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Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by hightime, Oct 13, 2021.
Locking nut and locking bridge , then some also put locking tuners just to lock everything.
A properly cut Tusq nut for the win.
This - For years I hadn't put my strings on correctly but thanks to the magic of YouTube I have much fewer problems.
Shout-out to Harlow, BTW - I met my wife there!
I have locking tuners on all three of my Strats mostly for convenience doing string changes & with the staggered tuners I have (with three different heights) eliminates the string trees-they sure cant hurt tuning stability.
That must have been a surprise, what was your wife doing in Harlow!?
Yes they make a difference. Less wrapping for the string to move on the peg. Even wrapping to lock there is some play there. As everyone said the nut is the main thing for stability.
Thanks guys for the prompt replies. Always good to save time and money.
Let's cross this off once and for all.
A guitar loses tune because something isn't stable. There is natural stretching in the strings over time, but anything more than that is likely to come from
- Slippage at the tuner: either the string or the gear.
- String slippage at the points of contact: Nut or Bridge.
- Something more serious... like a floppy neck joint or truss rod issue.
Also, I'm assuming you're always tuning up to the note. I think everybody knows this... but it's worth checking.
Work out where the problem is, and if it's a problem with the tuners, then yes... replacing them might help. A properly wound traditional tuner is just as stable as locking tuner of the same quality... it's just easier to string correctly. It's not a hard skill, but given there are people who take their guitars back to the store and pay for string changes, it's clear there's a market.
To eliminate the other possibilities:
- Play the strings, put pressure on the neck. If it goes way out of tune, you have a neck issue. Tuners won't help. This is extremely unlikely, but the most severe.
- Play each string, bend the string behind the nut (the tuner side). If it doesn't come back to tune, your nut needs cutting, lubricating or both. This is the most common cause of tuning instability.
- If you have a TOM bridge, then check for binding there as well by bending the string behind the bridge. Unlikely to have this issue on a strat or tele as there isn't the string movement behind the saddle.
(Yes, half guitars have locking tuners, because I faf about with alternate tunings and string gauges all the time, and it just makes life easier. It doesn't affect tuning stability).
People confuse locking nut with locking tuners. A locking nut removes the friction point over the nut... which is the most likely source of tuning instability... and is one reason these systems return to tune after whammy abuse.
I say they definitely do, especially if you use the whammy a lot. That said, before installing locking tuners be sure to have the nut properly cut and lubed and the saddles lubed up as well. 95% of tuning problems come from there.
Vintage, or Kluson Saf-T-Post style tuners are locking by design. Strung up properly, you'll never have an issue with them. Or any other machine head, really.
As others have said, whammy related tuning problems are usually at the nut.
Properly set up bridge, properly cut bone nut. Kick the crap out of it and it comes right back.
Also...lots of this is because you haven't learned to set it up properly and you have learned it's limitations. Push beyond that...it'll f up.
This is for a trad six screw bridge.
Next time you have the strings off the guitar...
Remove the springs in the back.
Lie the guitar flat.
Back each screw out a few turns so they do not make contact with the plate.
Starting with the two outside screws, tighten them one at a time until the back of the bridge lifts slightly. Loosen until it drops back to the face of the guitar. Then back off a quarter to half turn.
Repeat this with the four inner screws, but back off a half to a full turn.
Put on your springs and strings.
Tune it up.
Adjust the claw to float or deck.
This is an essential part of a setup for a Strat with the trad 6 screw vibrato. Do it wrong and it binds. Do it right, and it sings.
Ha! We were on a summer course together - Memorial University of Newfoundland has a small campus there.
Are we talking guitars here Eb, or you ?
I know it well, it’s across from a recreation Centre where I have a guitar lesson every Saturday morning. Such a small world! Bet you visited The Chequers or The Crown.
I don't know, Could really be either, you decide.
Nope. They don't. My guitars stay pretty much in tune whether they have locking tuners or not. They may be off a few cents but never anything massive.
If my $100 guitars can stay in tune when using the trem, there's no reason a $700 - $1900 Fender can't. I paid $40 for one of those guitars. It stays in tune, as well. It's even got a MIM Fender 6 pt trem on it.
If my guitars can, any Fender or Squier can.
I would start with not using the string trees. Those are bigger issues than the nut in many cases. I think you will get more mileage from that. I know it made a big difference on a few gtrs of mine.
Locking tuners will also help, but the resolution of tuning issues is broader than that
The pub I recall was the Marquis, I think.