Tuning Slipping ?

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Tuning Slipping ?

Post by Meadows on Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:57 pm

Just wanted to run this one by you guys very quickly, prior to surgery taking place, in case any of you had experienced similar.

The G and top E machine heads on my Cutlass classic (3 aside) seem to be slipping or at least the tuning is...badly. A couple of times I have taken her out of the case this week and the top E has just dropped almost an octave and last night at the studio I was constantly almost over winding the G to keep her in pitch.

The tuning on this is normally so solid, they are always new strings but that is never an issue, stretched and gig ready.

Maybe the cogs are worn or the retainer screw needs a tighten?

If it is the cogs, do you know if replacements are available?

Many thanks


Last edited by Meadows on Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:01 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : wording)

Meadows
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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by hoax on Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:35 am

I would try the nut slots first. If the string is binding it can be the cause. You will hear a creaking nose when tuning or detuning. If so, slightly widen the slots and lube them. I use a pencil lead/vaseline mix.

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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by corsair on Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:26 am

I use a teflon paste that I bought for gunsmithing - very sparingly!! - on all of the contact points; nut slots and saddles etc.

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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by Barry on Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:20 am

In my experience, tuning instability is usually caused by loose machine heads. I see it a lot in the shop where customers complain about their guitar's not staying "in tune". This is particularly suspect in your case where the culprits are on the treble side of the guitar.

Slot and saddle lubrication is always helpful but assuming there is no obvious visible damage, check that the post nut is snugly adjusted (not over tight, but firm) and that the little screw at the end of the tuning knob is similarly tight. It exerts horizontal pressure on the post via the crush washer, while the nut clamps the unit down vertically. They both need to be tight in order to prevent 'wobbling' particularly on a trem bridge equipped guitar.

And speaking of trems, you should always check that the ball end of the strings are firmly seated in their string thru's. It does happen that sometimes they bind part way up and later give way causing the string to lose pitch. Fender invented the Bullet end to help avoid that possibility, but it can still happen even with those (don't ask).  Rolling Eyes

edit: Also, don't underestimate the importance of "stretching" your strings several times until you reach pitch. That ensures the windings are good and settled before you play.

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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by Meadows on Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:54 am

Thank you guys, some great advice there. Gigging with the spare tonight but tomorrow I'm going to give her a good all round inspection, clean and lubrication and see if that can't sort the problem....really helpful cheers  Very Happy

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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by Meadows on Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:53 am

Ok, almost there, however due to having never exposed the cog or the bottom of the string holding post before, how do I best remove the small disc plate on the under side of the machine head with the wording "Made in Japan" on it (if at all)

Do I push through from the inside or carefully prise it from the outside?

Many thanks in advance  Shocked

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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by Barry on Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:10 pm

Why are you disassembling the machine head Meadows?  scratch 
The dust cover should pop off with a little push from the inside. But if it's a sealed unit it should not need lubrication at all. And even on the odd chance that it does, that still would not address your stated concern of "slipping". Lubrication would make things slip more, would it not?

If you have tried what I suggested above and are still experiencing slipping it sounds like the gearing is buggered. Replacing the gear or post, while not completely impossible, is problematic at best. I would just replace them all, preferably with a set of locking type tuners.

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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by Meadows on Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:37 pm

Hi Barry

"Slot and saddle lubrication is always helpful but assuming there is no obvious visible damage, check that the post nut is snugly adjusted (not over tight, but firm) and that the little screw at the end of the tuning knob is similarly tight. It exerts horizontal pressure on the post via the crush washer, while the nut clamps the unit down vertically. They both need to be tight in order to prevent 'wobbling'"

Thanks for your quick reply. Hand brake now firmly on and disassembly halted. I misinterpreted "post nut" for an adjustment that should be made inside the machine head underneath the post and not the one on top.  Sleep ( Clue in the word "NUT") Doooooohhh

Ok that makes sense now. Having tightened them to what feels right, there is still a little play/wobble but that would be normal I guess.

These are sealed units but having adjusted them all and followed the rest of the advice given earlier, fingers crossed we should be back in business.

Many thanks again Barry  Smile

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Re: Tuning Slipping ?

Post by Barry on Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:20 pm

Yay!
Great stuff, and good luck wif it all.

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GUITARS : http://legend.barryeames.com/guitars.html
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