Right now it's just a set of Daddario EXL110 regular light, the standard stuff but I might want to use a bigger gauge next time so if the nut slots are already too small that's something I need to fix.
 

fourdogslong

Active member
Messages
73
iamdavidmorris said:
There's a good chance that nut isn't set up for the gauge of strings you're using.  You could buy some nut files, but they're expensive.  There are alternatives, but the cheapest I know of is a set of old guitar strings.  I've heard that if you drag an old guitar string through the corresponding nut slot over and over, it can do the same job as a nut file.

I'll try that, anybody tried that trick already?
thanks
 

fourdogslong

Active member
Messages
73
Steve_Karl said:
Are the tuners on the problem guitar able to be tightened with a screw in the middle of the knob?
If so make sure they're not too loose.

I bought a set Schaller mini locking for my last build and one of the tuners was loose and causing problems for the tuning of that one string.
It didn't feel loose, when turning the knob, it felt exactly the same as all the others, but it was loose inside, and enough to cause problems.

My tuners are waverly open tuners, often used on acoustic guitars, those one:
 

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