SG not holding tuning

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Triumph Rider, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Triumph Rider

    Triumph Rider New Member

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    Good day all. Just joined the forum. Not a great guitar player, but I have a couple of great guitars, not the least of which is an SG. I love the way it feels and plays. It doesn't seem to hold the tuning though. I am sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere already and I just did not find it. Guitar Center told me over the phone a guitar butler might work. Any ideas from the folks who play them regularly? Thanks

    Ray
     
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  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Two probable causes, and please don't consider the guitar butler - it's a kludge.

    I've now had a couple of cases of the string slowly unwinding itself from the ball end. The pitch drops slowly, and eventually the string just pulls through the ball.

    The more likely (almost certain) cause is that the nut is gripping it. Winding the tuner puts tension on the string, but mostly between the tuner and the nut where the string is being held by friction. This slowly releases, and the pitch either increases or decreases, depending on the direction you last turned the peg.

    Get the guitar to a tech and ask for some nut work. Explain the problem and you should get back a stable guitar.

    Don't be tempted to a new set of tuners - it is never that. And the String Butler is nothing more than a heap of blown cash.
     
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  3. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe that these guys actually told you this. I'm sure there are some knowledgeable people that work for Guitar Center, but moments like these just fuels all those head-scratching stories that a lot of us hear about GC.

    Like donepearce said, a decent guitar tech will be able to diagnose your SG's tuning issue pretty quickly, and do it right in front of you, too.
     
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  4. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Member

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    +1 to what donepearce said! The nut is usually the culprit. A dead giveaway is when you are tuning you will hear the "ting" sound coming from the nut, if you hear the sound then the nut is pinching the strings What I do is whenever I change strings I run a pencil through the nut grooves to get some graphite in there for lubrication.
    Gibson nuts are cut for .009 string gauge so if you are using a higher gauge the nut will pinch the strings.
    If you do prefer to play with a higher gauge I suggest you have the nut filed to accommodate the thicker strings.

    Another thing people overlook is intonation, you tune your guitar to perfect pitch but as soon as you start fretting chords it sounds out of tune. That is an intonation problem.

    The best thing to do would be to take it to a guitar tech and have them do a setup for you, or if you are comfortable working on it yourself there are all kinds youtube videos out there detailing how to DIY.

    As far as the string butler thing goes, forget that, a good setup will fix it.

    Hey, welcome to the forum! Let us know how it goes :D
     
  5. fuzbuzz78

    fuzbuzz78 Member

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    And by guitar tech, they don’t mean the ones at guitar center. Not saying there aren’t good techs at guitar centers, I’ve just never found one. Especially for anything more than a string change. Sorry guitar center techs. :(
     
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  6. juliang

    juliang New Member

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    I work opposite GC in Nashville TN. I took them an SG that was plain awful and the guitar tech, a female, did a great job and this SG has to be my favorite guitar out of the XXXXX that I own. So you never know. I took another guitar to an independent tech and he screwed the pooch. I guess we just need to find someone who is recommended.
    An SG should be able to hold tune as has been said.
     
  7. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    If strings have gone sharp after playing, your nut needs work. It is worth the money to take it to an actual guitar tech for a pro setup. You may make it better by lubricating the slots with graphite from a pencil lead rubbed into the slots or a tiny drop of petroleum jelly, but these are temporary fixes.

    If the strings go flat, do research on how to load strings properly and make sure they are (gently) stretched out completely after each change.

    Do not buy crap!! No String Butler! No new tuners!
     
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  8. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Well-Known Member

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    Learn to lock wind your strings.

    Next is the nut.

    I put string bulter, and other gimmick proponents on my ignore list.
     
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  9. papagayo

    papagayo Active Member

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    Yes, yes, string butter de luxe works very well :thumb:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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  11. Ray

    Ray Active Member

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    Thats the way. Hehe. Not seldom I catch myself locking the strings this way, out of old habit, even though the guitar has Grovers Locking tuners... Must be instinct, hehe. No, seriously, this trick is crucial to easily stay in tune.
     
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  12. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    WELCOME TO ETSG!

    +1 on much of what my colleagues have said. I'll give you my own
    take on this issue. And if you went rooting around in the archives, you'd
    see this topic come up again and again. So you're not the only one, and
    it isn't a problem unique to SGs. Begin with the assumption that there's
    nothing wrong with your guitar.

    1. Consider how old your strings might be. Old dead strings will not
    stay in tune. That's how you know it's time to change them. If you can't
    remember how old they are, then they are too old. It's a lot cheaper than
    any other mod. +1 on you learning the "Self Locking" method of installing strings, as shown by CG above. This will solve most issues. You can google it.

    2. Lube the nut slots. I use a home made mixture of vaseline and powdered
    graphite. Other guys talk about pencil graphite, but my way is better. *grins The stuff is also good for bridge saddles, open gear tuners and under the string trees on a Fender. A tiny dot on the end of a toothpick is enough
    for a nut slot, or a bridge saddle.

    3. Professional setup... Gibson gives us all these little screws, hoping that we know how to use them and intonate our guitars and adjust our action and tilt our pickups properly for the tone we want. But I believe firmly in getting each guitar I own professionally setup, soon after I acquire it. Once
    that's done, I can usually keep it that way. Pro luthiers have tools and
    measuring devices that the rest of us don't usually own. Plus, they know
    how to use them. I recommend professional setup as a way to enhance your SG experience all out of proportion to its cost.

    4. Nut work: A luthier doing a routine setup job might include some
    nut smoothing as part of the job you pay for, or they might charge extra.
    Normally it's worth having someone who knows what they are doing to work
    on the nut. It's a critical point. A good luthier can measure the height of the strings (and the depth of the nut slots) and adjust to optimize the
    guitar's action. That's actually priceless.

    5. Dan Earlewine's book: "How to make your Electric Guitar play Great"
    Every guitarist should read and keep this book. It explains this topic and many others very clearly, with great photos to illustrate it. Highly recommended.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  13. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Note that I never recommended swapping out tuners, or buying heavy
    locking tuners to upset the balance of your SG. Lots of players do this
    but I believe that they do it because they CAN do it. All you need is a
    screw driver usually. But this bypasses all the real issues. Stock tuners
    usually work fine, and get the blame for nut problems, or intonation problems, or poor setup, or improper technique... or old dead strings.
     
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  14. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    Didn't know about that book until now. Just bought it. Good tip, Colonel!
     
  15. Ray

    Ray Active Member

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    Ditto!:) Thanks, Col!

    (Ordered "The SG Guitar Book" by Tony Bacon and "the SG Manaual" by Paul Balmer as well! Looking forward to receiving this snacks - and everntually, enlightenment - I gotta say!:D)
     
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  16. fuzbuzz78

    fuzbuzz78 Member

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    I mean, you nailed it! I play mostly Jazzmasters and SG’s. I am a heavy tremolo/bigsby user and I can go half a set before I need to check my tuning. That’s across the board with all my guitars. My Jazzmaster is completely stock, bridge included. All I do is setup my guitars pretty much to factory spec.
     
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  17. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    The string butler does help some guitars that may be in need of other fixes like nut work.

    It is inexpensive and well made.

    None of my gibsons need it but it is an available option for some people. I think personally it is not nearly as easy to find a great guitar tech/luthier that is not 6 weeks behind ( or more ) as some of our responders are thinking.

    The one guy i trust in cleveland just laughs when you call him and ask how backed up he is.
     
  18. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    So are these and just about as useful for guitars.:naughty:
    Nor do any others.
    There's your problem right there:lol:. Isn't Cleveland the Iroquois word meaning "surrounded by landfills?":cool:
     
  19. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    :rofl: That's a jaw butler.
     
  20. GrumpyOldDBA

    GrumpyOldDBA Well-Known Member

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    Im not feeling the love for the land!

    69E6610F-CB8B-44EE-AE98-27758939ABFF.jpeg
     

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