Tuner upgrade for MIC Epiphone Casino

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Kmaz, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    My Casino often slips out of tune. I had a tech go over the guitar but it continues to drift out of tune. I don't think it's a nut issue as I had the tech check it out as well.

    Which quality tuner should I be looking at if I want to upgrade but keep the same look? It's a MIC model from 2014. Also, it's a lefthand model if that makes any difference? Thanks.
     
  2. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    1. It could be the strings you're using, but...
    2. It could be the stringing technique, but...
    3. It could be aggressive Bigsby usage, but..
    4. It could be binding at the bridge, but...
    5. It could be a hardware alignment problem, but..
    6. It's probably the nut.

    It's very, very, doubtful it's the tuners. It's especially unlikely if this happens with more than one string. I would strongly recommend upgrading the nut and making sure that it's working properly before considering changing the tuners. If you change the tuners without dealing with the real problem, you'll be right back in the same place.
     
  3. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    Thanks, bg. Are you thinking bone for an upgraded nut?
     
  4. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

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    I bought my MIC Casino new in 2013 and it stays in tune as well or better than most of my guitars.
     
  5. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    Glad to hear that, Strato. Is your guitar stock? I need to get to the bottom of this. I love the guitar, btw. Aside from the tuning issue, that is. :)
     
  6. StratoCraig

    StratoCraig Member

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    Completely stock. I haven't modified my Casino at all.
     
  7. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    The only thing I've done to mine was to replace the stock bridge with a Gibson ABR-1.
     
  8. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    The plastic nut on the import Epi's is the only true weak spot IMHO.
    Many people swap pickups, but I think they are great with just some height and pole piece adjustments. I am coming from experience with a few Epi DOTs. MIC, MIK, and MIIndonesia

    How is the guitar drifting out of my tune? Is it going flat during a song? Playing sharp after bends or Bigsby use? Is it all the strings over the course of a day or two? Are notes out of tune up the neck when reading in tune while open?
    What string gauge are you using?

    Short answer is, yes- polished Bone nut. Some type of string lube at the nut and saddles is also recommended. Big Bends nut sauce, Teflon, graphite powder/pencil lead, Chapstick.
     
  9. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    Thanks, Theo. The guitar will go flat on a few strings during a playing session and most of them will go flat as it is stored in its case for a short time. I know that this is probably not abnormal. There is no Bigsby btw, and I do like the idea of upgrading the nut. Should have done this straight away.
     
  10. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds like you are not experiencing anything abnormal at all.
    As you play, strings warm up and expand- they could go a little flat.
    As the guitar is stored while the temps are moving from winter to spring, more humidity in the air could cause the wood to expand. This could effect tuning.

    It is natural for a guitar to be a little out from one session to the next.

    I have not had anything I would describe as a tuning issue on my my recently purchased DOT with stock parts, strung with .011's. If I notice it out of tune, it is usually when I pick it up for soundcheck/practice or because of something I did while playing aggressively like over zealous strumming or bending.

    You can upgrade the tuners if you want. The benefit could be higher precision (stock Klusons or Grovers are likely 14:1 ratio) and/or cosmetic. Some upgrade tuners feel smoother. The change in headstock weight could effect the resonance of the instrument slightly which might affect sustain.

    I don't think the things you describe will be remarkably different with an upgraded nut, but the sound of the open strings will be much better. The guitar could be perceived generally a little louder. Many people claim that any tone benefit of a premium nut is irrelevant once the string is fretted. Definately a can of worms debate.

    Are you familiar with proper intonation adjustment on your Casino?
     
  11. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    I know that the tech who worked on it did a full setup, including a fret level and polish. He restrung it as well (with strings I provided) so there could be a difference in techniques, I suppose. I'm not hearing any 'pings' in the nut when I tune or bend.
     
  12. onemoretime

    onemoretime Member

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    Hollow body guitars are very susceptible to temperature changes. The tops expand and contract more than a solid or semi-hollowbody. I would attack the nut first and go with a Graphtech or bone. Some guys like to jump straight to roller saddles for the bridge but in my experience, they dull the sound of the guitar by lacking the sharp break across the bridge saddle like you have with the tunomatic.

    I would check your saddles for burrs and casting flash first and touch them up a bit. I just take a wound G and "floss" the notch in the saddles followed by a touch with a Dremel with a polishing (cone shaped) bit and bit of metal polish. I also string all my Bigsby guitars with Elixir Nanos. The strings are slicker and less likely to bind anywhere with the added benefit of less string changes.
     
  13. Craig Gates

    Craig Gates Member

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    +1 on checking the bridge saddles as noted above. You might also try a bit of white lithium grease in the nut slots - I use a pipe cleaner to apply just a little bit. I have a Duo Jet that wouldn't quite stay in tune, and a little white lithium grease did the trick.
     
  14. Kmaz

    Kmaz Member

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    Thanks guys, I really appreciate your help.
     

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