Slightly out of tune 335

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by daphil_1, Jan 13, 2008.


  1. daphil_1

    daphil_1 Member

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    Hello all - I have a great 99 es-335 that plays and sounds amazing. My only complaint is that open chords - particularly D and A - just sound a little bit off to me, not as crisp as my other guitars. The intonation is fine and teh indiv strings are in tune - but it just sounds a bit off. Would anyone have a clue as to what the problem might be?
     
  2. buckwild

    buckwild Silver Supporting Member

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    Thats strange. It does sound like it would be an intonation problem.
     
  3. 57special

    57special Member

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    perhaps it's the nut slots. If all the notes on a single string sound clear and sustain somewhat equally, EXCEPT on the open string, the it's a good bet the slots need some attention. They might just need a bit of sandpaper to smooth them out. They could also be cut too low, in which case you'd have to shim the nut ot get a new one cut.
    If the pup is really close to the strings, it can have an odd effect on how well the string rings and how in tune it sounds.

    Really, it sounds like you need a setup.
     
  4. thesooze

    thesooze Supporting Member

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    Um, get a setup.
     
  5. DavidH

    DavidH Supporting Member

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    Nut might be too high,i've got a guitar with that problem at the moment and it's really annoying.I think that's the problem anyway.As you go up the neck it sounds fine,but open cords are horrible.Sounds like a nut problem anyway.
     
  6. Luke Duke

    Luke Duke Member

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    I'm with 57 try a setup by a GOOD tech or a luthier. Either should be able to identify whether or not you need a new nut.

    Luke
     
  7. bilbal

    bilbal Member

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    I would be willing to bet it is the nut too. Take it in for a "tune up" (pardon the pun) it probably needs ones. When I first got my 335 it was doing the same thing. I just played the hell out of it being extremely patient and retuning every time it needed. One day everything seemed to just finally sit well and I haven't had the problem since. I'm guessing that it was the nut and it just finally work out what was wrong on it's own. Aren't Gibson infamous for nut problems?????? You see threads detailing LP owners having the same problems. Too many threads not to conclude that there is something substandard in Gibson QUALITY CONTROL. I still love my 335.

    bilbal
     
  8. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    If something is out of tune, the intonation is out. Intonation does not just mean matching the 12th fret note to the harmonic, it means trying to get every fret, the 1st, 5th, 11th, 18th, as close to consistently in tune as possible. The biggest part of setting intonation is the setup itself, not just tweaking the saddles. Your nut slots probably need to be cut properly, and any other truss rod and bridge tweaking before saddle positions should be adjusted. I'd say take it in for a good setup.

    Nut slots are high on any production guitar unless they've been recut after production - Gibson, Martin, Fender, Taylor - it's not just a Gibson quality control problem, it's what factories do.
     
  9. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

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    I once bought a new 335 from a store really cheaply because everyone in the store thought it was a dog. It wouldn't tune and felt terrible to play. I took it home, lowered the strings at the nut on the bass side and filed the bridge saddle slots to make the action even over all strings and it then played beaitifully. Sounded pretty good too. Sometimes Gibson don't touch the pre-slotted bridges and as a result the strings are uneven in height at the bridge. And they are very often too high at the nut.

    When strings are too high at the nut then they will play sharp in the lower frets even thought the 12th fret may be good.
     
  10. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Hopefully you have a good tuner.
    Tune up the chord you are having trouble with then see how far out the rest of the notes are. Also, tune normally and examine the tuning of the notes of the chords you feel are out.

    How to fix it? I don't know, but, an Earvana nut or Feiten tune-up might help.
     
  11. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    get a new nut.
     
  12. daphil_1

    daphil_1 Member

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    Thanks guys - seems to be a nut problem then!!
     
  13. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    Are you using 9's?

    I've noticed the cowboy chords don't sound as in tune when I use 9's versus 10's on some guitars.
     
  14. Rosewood

    Rosewood Member

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    I would do a good setup and string it with 11's.
     
  15. pacomc79

    pacomc79 Member

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    Try an Earvana nut if you're going with a new one anyway, that might help your issue.
     
  16. jtees4

    jtees4 Member

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    Gotta be the nut. Check it out or replace it.
     
  17. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    It isn't necessary except in extreme cases, and neither is replacing the nut unless the grooves are too low - which can happen but is extremely rare on a factory set-up.

    99% of the time you simply need the existing nut re-cut correctly. Almost all nuts are left too high from the factory, and many after a 'set up' too - most players and some techs just do not realise how low a nut can (and should) be if cut correctly.

    If this is done, it's amazing how most of the intonation and tuning problems simply disappear without any need for fancy compensated nuts and tuning systems.
     
  18. David Collins

    David Collins Member

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    Ditto.

    While modestly compensated nuts can sometimes be a good thing, I find most aftermarket systems to be drastically overcompensating. They generally seem to be designed around nuts that are just cut way too high to begin with. Cut the nut right to begin with, and all of a sudden they seem so unnecessary.

    No need to replace it yet if first position intonation is your only issue. Just have the slots cut right and move along with the setup.
     
  19. pacomc79

    pacomc79 Member

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    Interesting, thanks for the Info John. I get a lot out of so many of the columns you write here.

    How about a lubricant like guitar grease or Big Bends... does that help at all tuning wise?
     
  20. mact

    mact Member

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    .... same here... bought over the last years two Gibsons (LP & 335) and in both cases intonation and feel improved drastically after a really good tech checked and re-cut the nut. Good luck!
     

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