First upgrade for tuning stability

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by zamboknee, Mar 26, 2021.

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  1. zamboknee

    zamboknee SS.org Regular

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    I have a Jackson Dinky JSS22 and I'd like to add some tuning stability.
    What would be a good first purchase for that? Tuners? New bridge?
    Also, what components would you recommend?
    Keep in mind this is a $200 guitar so throwing a few hundred dollars at it isn't really what I'm looking for.
    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    Are you having any tuning stability issues now?

    Per my use of the Google, it looks like a model with a strat-style trem. If you don't use it, you can always just add springs, screw-in the claw or even insert something to block it so it doesn't move. That's free or cheap.

    A lot of tuning issues come from an improperly cut nut as the strings can bind. Nut files are cheap. If the cut is fine, you can add graphite (got a pencil?) or other lubricant. Cheap.

    Tuners on cheaper guitars are of low quality and may slip. If they do, replace 'em; better-quality import types (like GFS) are around $35. If they hold well, then don't bother.

    I think you're going to be in good shape.
     
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  3. CM_X5

    CM_X5 SS.org Regular

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    Graphtech nut will help, did that on my JS22-7 and it made a difference. Could also do Graphtech saddles and some locking tuners
     
  4. USMarine75

    USMarine75 The man who is tired of the anus is tired of life Contributor

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    Use a graphite pencil on the nut slots. I think that will cost about 10 cents.
     
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  5. zamboknee

    zamboknee SS.org Regular

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    I should have pointed out that when adjusting with the tuners there's some 'slippage'. In that, it'll be tight as I'm turning and then a little 'looseness' kicks in.
     
  6. nickgray

    nickgray SS.org Regular

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    First of all, stretch your strings several times with a fair bit of force (don't overdo it on the plain strings) when you change your strings. Ideally, stretch them every day when you start playing just before tuning. I know we're all lazy so it's unlikely to happen :lol: But at least re-stretch them every once in a while. Make sure to stretch them in the area that's past the nut too, the lower strings can be a touch slack there, on reversed headstocks especially. Go nuts with the 6th and especially the 7th string, they need a good, strong stretch.

    Second, your nut should be carved properly so that strings that come at an angle to the tuners do so in a smooth way. Your nut almost certainly isn't treated in a proper way, given the price of the guitar, so go to a tech. You'll very-very likely need some height adjustment for the nut slots too. If a string is too high at the nut it can cause tuning issues, so this has to be solved.

    Tuning wise, everybody does it differently I suppose, but I find that picking an open string with a medium-ish force relatively fast, and then tuning up towards the note (meaning your string is initially lower than the note you're tuning it to, and you tune up to it) works pretty well. With the 6th and especially the 7th string, tune them by ear, they get sharp pretty noticeably when you pick them (7th especially), so tuning them straight to the tuner doesn't quite work. They have to be tuned a bit flat. Do it with distortion, it's easier this way (having tons of harmonics helps a lot). Use unison, perfect 5th and octaves (multiple ones on the first half of the fretboard) with adjacent strings. For octaves and unisons - both on adjacent and the one up above.

    Lube the nut and the saddles. Clean and re-lube after each string change.

    Tighten everything that is possible to tighten on your guitar (just don't overdo it, when you feel it's tight - then it is, don't force it).

    Oh, I almost forgot, when you change strings, do no more than 2 wraps around the post for each string, preferably somewhere around 1.5. Measure the correct distance with the help of the tuners themselves (just eyeball it and see how it relates to the distance between the tuners, then adjust accordingly). When you tune, the strings needs to be at pressure - press on the string next (ish) to the tuner, and use the other fingers to raise the string so that it's at pressure. Only then rotate the peg. If the string is loose, your wraps around the peg can be loose, and that's no good. Make sure that the wraps are tight and nice. Don't forget to clip the strings afterwards. Oh, and when you first put the string through the peg and you measured the correct length that you need, twist it at a 90-degree angle so that it raises directly upwards, this will help.

    Extra tip: after you've tuned the string, do a bend. The thing is, the nut is a pretty evil thing and can catch the string just a little bit. When you do a bend, you introduce extra pressure on the fretboard side and the string will slightly move towards the fretboard side. After that - retune. For floating bridges, always pull down a bit after tuning, and also retune.

    Tuners are rarely the cause of tuning problem, the mechanism doesn't actually allow the post to rotate on the string side, you can only rotate it via the peg.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021

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