I've sent back three Gibsons in a row now for horrendous tuning issues

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by james..., Dec 20, 2017.

  1. darkphader

    darkphader Member

    Messages:
    457
    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Motown
    Although there are some that don't care for the headstock on a Heritage I believe it's responsible for making the Heritage a better guitar than the Gibson. Because the headstock is more narrow near the top the tuning machines are more in line with the nut slots. When you need to add a "String Butler" you have a bad design.
     
    DPiddy likes this.
  2. Elantric

    Elantric Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,032
    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo


    Go To 9:20 minute mark to see the PLEK machine cutting the Nut Slots
     
    MikeMcK likes this.
  3. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

    Messages:
    2,503
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    Jersey shore
    You know, after 17 pages of responses I still don't know whether the tuners were slipping, the string was binding in the nut, the neck was flexing, the bridge was rocking, or any of the other possible causes of a guitar going out of tune. Has anyone determined that yet?
     
    tenchijin2 likes this.
  4. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

    Messages:
    1,608
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Location:
    New York
    I haven't read it all, but wasn't it determined that it was "Operator Error". lol
     
    Elantric likes this.
  5. John Vasco

    John Vasco Member

    Messages:
    1,410
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Location:
    Norwich, previously Liverpool
    First of all, regarding the above two paragraphs, you are joking, aren't you...???

    Secondly, this is what I posted on another forum some time ago. It may be worth reading:
    "First of all, read this:
    Tuning – the Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #45 | DrKevGuitar.com

    Read the above link, and absorb it completely. It may disappoint you to read that the guitar, being a tempered instrument, will never be in tune perfectly. In other words, we all have to live with the slight imperfections, overall, in tuning a guitar.

    Obviously, the first thing to get right is the intonation, and that is not a difficult thing to learn, and a trained ear or a good tuner will get you there, as far as possible.

    You also need to break in your strings so that any slack is taken out of them. This involves stretching and pulling them, and returning them to pitch. Once they are stable, and intonated, you are well on your way.

    I will reiterate what others have said above regarding the pressure you apply to the strings when fretting, PARTICULARLY in the lower register around the first three frets. An additional thing that you should do, which I don't think has been mentioned, is that you should always tune to the 'attack'. This simply means that you should tune your guitar applying the pressure you would normally apply to the fretted strings when playing. This requires you to tune to fretted positions, not to open strings. What you should NOT do is tune with what is termed a 'soft' hand (i.e. very lightly) and then play with your normal fretting pressure. If you do, it will sound out in many positions.

    Given what I have said in my second paragraph, what I do at home, and out gigging, is to tune the first, second, fourth and fifth strings to pitch. I then tune the third string a few cents flat, and likewise the sixth string. You should then find the slight dissonance you expect from the third string when playing an open 'G' or 'C' chord will sound somewhat like a 12-string; 'E' and 'D' in the first position should sound OK. Likewise the sixth string tuned down a few cents should give the same slight dissonance in the root position, but moving up the neck and playing barre chords (say major chords), the sixth should sound fine against the octave fourth string. For example, 7th fret fourth string against the 5th fret sixth string should sound fine.

    The nut is a 'set-up' issue which impacts upon the tuning. The 'G' is particularly prone to 'binding', given the angle it is coming through the nut at, which increases the chances of binding, particularly when bending the string while soloing. It is a matter of working the slot until it no longer binds when you bend the string.

    One final set-up point. Check you bridge saddles also. When tuned to pitch, make sure there is absolutely no chance of movement in those saddles. Might sound like a statement of the bleedin' obvious with the guitar tuned to pitch and the downward pressure exerted on the saddles, but there is no harm in checking everything possible is OK."

    And another post of mine on the same forum:
    "A badly cut nut is not, per se, a tuning problem. It is a badly cut nut problem. That needs to be addressed independently of anything else, either by having the slots cut correctly or the nut replaced. A nut problem

    Ditto for tuners. All the tuner does is hold the string. If a tuner's gears are slipping, it is a TUNER problem, not a tuning problem. Replace the tuner with one that operates correctly. A tuner problem.

    When nut and tuners are OK, the problem comes down to the individual person stabilising the tuning of the strings by making sure they go through the procedure to take all slack out of them. That is not done by tuning down and just reaching pitch. Just do that, and the guitar will go out of tune in a couple of minutes. The number of times I've seen people do that at jams and gigs... And then they lament that their guitar won't stay in tune..."

    Hope the above is helpful, from someone who has gigged Gibsons from 1970, and Les Pauls solely from 1973.
     
    Fuzzr and voggin like this.
  6. PBGas

    PBGas Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,723
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I ordered a new Les Paul Modern Axcess back in July and it came in September. Amazing looking guitar in Portland orange flame. Problem is, the neck had a terrible twist in it. The Floyd Rose was tilting 35-40 degrees down on the treble size. Love the guitar, just awful quality control. The distributor sent it back to Gibson who confirmed that it was defective. Fast forward to November. The main problem was that there were no more left. Through the distributor, they offered me a Les Paul Axcess Alex Lifeson. It was used for a short product demonstration. I looked carefully at it and it was not played whatsoever. They explained that there was an issue with the Piezo system on it and they had tried to fix it but were unsuccessful. In any case, with the deal they gave me on it, I could not resist. It was literally slightly less half the price of a new one. Up here that is a pretty big $ item. I just gutted it and put new electronics and pickups in and all is working perfectly. I was not interested in the piezo system anyways. The main thing is that the guitar plays incredible and sounds even better. I’ve had a bunch of Axcess guitars over the past 10 years and this one is easily the nicest built and best playing of the bunch. I’ll have to post it up shortly.
     
  7. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

    Messages:
    17,437
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Metro Detroit Burbs, MI
    THAT is horse crap philosophy
    setting action to taste is one thing
    but adjusting a nut should not be...so everyone who buys a Gibson can expect the possibility it has to go to a tech??

    THERE is nothing about personal taste that justifies an incorrectly slotted nut...if you fret out on open strings, or go out of tune because the strings are a mile from the first 3 frets that aint customer pref...that's crappy control
     
    PaisleyWookie likes this.
  8. WALL-E

    WALL-E Member

    Messages:
    92
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Haven't had a ton of Gibbys up until recently.

    Years past: The Paul (used), a BFG (new), a 60s SG MM (cut the nut myself) that I restored, an early 00s MM (new) and maybe some others - no tuning or nut issues...

    The recent stock of Gibbys I've purchased - 8 or so total )1 used the rest new/floor models) - one had a nut issue (new 17 Classic). Just sloppy cutting and no clean-up...some pinging. Cleaning up the slots slightly did the trick. No biggie. Otherwise...no tuning issues with any of them after changing out what were ultimately older strings.

    Tune up...bend all strings at 3/7/12/15...strum some stuff out...tune up...bends again...strum...check tuning...tune up. Done. Always tune up and after the strings settle...I've had them hold tuning for days at a shot. They're stored in a pretty climate controlled room.

    I do appreciate the straight pull headstock designs and think they improve tuning stability though.
     
    tenchijin2 and Elantric like this.
  9. Seth L

    Seth L Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    22,293
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Location:
    N.C.
    Your techs are nuts! :)
     
    Elantric likes this.
  10. voggin

    voggin Member

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Easiest way I find to tell if my strings are properly stretched is to have my digital tuner plugged into the guitar while it's on its back with the headstock in its rest while I'm changing the strings. Stretch, retune, stretch, retune until each string is in tune even after the stretch. I add a little nut sauce at the end, but really I don't even know if it's necessary. Works on my Gibsons with stock nuts fine.
     
  11. agquake

    agquake Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    704
    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Let's do that now... ;)
     
  12. ShinobiKama

    ShinobiKama Member

    Messages:
    303
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2015
    I don't believe you, sorry. It's not that I think you're lying or anything, just sounds like there's something you're missing or have unrealistic expectations. I've built 26 of my Warmoth guitars, have a workstation and all the proper luthier tools, etc. I don't claim to be a pro or anything, but have become fairly proficient. After a few years of building, I decided to get back on the market and see if I've been missing anything. I've bought a couple of Les Pauls, recently acquired two Suhrs, and an ESP. I bought them all online. The quality of them all are rather impeccable. It's not that I think you're lying, but you sound like you either don't know some of the basics of guitar setup/maintenance, or you have some unrealistic expectation that if you buy an expensive guitar that it should require no work on your part. Sorry, but even though these brands are outstanding quality, there's always something that needs to be done.

    For example, I bought a Suhr Classic Pro and a Standard. There was some fret buzz on the standard. After checking some things out, I used my fret rocker, found a couple of frets, and then tapped them with a fret hammer. Bam, now it has an amazing low action and no buzz. From experience, I can tell you that stainless steel frets are very hard, much harder than the wood, and as the wood settles, the frets don't. It only takes a little adjustment.

    The Classic Pro is another amazing guitar, but it was having some minor tuning stability issues. Turns out, all I needed to do was file the nut a bit and apply some nut lube. Bam! Now it's almost perfect.

    One thing I've noticed about Les Pauls, and was the same when I received mine, is that they leave a couple of winds of strings around the tuning posts. The thing is that I bought the professional Guitar Center model that has locking tuners. Well I checked the nut, bridge, everything and couldn't quite figure out why it was going slightly out of tune after bending for a while. I finally figured out that there was too much winding of extra string on the tuners, so I unwound the tuners, clipped the excess string, and problem solved.

    For the non-locking vintage tuners, I put some lube on the string windings. You probably ran into something like that you're unaware of and freaked out. I say just don't every buy a guitar expecting zero work to be done. Gibson is the original man, and their USA quality (I'm not familiar with their cheaper, foreign models) is fantastic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
    Elantric likes this.
  13. PaisleyWookie

    PaisleyWookie Member

    Messages:
    4,453
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Location:
    Travel A LOT!
    You bought a couple Les Pauls, and because of that you don't believe him? I mean, I don't know that I'm on board either, but just because you've had two good ones doesn't really mean his are just fine and just need proper care. That's a bit of a false dichotomy there.
     
  14. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Member

    Messages:
    1,324
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2017
    This thread sponsored by Big Bends Nut Sauce. :D
     
  15. ShinobiKama

    ShinobiKama Member

    Messages:
    303
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2015
    Uh no. You need to reread. That's not what I was saying at all.
     
    Boris Bubbanov likes this.
  16. dwoverdrive

    dwoverdrive Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,469
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Location:
    Papillion,NE
    Every brand new guitar I have ever purchased went straight to a professional for a complete detailed setup. I've never had a problem after that that wasn't minor. I've said before I've used every lubricant you can imagine at the nut and Big Bends nut sauce (no affiliation) is several cuts above everything else at least for my Gibsons. I look at it this way: everyone on a forum like this takes playing guitar seriously. It means something to them. They are going to notice tuning issues. If they don't have the bench skills themselves they should always get it set up professionally. Most of the internet stories about guys like me spending a bunch of money at stewmac just to be a second rate tech usually end up in them just taking it in.
     
  17. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

    Messages:
    17,437
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Metro Detroit Burbs, MI
    none of my epiphones have had these issues
    nuts were all cut correctly...frets needed little or no work
     
  18. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

    Messages:
    17,437
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    Metro Detroit Burbs, MI
    or Ticonderoga #2 pencils

    lol

    I just recently acquired set up tools and set up my 2 epi dots, 2 epi les pauls, a Ibanez artcore, and an epi g400 to Gibson spec

    action at 12th fret, pick up heights, neck relief (capo 1rst, hold down 17th, and feeler gauges at 7th 8th 9th)

    then holding down the 3rd fret, I checked with feeler gauges...all but one epi had correctly cut nuts...the other one had a new tusq nut I just installed so it doesn't count

    a Gibson set up to factory specs should NOT have an improperly cut nut period
     
  19. Seth L

    Seth L Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    22,293
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Location:
    N.C.
    They're not improperly cut.
     
  20. Dr. Tweedbucket

    Dr. Tweedbucket Deluxe model available !!!11

    Messages:
    45,259
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Location:
    Gamma Ray detection station on Mt. Kwakkleberry
    Out of about 2 dozen Gibsons, maybe 5 or 6 needed the nut grooves touched up. After that, perfect tune. My wife dropped my LP Custom face first on a concrete garage floor after I handed it to her (strap came loose). Amazingly the headstock was ok...BUT, it was still in perfect tune. :red
     

Share This Page