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The Fabled Les Paul/Gibson tuning issues?

Trans-Am

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
4,683
This is the whole fun thing about them tuning issues etc. You really need to get to know your Paul in and out.:##

Once you get her where you would interact with such aggression and smoothness as to play her? You will will know where her sweet spot is and you remember how you tweaked her from all the adjustments and swapping from pickups to string gauges/cutting nuts etc. You would have forgotten all that tuning issues are just all in your head.:peace2
 

STC

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
95
RandK and Trans-Am - thanks for the responses.


Am based in the UK - will see what book options are available. Am pretty hands on with other stuff, not sure what the mental block is here. The more I read about this stuff, with a little care and incremental changes - the more do-able it seems.


So... the action will be going up a touch on classic and R9. The satin will need a bit more thought.


Just at work but looking forward to getting some playing in tonight - cheers!
 

Trans-Am

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Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
4,683
Good Luck as you will get there as well as a good technician just in case etc. Good to ask questions as well from them so to get an idea of the basics. There you can little by little do all of that stuff and get her where your personal taste and adjustments is just right there for your playing pleasure. :2cool
We all went down that road and I am still learning other shit here and there with my other instruments.:hmm

Online sources as well helps besides the great helping members here that are more than willing to share openly and privately.:peace2

Cheers and enjoy the chase!:salude
 

lns

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
29
2 simple mods I have done that have improved my Gibson's tuning stability;
1: Widening the back of the nut slots (with a welding tip cleaner) so that the strings are "eased" off in the direction towards the tuning peg, rather than at a 90 degree angle.
2: locking tuners.

I can't know if it was the tuners or the widening that was most helpful but it worked. Yesterday I could jam for several songs, including solos with G & B string bends & when I checked the strobe it was almost perfect. I think the locking tuners are most important because previous widening of the back of the nut slots didn't improve tuning this radically.


Assuming you already use nut sauce or some other lubricant on nut slots & saddles. Personally, I prefer a dedicated lubricant to pencil graphite.
 
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WytLytnyn

New member
Joined
Feb 20, 2002
Messages
88
2 simple mods I have done that have improved my Gibson's tuning stability;
1: Widening the back of the nut slots (with a welding tip cleaner) so that the strings are "eased" off in the direction towards the tuning peg, rather than at a 90 degree angle.
2: locking tuners.

I can't know if it was the tuners or the widening that was most helpful but it worked. Yesterday I could jam for several songs, including solos with G & B string bends & when I checked the strobe it was almost perfect. I think the locking tuners are most important because previous widening of the back of the nut slots didn't improve tuning this radically.


Assuming you already use nut sauce or some other lubricant on nut slots & saddles. Personally, I prefer a dedicated lubricant to pencil graphite.

I seem to have one LPS that has none of the issues but my LP Gothic seems to have binding issue with the B string which I'm attributing to the nut. Graphite seems to help slightly (where it has worked pretty well on other axes) but I still have occasional problems.

I intend to have the guitar Plek'd, incongruities addressed and a new nut installed by a great local shop here.

Another thing that I've been thinking about with Gibsons in general is that I wonder what might effect "staggered height" tuning posts might have on issues like this....? I bought a Suhr Classic Antique S, essentially combining many qualities of vintage strats with modern improvements (staggered height locking tuners, Gotoh 501 bridge, "silent" electronics) which pushed me to make a significant investment beyond the exclusivity that Gibsons have enjoyed in my collection for the past 20 years. Never thought I'd own a strat....but I gotta admit, its a helluva unit. Time will tell if it gets traded for something else.....

Thoughts?

Note: I know that there have been changes to the Gibson LP lineup and that there are "modern" LPs that have updates in the form of PNP wiring harnesses, sculpted neck joints etc. I haven't taken a look at these in any detail so please forgive any oversights if someone had the same thoughts in Nashville.
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,968
This is the whole fun thing about them tuning issues etc. You really need to get to know your Paul in and out.:##

Once you get her where you would interact with such aggression and smoothness as to play her? You will will know where her sweet spot is and you remember how you tweaked her from all the adjustments and swapping from pickups to string gauges/cutting nuts etc. You would have forgotten all that tuning issues are just all in your head.:peace2
Very good observation ! Have you been chatting up my tech ? As you have described me to a tee ( damn Golf in my brain ) I have only one Gibson Les Paul that has drove me nuts , to the extent that I trashed the nut and the ABR-1 bridge and it is with my tech to replace and resolve this issue once and for all !
 

musekatcher

New member
Joined
Apr 15, 2018
Messages
135
I think it just takes a little more skill to set up the nut on a Gibson. Anyone can deal with the nut on a Fender.

I'm finding this to be the case, after hundreds of setups, including Gibsons. My playing has changed, and I now bend A LOT. I play a tele most of the time, but recently playing my LP more, and I'm getting nut slippage on every tune with the Gibson, where I get none on my Fenders (or my 60's ES). I've worked the nut several times, tried different forms of dry lube, and those 15/17th fret bends aren't going back to pitch. I think the black nut is Corian. I've noticed, the nut is chiseled, so the contact area with the string is pretty small, almost pointed contact. Fenders and older Gibsons have a longer string contact, more of a string slot bed with some decent length. I'm looking at my 40's, 50's, and 60's Gibsons that don't have this chiseled shaped nut. I'm wondering if this is part of my issue. I'm about to replace the nut with Bone or Micarta or something else, and use the older profile. It will get fixed.
 

Billy Porter

Active member
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
1,095
Giving it ago as I'm relunctant to cut away at my LP nut (not worried about my other stuff). Seems to do the trick


<a href="https://imgur.com/YYkDgKO"><img src="https://i.imgur.com/YYkDgKO.jpg" title="source: imgur.com" /></a>
 

lns

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
29
I seem to have one LPS that has none of the issues but my LP Gothic seems to have binding issue with the B string which I'm attributing to the nut. Graphite seems to help slightly (where it has worked pretty well on other axes) but I still have occasional problems.

I intend to have the guitar Plek'd, incongruities addressed and a new nut installed by a great local shop here.

Another thing that I've been thinking about with Gibsons in general is that I wonder what might effect "staggered height" tuning posts might have on issues like this....? I bought a Suhr Classic Antique S, essentially combining many qualities of vintage strats with modern improvements (staggered height locking tuners, Gotoh 501 bridge, "silent" electronics) which pushed me to make a significant investment beyond the exclusivity that Gibsons have enjoyed in my collection for the past 20 years. Never thought I'd own a strat....but I gotta admit, its a helluva unit. Time will tell if it gets traded for something else.....

Thoughts?

Note: I know that there have been changes to the Gibson LP lineup and that there are "modern" LPs that have updates in the form of PNP wiring harnesses, sculpted neck joints etc. I haven't taken a look at these in any detail so please forgive any oversights if someone had the same thoughts in Nashville.
Fender-style instruments need string trees or staggered tuners because the headstock is straight. Gibson’s headstocks are steeply angled backwards, which eliminates the need for string trees.
it’s because there needs to be pressure on the string towards the back of the but slot so that the string between the front of the nut slot & bridge can ring freely. If you have a completely straight headstock with neither string trees nor staggered tuners the string might wobble inside the slots when you play & it will sound bad. Adding string trees to solve this inherent design flaw with every fender guitar introduces tuning issues because you’re adding another point of friction for the string to stick to, which is why staggered tuners exist. Some say it’s not enough of an angle with staggered tuners but it’s better than using string trees because they always mess with the tuning IMO.

there is a string tree type product for Gibsons called the string butler which forces the string angle to become straight, but it didn’t really solve the issue, plus it looked bad IMO.

I used to pencil my nut slots but when I started using Big Bends Nut Sauce it really was an improvement. Every little thing helps.

if you get a professional to cut your nut or install a new one, ask him to cut it to accommodate for the ADGB string pull.
I assume professionals install & cut the nuts at Gibson yet their slots always have a straight back of the nut slot edge, whether it’s on the E string slots or the D & G string slots
 

Texas Blues

Active member
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
4,641
I have 5 Gibson guitars.

2 Les Pauls.

A Jr.

2 V's.

All with P90's.

Both V's have Bigsby's.

As does one Lester.

I also have a National Resonator.

Some other cheapass guitars.

I've never had tuning issues.

Never had tuners slip.

Don't use locking tuners.

Don't use nut sauce.

Graphite.

Pencil lead.

Wienerschlicker.

Wham whams.

Or Zuzu's.

I'm 60 years old.

And play guitars.

Ever day.
 

lns

New member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
29
I have 5 Gibson guitars.

2 Les Pauls.

A Jr.

2 V's.

All with P90's.

Both V's have Bigsby's.

As does one Lester.

I also have a National Resonator.

Some other cheapass guitars.

I've never had tuning issues.

Never had tuners slip.

Don't use locking tuners.

Don't use nut sauce.

Graphite.

Pencil lead.

Wienerschlicker.

Wham whams.

Or Zuzu's.

I'm 60 years old.

And play guitars.

Ever day.
Good for you! I’m 35 years old, have 3 Gibsons & have played many more. I have never played a Gibson that stays in tune as well as a straight string travel design. I have never met anyone IRL that didn’t have the same problem with all of his Gibsons.
Some are better than others though, but none as good as a Straight headstock instrument.
 

Texas Blues

Active member
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
4,641
Good for you! I’m 35 years old, have 3 Gibsons & have played many more. I have never played a Gibson that stays in tune as well as a straight string travel design. I have never met anyone IRL that didn’t have the same problem with all of his Gibsons.
Some are better than others though, but none as good as a Straight headstock instrument.

But of course you are right.

I can't believe that I and others.

Especially on this forum.

Were so duped and mislead.

Into thinking.

That Gibson guitars stay in tune.

As good as other guitars.

Gibson sucks!
 

mattnew33

New member
Joined
Jul 14, 2016
Messages
138
The only 2 Gibsons I've ever had tuning struggles with....
20191016_161957.jpg

For that matter, the only 2 guitars I've ever had tuning struggles with....
 

barrysingh102

New member
Joined
Nov 11, 2019
Messages
1
I just bought a new Les paul standard pro epiphone guitar ...It sounds amazing and I love it. But I can't keep the G string in tune. I took the guitar back to the store and told the guy I wanted to exchange it with the same model. tried 3 different guitars of the same model and they all kept going out of tune. looked it up on the internet and come to find out the gibsons/lespauls are notorous for having tuning problems. Shareit apk vidmate app
 
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TcRoc

New member
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
33
My LP's stay in tune better than my guitars with locking nuts/Floyd Rose Trems.
Proper set up
Proper Nut Slots
and Big Benz Nut Sauce Always.

It also amazes me how many guys tune their guitar wrong as well and wonder why its going out of tune
 

Russfalkowski

New member
Joined
Mar 4, 2020
Messages
1
So I've watched a bunch of Youtube vids, and even had folks comment back stage at shows that Gibson's don't stay in tune. "nah brah, I need a floyd rose just to stay in tune dude... I don't even use the wammy, just the locking nut" (to later go on stage and make faces while imitating Dave Mustain... poorly...)

I've never noticed this being an issue, and I've owned 6 of em over the years. Any tuning issues i did have where either from playing very very hard, broken necks/heal joints or some other physical damage.

The story goes that because of the extreme headstock angle, and the compound angle of the D and G strings, the D and G strings will skip high because of bind at the nut, or some such BS, Hence Gibson going so far as to install brass nuts, with a zero fret, or graphite nuts (both blasphemy BTW) or the robo tuners that some folks like.

Personally, the one and only Les Paul I had the had tuning issues was solved by having it set up correctly, and winding the strings in an even and tight fasion, I.E. not a ball of yarn on the headstock. Poof guitar that would not stay in tune for 10 minutes has been in tune for about a month now.... with regular play, and not even in a temperature controlled environment.

Anyhow, I ramble... Whats yer thoughts on the Fabled Gibson Tuning issues

All my Les Pauls and SG’s that came with white colored nuts work just fine with no tuning issues whatsoever. That being said, I have a Les Paul that came with a black nut that was lifeless and had horrible tuning stability. The material is different , with the black nut feeling much softer compared to the white nut. I replaced with a Tusq nut and now it plays and sounds awesome and alive
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,968
My LP's stay in tune better than my guitars with locking nuts/Floyd Rose Trems.
Proper set up
Proper Nut Slots
and Big Benz Nut Sauce Always.

It also amazes me how many guys tune their guitar wrong as well and wonder why its going out of tune

Please share on how to properly tune a Les Paul/ or any other guitar ?
 
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