Tuning stability help needed (hockey stick headstock, Hipshot tremolo)

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
OK, something very interesting happened. As suggested by some, i raised the retainer bar (see picture) and played the guitar so hard for about half an hour that even a perfect strat would go out of tune. But it stayed in tune just fine - so that little tweak worked wonders.

BUT after half an hour of 0 problems, the high E string jumped out of the nut and ever since it just refuses to stay in as soon as I hit the string just a bit stronger. So now I got really solid tuning stability but a jumping High-E string. Any ideas how to solve the new problem? :)
 

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beltjones

Active member
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64
When you use the tremolo, what does it feel like? Does it feel like it's slipping a little bit before it engages and the pitch of the strings goes down?

I have a hunch that your decked tremolo would benefit from raising the high-e side post a tiny amount, not the the point of un-decking the trem, but to the point that the two little spikes in the body of the trem aren't able to slide down the post as you work the tremolo.
 

gingataff

Active member
Messages
71
alexreinhold said:
OK, something very interesting happened. As suggested by some, i raised the retainer bar (see picture) and played the guitar so hard for about half an hour that even a perfect strat would go out of tune. But it stayed in tune just fine - so that little tweak worked wonders.

BUT after half an hour of 0 problems, the high E string jumped out of the nut and ever since it just refuses to stay in as soon as I hit the string just a bit stronger. So now I got really solid tuning stability but a jumping High-E string. Any ideas how to solve the new problem? :)

Eddie drilled a new hole and repositioned the high E.
https://www.vhlinks.com/vbforums/threads/63979-7th-Tuner-5150-Build!
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
@beltjones I do not use the tremolo, it's fully decked and as hardtailed as it gets. So I don't think I can do much on that end.

gingataff said:
Eddie drilled a new hole and repositioned the high E.

I think this might be a bit over the top although it's awesome! I was thinking about one of two options:

1. installing a string tree just for the high e (seems like Eddie did the same on top of the 7th tuner hole)
2. cutting the nut a bit deeper (although I'm quite scared of that).

What do you guys think?
 

beltjones

Active member
Messages
64
alexreinhold said:
@beltjones I do not use the tremolo, it's fully decked and as hardtailed as it gets. So I don't think I can do much on that end.

Before you make any other mods, and especially before you pay for anything, you ought to try what I'm suggesting.

You can deck it, you can add all the springs, etc. If the posts (esp on Hipshot trems) aren't at the right height you're going to get tuning instability.

Do this: Put on the trem arm, play a chord, and push the trem arm down. Is there play before the pitch dives? Does it stay in tune after you use the arm? Does it feel like the bridge is moving smoothly, or is it janky? Specifically, does it feel like the two prongs that contact the post on the high e side of the trem are slipping and moving around?

If so, you need to raise the high e trem post until the two prongs bite on the post and don't slip up and down when you play. If you do this correctly your trem will still be decked when you're finished and your tuning stability will be improved.
 

rlefty

Active member
Messages
62
alexreinhold said:
@beltjones I do not use the tremolo, it's fully decked and as hardtailed as it gets. So I don't think I can do much on that end.

gingataff said:
Eddie drilled a new hole and repositioned the high E.

I think this might be a bit over the top although it's awesome! I was thinking about one of two options:

1. installing a string tree just for the high e (seems like Eddie did the same on top of the 7th tuner hole)
2. cutting the nut a bit deeper (although I'm quite scared of that).

What do you guys think?

Staggered tuners.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
@beltjones this is extremely interesting and valuable advice. I will try it tonight and let you know how it went.

While this will be my first step, are there any pros and cons regarding these two approaches:

1. installing a string tree just for the high e (seems like Eddie did the same on top of the 7th tuner hole)
2. cutting the nut a bit deeper (although I'm quite scared of that).
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
rlefty said:
Is there a reason you're averse to using staggered tuners?

No. not at all. I'm just trying to avoid getting new tuners because I'm in love with my Planet Waves Auto Trims  :dontknow:
 

rlefty

Active member
Messages
62
alexreinhold said:
rlefty said:
Is there a reason you're averse to using staggered tuners?

No. not at all. I'm just trying to avoid getting new tuners because I'm in love with my Planet Waves Auto Trims  :dontknow:

Well, if you can spare the money I'd try a set of hipshot staggered locking tuners before attempting more permanent modifications like new holes, or a nut modification (which, I can't see how that could be helpful if you already like your action). You don't even need to drill new holes for the hipshots, which is a huge plus IMO.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
rlefty said:
Well, if you can spare the money I'd try a set of hipshot staggered locking tuners before attempting more permanent modifications like new holes, or a nut modification (which, I can't see how that could be helpful if you already like your action). You don't even need to drill new holes for the hipshots, which is a huge plus IMO.

I'm totally with you. But given that I really just need to fix the high-E, wouldn't a string tree suffice? Or maybe just one tuner that has a lower entry than the Planet Waves?
 

rlefty

Active member
Messages
62
alexreinhold said:
rlefty said:
Well, if you can spare the money I'd try a set of hipshot staggered locking tuners before attempting more permanent modifications like new holes, or a nut modification (which, I can't see how that could be helpful if you already like your action). You don't even need to drill new holes for the hipshots, which is a huge plus IMO.

I'm totally with you. But given that I really just need to fix the high-E, wouldn't a string tree suffice? Or maybe just one tuner that has a lower entry than the Planet Waves?

A string tree would work, but in my experience the more points of friction you can remove, the better your tuning stability would be. With staggered tuners, you can probably eliminate any string trees and that retainer bar.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
beltjones said:
alexreinhold said:
@beltjones I do not use the tremolo, it's fully decked and as hardtailed as it gets. So I don't think I can do much on that end.

Before you make any other mods, and especially before you pay for anything, you ought to try what I'm suggesting.

You can deck it, you can add all the springs, etc. If the posts (esp on Hipshot trems) aren't at the right height you're going to get tuning instability.

Do this: Put on the trem arm, play a chord, and push the trem arm down. Is there play before the pitch dives? Does it stay in tune after you use the arm? Does it feel like the bridge is moving smoothly, or is it janky? Specifically, does it feel like the two prongs that contact the post on the high e side of the trem are slipping and moving around?

If so, you need to raise the high e trem post until the two prongs bite on the post and don't slip up and down when you play. If you do this correctly your trem will still be decked when you're finished and your tuning stability will be improved.

Tried this and finally understood what you meant. This was indeed an issue at the very beginning which I solved a while ago.

Will now go to a guitar tech and either deepen the nut a bit or get an extra string tree. Both affordable, non-permanent and risk-free options imo.
 

alexreinhold

Senior member
Messages
473
For those who are interested. I went to a guitar tech and he said that the nut was WAY too high so he made some quite deep cuts. Now, with the heightened retainer bar and the deeper nut, the guitar is fully in tune (and stays in tune) and plays even better than before. I'm a happy man!
 
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