Problems with Epiphones staying in tune

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Lockjawpony, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. Lockjawpony

    Lockjawpony Member

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    The last two guitars I bought, an Epiphone Les Paul Standard and an Epiphone Wildkat, both had major issues with intonation and staying in tune. Even after I took them both to get set up by a professional. It was mainly the G string I was having trouble with on both guitars. It was the intonation. I would have to lower the G string flat to get chords to sound in tune.

    Did I just have two lemons with warped necks or something? Or are Epiphones like that? It seems like there's no way they would be in business if they knowingly produced guitars with such an issue.

    It's not my playing. Because I play in tune on my strat perfectly with no problems.

    Is my guitar guy just an idiot or what? He said it was fine. But when I got it home it sounded like crap.

    I attempted to get the G string innovated correctly on my own but nothing I could do worked.

    I ended up returning the LP and selling the Wildkat and I now just play my strat which I love.

    Anybody run into these issues? Should I fire my guitar guy? Are Epiphones crap?
     
  2. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    5 things to check...

    1. Is the guitar strung right?
    2. If so, it's the nut.
    3. It could be the bridge adjustment, but, it's probably the nut.
    4. It is possible that it's the neck relief but I'd check out the nut first.
    5. It might, just might, be something else but it's likely it's the nut.
     
  3. MissoulaGriz

    MissoulaGriz Member

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    This might sound nuts but I agred with the above. When all else fails, check your nut!
     
  4. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    I guarantee you it is the nut.
    Did those other guys mention it might be the nut?
    It's the nut.


    Throw the stock one away and have one cut by a person who knows how to do it.
    You won't have any more tuning problems.
     
  5. MissoulaGriz

    MissoulaGriz Member

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    On a serious nut, umm, I mean note. It's not just an Epiphone thing and Epiphones are far from crap. As a matter of fact, the newer Epiphones are kicking ass right now. I've had to replace Gibson and Fender nuts many times. At a minimum they need to be adjusted slightly to maximize tuning and intonation.

    My last guitar purchase was my first Epiphone (a bad ass ES339 PRO P90) and the nut is perfect. Tuning is as stable as any of my US made guitars and intonation is spot on...even that pesky G string is right on. Heck, the whole guitar just rocks and it keeps up with my Gibsons and Fenders all day long. Don't get discouraged.
     
  6. peskypesky

    peskypesky Member

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  7. mcgruff

    mcgruff Senior Member

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    I don't think the problem is actually about staying in tune: it's about never being able to get it in tune in the first place.

    Often the first is indeed the nut specifically badly-cut nut slots which pinch the strings.

    The second could be caused by nut slots which are cut too high. If that's the case, the first fret or two will feel quite stiff compared to playing a note higher up the neck. Pushing down harder increases string tension and sharpens the note. With a well-cut nut it shouldn't really feel any harder to fret a note at the first fret than anywhere else.

    Even if the nut is good, pressing down too hard when you fret a note can push it out of tune as it bends down behind the fret. The unwound strings are particularly susceptible to this.

    Try some experiments with an accurate tuner that gives you a digital frequency readout. First tune the open G string and check the intonation is perfect at the 12th fret. Touch the string down on the fret as gently as possible. You might need to adjust the bridge.

    Next measure how well it stays in tune at different frets. Again, touch the string down on the frets as gently as possible. If the first couple of frets or so are sharp but the rest are OK, it's likely that the nut slots are cut too high.

    If they're all in tune it's likely down to your fretting hand. Try not to press your fingers down any harder than you need to. An unwound G string is very easy to push out of tune.

    Also, try not to pull back on the neck: if you use the neck as an arm support or clutch it really tightly it will only slow you down since you have to keep breaking/making your grip of death as you change hand positions. Some guitars have bendier necks than others and won't take kindly to that kind of treatment.
     
  8. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    But on an Epiphone, it's pretty much a sure thing the nut is garbage. That's one thing they ARE consistent about.

    +1 for the Graphtech. They don't bind up.
     
  9. Mike9

    Mike9 Supporting Member

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    Are you using a wound G? either way the nut needs work. Make sure you stretch your strings tune, stretch, tune, stretch, tune - till it's stable and use a locking string wind and not too many winds on the posts - the fewer the better. Nothing wrong with that bridge it's a good design that has weathered time.
     
  10. V-Type

    V-Type Member

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    I have 2 sweet Epi LP's.
    The Tributes nut was perfect but I still had it replaced with a Bone variety.
    The LP custom had a horrid cut plastic nut and was replaced with a graphtech.
    Also the tuners and bridge saddles seem hit or miss between their guitars.
     
  11. Mrmarshallhead

    Mrmarshallhead Member

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    My daughter has a Wildkat and when I set it up for her, I found the nut is too close to the first fret, almost like it was positioned for Buzz Feiten setup!

    I had to cut the nut away by about 1.5 mm - works fine now. I thought about Feitenising it, but she's 15, this is her first guitar and I didn't want her to deal with the fancier tuning.

    Check whether your guitars suffer from this.
     
  12. Stratobuc

    Stratobuc Member

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    My Epiphone G400 stays in tune at least as well as any guitar I have. I would look at the nut first.
     
  13. KeLynne

    KeLynne Member

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    My tribute plus stays in tune all the time.
     
  14. Serenity

    Serenity Member

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    I've owned 3 Epi Les Paul's and a 335 Pro. Only ever had that problem with one of the LP's, but that was more to do with the previous owner than the manufacturer.
     
  15. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    Maybe the strings you use are bad? Try a different brand?



    ...after you get the nut squared away
     
  16. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    My ES-175 Premium is having tuning issues, both intonation and staying in tune. I think the bridge might be a little off, several of the strings won't intonate correctly and the saddles are at the end of their travel. The tuning stability issue might be a poorly cut nut and/or the tuning machines. But all of these are fixable, and worth the effort as the guitar is magnificent otherwise.
     
  17. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    string winding, nut.. get a Tusq nut or anything other than what is on there. I have a brass one on my Epi Explorer.
     
  18. HTSMetal

    HTSMetal Member

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    My Epi Sheraton stays in tune for weeks. An improperly cut, cheapo plastic nut is the likely culprit, as the Grover tuners are pretty well regarded and if something was wrong with the neck, you'd notice intonation problems on more than just that one string, most likely.
     
  19. TheClev

    TheClev As seen on TV

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    Time to nut up or shut up.
     
  20. Mikhael

    Mikhael Member

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    I've become a believer in compensated nuts. Unfortunately, the Earvana nut doesn't seem to be the answer; it's too exaggerated, and the compensation is wrong on some strings IME. So I have to either make my own out of a block of Tusq XL, or have a luthier do it.

    I'm also a believer in locking tuners. I even have them on a guitar with a locking nut. Why? They are SO easy to change strings on.

    But between these two items, I've been able to make an unplayable guitar quite acceptable.
     

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