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Ways to keep a strat in tune?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Stratman117, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Stratman117

    Stratman117 Strat-Talk Member

    May 23, 2012
    Cleveland Ohio
    Anyone have any tips? I dont want a floyd on my sunburst, can i adjust the springs on the bridge? Or are there any overall setup tips? Thanks guys.

    Hendrix and Gilmour For Life!

  2. David Garner

    David Garner Senior Stratmaster

    Most tuning problems on a trem-equipped guitar (or a stoptail, for that matter) are at the nut, not the bridge.

    Mine stays in tune decked, blocked or floating. I'd start by lightly lubing the nut, bridge saddles and trem screws. I use Big Bends Nut Sauce, but I hear chapstick works VERY well for lubing the nut slots. If that doesn't work, have a good tech look it over and see if maybe the nut needs some work.

  3. thecableguy

    thecableguy Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 6, 2011
    Edmonton, Canada
    I put graph tech saddles on one of mine and it stays in tune great now. I also lubed the nut and trees with chapstick.

  4. ant_riv

    ant_riv Strat-Talker

    Jul 2, 2010
    These are good recommendations.

    First, make sure your strings are properly stretched when you re-string.

    1. You want to make sure your trem starts and stops in the same place obviously.

    2. If the string binds in the nut or on the string trees, or somewhere on the bridge, the string will not return to where it started from, so you will be out of tune.

    3. If the string moves on the string post and does not return to where it started from, you will be out of tune.

    That pretty much covers it!

  5. pauln

    pauln Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 14, 2011
    Also helps to keep it in tune by keeping it in tune... when NOT playing.

    Always tune your guitar perfectly after playing it before putting it away.
    Wood is slow to change and has a "memory". If your guitar has been hanging around out of tune for a day, the whole guitar has stabilized itself to that off tuning; so when you correct that before playing, all through your playing time the guitar is having to adjust to the new correct tuning. So you end up going out of tune and making further corrections.
    You can avoid this by keeping the guitar in tune when you aren't playing it.

    When the guitar is not fighting itself because of wood memory trying to catch up and adjust to a corrected tuning the guitar will play for hours, even on stage, without having to touch the tuners.

  6. oatsoda

    oatsoda Puck of Paradox Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 10, 2011
    The Shack, Nova Scotia
    1. Deck the trem
    2. If the trem is not decked, be deliberate about string gauge.
    3. Put it in a stand, don't dangle it by the headstock on a wall hanger.
    4. Get use to tuning.

  7. astacks

    astacks Strat-O-Master

    Feb 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    With a fresh set of strings I tune up to pitch, bend all the strings directly on the saddle, behind the nut at the tuners and string trees, then I tune to pitch again go crazy with the tremolo (2 point on my latest strat build) tune and go crazy again with the trem then tune and go crazy and tune again until it doesn't go out of tune when I go crazy with the trem lol.

    It def works, so good that if I'm doing whole note bends (that will put any guitar out of tune) a simple wiggle of the tremolo will bring it right back. I'm not a heavy trem user but I have it setup to where if I wanted to dive bomb I could and it would be in tune afterwards.

  8. tabdog

    tabdog Strat-Talker

    May 26, 2011
    Bryant, Arkansas
    Lots of good advice here.

    You may need another spring
    or two on your trem.


  9. stratdragon92

    stratdragon92 Strat-Talk Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    I've finally started using the trems on my strats. Lots of good advice already mentioned. But heres my two cents. Lube the nut. I've been using a little bit of graphite from pencil at the nut when I change strings. Pay attention to the tuning posts when you first restring your guitar. I'll cut my strings about two and a half tuners longer than the one its going into and then make sure they wrap around neatly as I tune the guitar. I like to get at least three full tight and neat wraps around the post. This gives me a nice break angle behind the nut and makes sure the strings are nice and snug. Tune up to pitch and then stretch your strin9gs and retune. As far as the trem goes I keep it flush against the body. I use three springs and usually keep the bass side side of the claw screwed in a bit more

  10. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    hanging guitars by the neck puts them out of tune?? first time i have heard this i have all my guitars on wall hangers in the studio. they are all in tune when i grab them off the wall. maybe my walls are lucky?

  11. Michael919

    Michael919 Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 22, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have no tuning problems on any of my 6 electrics and they are all on wall hangers. They stay in tune very well, but I don't dive-bomb. They are all set up floating to Fender spec. I had to lube the nut on one of mine when it was new, but not since.

    I sometimes wonder how often string guage relative to the nut cut is a problem for a lot of folks. The nut needs to be cut large enough for the gauge being used.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012

  12. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 27, 2012

    All that sounds pretty solid to me. The graphite in the nut slots is a big help.
    I like to get 3 full wraps of string on the 3 higher strings... at least 2 on the bass ones - so 3 is good too. Once you get it working well, you need to stick with the same gauge of string so that its got the same pull.

  13. thecableguy

    thecableguy Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 6, 2011
    Edmonton, Canada
    Instead of having multiple wraps around the tuning post, use the tie technique to lock the string to the post. I use this technique and only have one wrap around the post.

  14. carver

    carver The East Coast Strangler Strat-Talk Supporter

    bam. bingo right here.

    I play 11-54's and i have to file all my nuts (teehehe) in order for them to sit properly. bone nuts do not smell good when you file them, thats for sure

  15. StoogeSurfer

    StoogeSurfer Strat-O-Master

    Jan 13, 2010
    Staggered claw to reduce tension on strings 4-6 seems to help for me, I can float the trem quite a bit and still have a lot of stability on my Strats. I agree that tuning them every day is important.

  16. Jeepocaster

    Jeepocaster Strat-O-Master

    Just play the heck outta it! The nut will "work" itself out eventually. I use my trems pretty heavily, and this is how it usually goes. If I get a new guitar, these days, I swap the nut and tuners for modern stuff straight away. But in my younger days, these weren't available and I was poor! Chapstick or graphite the nut and play, play, play!

  17. ras1500

    ras1500 Strat-Talker

    Apr 1, 2011
    QC, Arizona
    I have Graph Tech String Saver saddles, nut and string trees on my Strat. I also have the trem floated with 5 springs. Using flatwound 10-48 strings, my guitar stays in tune very well. I must admit the trem is fairly stiff, but I don't go nuts with it, just use it for a occasional accent on chords.

  18. robotguitar

    robotguitar Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 5, 2009
    +1 on staggering the claw a bit. Bass strings should have a little more tension. I always tune my low E up to and F when changing strings and it comes down naturally as I tune. A lot of times a slight depression on the tremolo will bring it back to proper tune when it goes out, but it must have the proper lubrication to snap back.

  19. rwyjunior

    rwyjunior Strat-O-Master

    Sep 14, 2012
    This may not be the answer for everyone but if you live in Memphis Tn. take your Strat to Walter @ Lane Music in Germantown. I think he may be some kind of wizard

  20. jovima69

    jovima69 Strat-Talk Member

    Mar 7, 2012
    Stretch your strings well. Lube the hang up points. I also stagger the claw ala Carl Verheyen. Stays in tune great, even with heavy wanking.