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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 12:23 PM
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    How do you keep your guitar in tune?

    Okay, so this is the thread where I look like a moron. I have been playing guitar for over 10 years, but I've never had interest in the inner workings of the guitar or it's individual parts. Because of that, I have nowhere near the guitar IQ that all of you have when it comes to sound....I just play.

    So here's my problem:

    I have a Fender Squire (waits for everyone to stop laughing).....with a tremolo bar. I can't even attempt to use the tremolo because it throws everything waaaaaay out of tune. Even when I don't use it, I have a difficult time keeping it in tune after a song or two. My question is this: What techniques/gear do you use to keep it in tune.

    Does the guitar itself make that much of a difference? Do you need a double locking Rose to be able to use a tremolo like Eddie (I know he didn't use a Rose on the early VH I guitars)?

    I have heard everything from changing the tuners, to getting a double locking tremolo, stringing a certain way, boiling strings, oiling the nut (whatever the ef that means), to changing strings regularly.

    I already know I should probably string my guitars a little better. The tuners look like barbed wire with the way it's wrapped around (maybe a slight exaggeration ).

    Anybody have any suggestions?
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  2. #2
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    08.21.17 @ 12:12 PM
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    It sounds like it could be the intonation.

    Most times if a guitar is like that its the intonation.

    It could be the wrong gauge of strings and requires the intonation to be adjusted.

    May also be the nut. Put some guitar nut graphite in there to smooth it out a bit.

    Without seeing the guitar, that's all I have.

    Anyone else?
    One noticeable difference between Judas Priest and Metallica...
    ...Judas Priest only has one gay guy in the band.

  3. #3
    Top Of The World solo-ed's Avatar
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    09.07.17 @ 06:23 PM
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    I"m no pro either but I would get some locking tuners, replace the nut with a graphite one, and stretch the strings out really well.

  4. #4
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    08.21.17 @ 12:12 PM
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    The strings shouldn't be wound too many times on the tuner. I usually cut mine about 2 inches past the peg its going on and wind from there. Always under the hole for one and over the hole for the remaining 2 (rotation).

    Also, just thought of this, perhaps the tremolo springs need to be a bit tighter...
    One noticeable difference between Judas Priest and Metallica...
    ...Judas Priest only has one gay guy in the band.

  5. #5
    Little Dreamer CYMRU629's Avatar
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    11.12.08 @ 06:19 AM
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    Well, it mostly depends on how much you want to use the trem.

    If you're on a budget, and just want some extra stability with tuning or just want to add a little "flutter" to lead passages, I'd recommend getting Sperzel tuners and a Graph Tech nut.
    Another idea to help the new tuners and nut with tuning stability would be to get the bridge set to rest flat against the body.
    That not only helps with tuning, but especially with tone.

    If you have the means, and you want to go full dive-bombing, take-no-prisoners Hendrix/VH style, I'd recommend getting an Original (NOT the crappy licensed versions) Floyd Rose- equipped guitar.

    Hope that helps!
    It's Rock and Roll..enjoy the f*****ing ride!

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  6. #6
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    11.17.15 @ 08:56 PM
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    You should probably start by adjusting the trem so it rests flush to the top of the body. I know it's a vintage trem, but alot of times, they are set to "float" a bit, meaning you can pull up on the bar and raise the pitch. If this is the case with your Squier, try tightening the two screws that hold the trem claw in the rear until the trem sets flat against the top of the guitar preventing you from being able to pull up on the bar.

    It would also probably be a good idea to check your intonation at this point and make any necessary saddle adjustments. If your intonation is off, then your guitar will appear "out of tune" as you play up and down the neck.
    My suggestion would be to eliminate that possibility and make your adjustments now.

    There are a few "tricks" to keeping a vintage style trem in tune.
    Some work better than others, depending on the guitar and the players playing style.

    IMO, in addition to the bridge adjustments noted above, these are probably the most effective ways to help keep your guitar in tune without the help of locking tuners or a double locking tremolo unit.

    1) Oiling the nut ...
    You can use oil or graphite to help lubricate the nut and help prevent strings from getting hung up and going out of tune when the trem bar is used.

    2) How you string your guitar ...
    Avoid alot of windings when putting your strings on. The more windings, the more slack. The more slack, the more the strings have a tendency to slip out of tune.

    3) Stretch out your strings ...
    When changing strings, take a moment to stretch them out.
    Pull em, yank on em, bend em, go to town! The better job you do stretching them out, the less likely they are to stretch out on their own when you use your tremolo.

  7. #7
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    11.17.15 @ 08:56 PM
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    Sorry guys ... I just noticed most of you already covered all of this.
    I guess I'm just a slow typer.

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 12:23 PM
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    How do you go about checking/fixing your intonation? I have noticed this to be a problem.

    By the way, you guys rock for helping me out.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  9. #9
    Eruption LeftyVanHalen's Avatar
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    08.05.17 @ 01:41 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino5150 View Post
    You should probably start by adjusting the trem so it rests flush to the top of the body. I know it's a vintage trem, but alot of times, they are set to "float" a bit, meaning you can pull up on the bar and raise the pitch. If this is the case with your Squier, try tightening the two screws that hold the trem claw in the rear until the trem sets flat against the top of the guitar preventing you from being able to pull up on the bar.

    It would also probably be a good idea to check your intonation at this point and make any necessary saddle adjustments. If your intonation is off, then your guitar will appear "out of tune" as you play up and down the neck.
    My suggestion would be to eliminate that possibility and make your adjustments now.

    There are a few "tricks" to keeping a vintage style trem in tune.
    Some work better than others, depending on the guitar and the players playing style.

    IMO, in addition to the bridge adjustments noted above, these are probably the most effective ways to help keep your guitar in tune without the help of locking tuners or a double locking tremolo unit.

    1) Oiling the nut ...
    You can use oil or graphite to help lubricate the nut and help prevent strings from getting hung up and going out of tune when the trem bar is used.

    2) How you string your guitar ...
    Avoid alot of windings when putting your strings on. The more windings, the more slack. The more slack, the more the strings have a tendency to slip out of tune.

    3) Stretch out your strings ...
    When changing strings, take a moment to stretch them out.
    Pull em, yank on em, bend em, go to town! The better job you do stretching them out, the less likely they are to stretch out on their own when you use your tremolo.

    This is exactly what I would suggest as well. I had a strat with a vintage trem and I was always sounding out of tune after I tuned...I finally realized that my hand rests on the trem when I play and the trem was not flush with the body. When I rested my hand on the trem to play it would slightly press on the trem and the strings would sound out of tune.

    I am willing to bet your trem is slightly floating.

    As for using the trem for really deep dives...be prepared for major tuning issues. It just isnt meant for that. If that's what you want...get a floyd!

  10. #10
    Eruption
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    12.14.17 @ 01:28 PM
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    3) Stretch out your strings ...
    When changing strings, take a moment to stretch them out.
    Pull em, yank on em, bend em, go to town! The better job you do stretching them out, the less likely they are to stretch out on their own when you use your tremolo.[/QUOTE]


    BINGO! This is the number 1 reason most people have trouble staying in tune. Many guitarists simply do not know how to properly stretch their strings after restringing.
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  11. #11
    Eruption jimmyw's Avatar
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    08.10.17 @ 06:04 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    Okay, so this is the thread where I look like a moron. I have been playing guitar for over 10 years, but I've never had interest in the inner workings of the guitar or it's individual parts. Because of that, I have nowhere near the guitar IQ that all of you have when it comes to sound....I just play.

    So here's my problem:

    I have a Fender Squire (waits for everyone to stop laughing).....with a tremolo bar. I can't even attempt to use the tremolo because it throws everything waaaaaay out of tune. Even when I don't use it, I have a difficult time keeping it in tune after a song or two. My question is this: What techniques/gear do you use to keep it in tune.

    Does the guitar itself make that much of a difference? Do you need a double locking Rose to be able to use a tremolo like Eddie (I know he didn't use a Rose on the early VH I guitars)?

    I have heard everything from changing the tuners, to getting a double locking tremolo, stringing a certain way, boiling strings, oiling the nut (whatever the ef that means), to changing strings regularly.

    I already know I should probably string my guitars a little better. The tuners look like barbed wire with the way it's wrapped around (maybe a slight exaggeration ).

    Anybody have any suggestions?
    I'd try all the above suggestions from everyone. Sounds like you're familiar enough to look into doing a little modification, so here's a relatively inexpensive item you can try if the suggestions don't do it for you. I've not used one, but I've heard they work quite well:

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...&CJPID=2221397

    It's not rocket science to install either, if you want to do it yourself. Your local guitar center should have someone who can install it in less than 15 minutes, if you want to let someone else do it.
    We train dogs for cattle and sheep herding. They're very different. Sheep are a lot like supermodels - they bunch together, they rattle very easily. Cattle are like drunks at a hockey game - two will want to fight: "Who are you and what's with your badge?"

    Two of them will be like: "Leave them alone, let's go see the game." Another one is lost: "Where'd you guys go?" The dog has to deal with all of that. You work them off a whistle. It's the original video game.
    - DLR 2012

    "I like to listen to my music, not look at it on a spectrum analyzer." - tcantafio

    Van Halen reminded us last night of why we loved them in the first place. They helped us to get past all the bullshit around us and remind us to have a little fucking fun in the midst of it all. - Reckless Fable

  12. #12
    On Fire TAMPA VH's Avatar
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    09.09.11 @ 02:13 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyw View Post
    I'd try all the above suggestions from everyone. Sounds like you're familiar enough to look into doing a little modification, so here's a relatively inexpensive item you can try if the suggestions don't do it for you. I've not used one, but I've heard they work quite well:

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...&CJPID=2221397

    It's not rocket science to install either, if you want to do it yourself. Your local guitar center should have someone who can install it in less than 15 minutes, if you want to let someone else do it.
    All fantastic advice for the young man. The only thing i will add is... there is alot to be said with regard to the quality of the instrument you play as well with regard to tuning issues.

  13. #13
    Eruption LeftyVanHalen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAMPA VH View Post
    All fantastic advice for the young man. The only thing i will add is... there is alot to be said with regard to the quality of the instrument you play as well with regard to tuning issues.
    This is very true. Not knocking the squire but it could have horrible tuners or just overall low quality parts will hurt your tuning as well

  14. #14
    Romeo Delight
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    07.11.08 @ 12:04 AM
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    i agree with cy you can either spend $80 on some spriezel locking tuners or drop maybe $400 on a Floyd Rose equipped guitar if you have a little more than that i would go for a Schecter C1 Hellraiser FR or a B.C. Rich WMD Warbeast both are equipped with real Floyds and are made with good parts. and both are only $700 which is a pretty good deal. Also look into the Kramer 1984 reissue if you ant to go for an EVH style 1 pickup guitar. And by the way don't feel like a moron for asking this question it is always a treat to help a fellow guitarist.
    "MY FAVORTITE THING ABOUT MY RIG IS MY PEDALBOARD. MAN, I WENT TO HOME DEPOT, BOUGHT A FEW METAL STRAPS AND BOLTED THOSE MOTHER F**KIN' STOMPBOXES DOWN! SCREW THAT WIMPY VELCRO! YOU NEED METAL!"-Zakk Wylde

  15. #15
    Eruption jimmyw's Avatar
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    08.10.17 @ 06:04 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAMPA VH View Post
    All fantastic advice for the young man. The only thing i will add is... there is alot to be said with regard to the quality of the instrument you play as well with regard to tuning issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeftyVanHalen View Post
    This is very true. Not knocking the squire but it could have horrible tuners or just overall low quality parts will hurt your tuning as well
    Exactly. I've played for years, owned dozens of guitars, been through the whole "build your own" phase and realized I'm too lazy to do it right. I'm just not meticulous enough to get it right. My main guitar for the past 5 years has been a Fender American Deluxe Strat. It's got a regular two-lug, floating tremolo and locking tuners, but no locking nut. It stays in tune very well for a non-Floyd trem. I attribute that to the quality of the instrument compared to a lower-range Strat. I can dive-bomb and come back in tune more times than not and if I break a string, the whole guitar gets back in tune with itself as soon as I re-string it and tune the new string. Plus, its WAY quicker and easier to tune than a Floyd-style trem, and I need that because I play in a little cover band and we have to get our shit together quickly in bars and other places. I love Floyd-equipped guitars, but I just don't have the patience to fuck with them. I play, have fun, get paid(sometimes) and get out.

    So yeah, it might be worth your while to drop a little more $$$ on a better quality guitar if you want to be able to tune it better. If not, all these suggestions should help you out alot.
    Last edited by jimmyw; 11.15.07 at 05:57 PM.
    We train dogs for cattle and sheep herding. They're very different. Sheep are a lot like supermodels - they bunch together, they rattle very easily. Cattle are like drunks at a hockey game - two will want to fight: "Who are you and what's with your badge?"

    Two of them will be like: "Leave them alone, let's go see the game." Another one is lost: "Where'd you guys go?" The dog has to deal with all of that. You work them off a whistle. It's the original video game.
    - DLR 2012

    "I like to listen to my music, not look at it on a spectrum analyzer." - tcantafio

    Van Halen reminded us last night of why we loved them in the first place. They helped us to get past all the bullshit around us and remind us to have a little fucking fun in the midst of it all. - Reckless Fable

 

 

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