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fender strat tuning problems


guitar_randy

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Anyone else have a problem with their fender strat going out of tune all the time?Mine constatnly does.Its gotta be the tuners.Alot of people complain of Gibson tuners,but I have 3 Gibsons and none have tuning issues,but the strat doesn't hold tune for nothing.I don't want to have to put locking tuners in.Any other options?
Guitar Randy
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O.K., Randy. I may not be the best qualified to help you here. But, I can say that I have three MIM Strats in my household. All three were bought used. And, none of them have any tuning issues. I asked my son if he had a problem keeping his Strat in tune. His answer was "I can't remember the last time I had to tune it. It stays in tune just fine."

 

Make sure you are wrapping your strings around the tuning machine posts properly, and "locking" the string by turning it over itself.

 

You may, in fact, have a tuning machine problem??? Hopefully others will chime in with other suggestions????

 

Good luck.

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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With all due respect- sincerely, I don't mean to be rude or putting you down- it's almost certainly a set-up and/or stringing (and even tuning) issue. Probably both.

 

It's far easier to show someone how a Strat should be set-up and strung and tuned, than to explain it in words, typed on the internet.

 

Mdrs is right about the proper stringing technique he mentioned above, it's probably similar to the way I put strings on the tuners. Go for as few winds around the tuner-post as possible. Two-&-a-half or three winds is good. (One of the best things about locking-tuners is not having any string wound around the tuner.) Keep the string coiled neatly there.

 

Put a tiny drop of clear Teflon lube in each nut slot, under each string-tree retainer on the headstock (where the strings touch 'em), on each bridge-saddle's string-notch, anywhere that the strings touch anything. Also on the bridge's "knife-edge fulcrum" pivot contact-points, even where the springs connect to the tail-block and claw in back.

 

When you tune, tune UP, never down. That is, tune up to a pitch; if you wind up sharp, above the pitch you want the string to be at, tune down below the desired pitch, gently tug-out any slack behind the nut, etc., and then tune back up to the pitch you're going for. (Tuning downwards and stopping allows for mechanical "backlash" in the tuners, and stored-slack to hang up behind the nut and bridge-saddles and string-trees.)

 

Gently, carefully stretch each string by tugging a little, one at a time, and retuning; repeat until after bending or tugging a string returns without the string going flat. (If a string goes sharp after a bend or being tugged-on, and the trem-bridge is flush to the body and is NOT being pulled back-and-forth by changing string-tensions, they're hanging-up somewhere, like catching and binding in a nut-slot or the like. Seek out the trouble-spot and lube or repair as needed.) Periodically, gently tug out any possible stored-slack from behind the nut, trees, and bridge, and check your tuning.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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A quick add on. If you can manage, go up to a ten guage set or even 11's. Bending is tougher but you will surely have fewer tuning problems and a much better tone overall. And, what Don said about putting the strings on correctly is huge. Check Dan Erlewine's guitar repair book for an easy to follow stringing guide. Also make sure you stretch the strings to get any play out. No more than three turns around the post will also help. I set up guitars (especially strats) for a lot of pro players and they almost exclusively want an 11 guage string set unless of course they are serious country players. Those guys stick with 9's due to the extreme bending required. What set did Stevie Ray use? If memory serves, it was something like 13 or 14 on top. He didn't have any problem with bending or tuning. One final note: I cannot remember more than one or two guitars with bad tuners, and that is over a period of a lot of years.
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Are your neck & middle pickups *very* close to your strings?

 

If they are, screw them down a bit - no, a bit more than that!

 

Seriously!

 

:)

 

G.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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I had the same problem with mine. Keeping the bridge flush to the body helped a ton (sounds like you've done that with it screwed in tight), but I also changed the nut and saddles to graphtecs, and that was it for problems staying in tune! I must say the graphtec saddles softened the tone ever-so-slightly though. Binding at the nut would be something you could check without modifying anything, either fixed with widening the slots or just some lube.
www.myspace.com/darcyhoover
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Are your neck & middle pickups *very* close to your strings?

 

If they are, screw them down a bit - no, a bit more than that!

 

Seriously!

 

:)

 

G.

 

Yeah, Geoff's right- if a Fender Strat-type pickup is too close to the strings, particularly in the neck and middle positions, their rod-magnet polepieces can exert too much pull on the strings and make them play more and more out of tune (and out of tone, too!) as you progress up the fretboard, as each higher fret puts the string even closer to the pickups. The wound, bass-strings are particularly vulnerable to this, what with their lower tension and small-diameter core-wire beneath the outer winding.

 

Note that Brad Paisley recently said in a Guitar Player interview that he sometimes prefers the difference in bridge-pickup tone between Telecasters and Esquires (basically Teles that have only one pickup, at the bridge), citing the way that a Tele's neck-pickup's magnets affect the overtones in the vibrating strings even though the bridge-p'up is selected. (While not a tuning issue, this illustrates the strong pull of those rod-magnets on the strings.)

 

So... if you still have tuning troubles after all else has been tried, especially on the 5th and 6th strings, and they're inconsistant and dependant on how high up the neck you're playing, it could be that the pickups are too close to the strings.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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By the way, this is also the time of year in many places when seasonal humidity and temperature changes can have a drastic effect on the neck's relief, necessitating a little truss-rod adjustment. This can and will make the guitar go out of tune as the neck flexes one way or the other, even though you might have left it on the stand or in its case all tuned-up. (My LP did this to me last week.)

 

If needed, on a Strat, go with as straight and flat a neck, with as little relief, as you can get away with considering your action, string type and gauge, and playing style. Re-check action and intonation if you adjust the truss-rod, and tweak accordingly.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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i have a feeling the bridge is raised above the body slightly at the rear as Buzz mentioned. this is a standard setup for srats but it can cause tuning problems.

get the bridge flat on the body for increased tuning stability.

if the nut isn't pinching and the trees are not grabbing you will have less problems.

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I used to have tuning problems until I downloaded the proper technique for stringing a guitar. Doc is right. It makes all the difference in the world. I have a MIM Strat and it never goes out of tune! Well, the high E once in a while. I also have a $100 SX LP copy, and after tightening the hardware, stringing it properly, and stretching the strings, it never goes out of tune! Cheap tuners and all. Not to be insulting or anything, but make sure you are stringing the guitar right.
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