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The Fabled Les Paul/Gibson tuning issues?

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,968
There is a video in the thread that shows just that.

Perfect explanation and no evidence to support your remark . How lame when you make a statement and then refer me to watch a video . I certainly know very well how to tune a guitar from playing for 43 years .
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
9,973
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


Because:

Played correctly a Gibson Les Paul is DESIGNED...

to knock the G-Strings clear off'n the fans!
 

bildo

Member
Joined
May 18, 2010
Messages
89
I did not read every post, so forgive me if someone has said this.

Some do not know how to cut a nut for Gibson style head stock. I seem to think that Gibson does not know anymore either. :)

The keys to a successful Gibson style nut is three fold.
1. Shallow slots that are polished and to string gauge.
2. The fallaway on the back of the nut must be pronounced. To keep the angles out of the groove.
3. A, D, G and B slots need to be faded in the direction of the post. It is a subtle curve.

Been doing this and satisfying Gibson customers for years.

It is sticking and ticking on the angle. It can sound like it is the bridge saddle too. Had a customer swear it was ticking at the saddle. Fix the slot to his no's and handed it to him. No more tick at the saddle. These guitars can be tricky.
 

John Vasco

Active member
Joined
Jun 23, 2002
Messages
2,052
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.

Well, you ain't met me or Texas Blues!

Mid-'30s? Wish I was. Been stringing and tuning my Gibsons since 1970...

Anyway, I posted this on page 2 of this thread, so it may have got lost in the mists of time for new readers and posters of this thread, yourself included:

"Somewhat late to the party, but for what it's worth, here's what I have posted on another forum:
"A badly cut nut is not, per se, a tuning problem. It is a badly cut nut problem. That needs to be addressed independently of anything else, either by having the slots cut correctly or the nut replaced. A nut problem

Ditto for tuners. All the tuner does is hold the string. If a tuner's gears are slipping, it is a TUNER problem, not a tuning problem. Replace the tuner with one that operates correctly. A tuner problem.

When nut and tuners are OK, the problem comes down to the individual person stabilising the tuning of the strings by making sure they go through the procedure to take all slack out of them. That is not done by tuning down and just reaching pitch. Just do that, and the guitar will go out of tune in a couple of minutes. The number of times I've seen people do that at jams and gigs... And then they lament that their guitar won't stay in tune..."

I also posted this:
"First of all, read this:
Tuning – the Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #45 | DrKevGuitar.com

Read the above link, and absorb it completely. It may disappoint you to read that the guitar, being a tempered instrument, will never be in tune perfectly. In other words, we all have to live with the slight imperfections, overall, in tuning a guitar.

Obviously, the first thing to get right is the intonation, and that is not a difficult thing to learn, and a trained ear or a good tuner will get you there, as far as possible.

You also need to break in your strings so that any slack is taken out of them. This involves stretching and pulling them, and returning them to pitch. Once they are stable, and intonated, you are well on your way.

I will reiterate what others have said above regarding the pressure you apply to the strings when fretting, PARTICULARLY in the lower register around the first three frets. An additional thing that you should do, which I don't think has been mentioned, is that you should always tune to the 'attack'. This simply means that you should tune your guitar applying the pressure you would normally apply to the fretted strings when playing. This requires you to tune to fretted positions, not to open strings. What you should NOT do is tune with what is termed a 'soft' hand (i.e. very lightly) and then play with your normal fretting pressure. If you do, it will sound out in many positions.

Given what I have said in my second paragraph, what I do at home, and out gigging, is to tune the first, second, fourth and fifth strings to pitch. I then tune the third string a few cents flat, and likewise the sixth string. You should then find the slight dissonance you expect from the third string when playing an open 'G' or 'C' chord will sound somewhat like a 12-string; 'E' and 'D' in the first position should sound OK. Likewise the sixth string tuned down a few cents should give the same slight dissonance in the root position, but moving up the neck and playing barre chords (say major chords), the sixth should sound fine against the octave fourth string. For example, 7th fret fourth string against the 5th fret sixth string should sound fine.

The nut is a 'set-up' issue which impacts upon the tuning. The 'G' is particularly prone to 'binding', given the angle it is coming through the nut at, which increases the chances of binding, particularly when bending the string while soloing. It is a matter of working the slot until it no longer binds when you bend the string.

One final set-up point. Check you bridge saddles also. When tuned to pitch, make sure there is absolutely no chance of movement in those saddles. Might sound like a statement of the bleedin' obvious with the guitar tuned to pitch and the downward pressure exerted on the saddles, but there is no harm in checking everything possible is OK."

Some of the above repeats what has already been said."

And I'd take a Gibson over a straight-string pull Banjocaster any day...
 

smithclarkson02

New member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
2
Les Paul's have more downpressure at the nut, so the strings can get pinched when bent. When you restring add graphite (from a pencil, or you can buy 'nutsauce') to the nut slots before the strings. If that doesn't help, you may want to get a tech to sand the nut grooves to allow for better sliding of the strings.
9Apps VidMate app VLC
 
Last edited:

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
3,968
Well, you ain't met me or Texas Blues!

Mid-'30s? Wish I was. Been stringing and tuning my Gibsons since 1970...

Anyway, I posted this on page 2 of this thread, so it may have got lost in the mists of time for new readers and posters of this thread, yourself included:

"Somewhat late to the party, but for what it's worth, here's what I have posted on another forum:
"A badly cut nut is not, per se, a tuning problem. It is a badly cut nut problem. That needs to be addressed independently of anything else, either by having the slots cut correctly or the nut replaced. A nut problem

Ditto for tuners. All the tuner does is hold the string. If a tuner's gears are slipping, it is a TUNER problem, not a tuning problem. Replace the tuner with one that operates correctly. A tuner problem.

When nut and tuners are OK, the problem comes down to the individual person stabilising the tuning of the strings by making sure they go through the procedure to take all slack out of them. That is not done by tuning down and just reaching pitch. Just do that, and the guitar will go out of tune in a couple of minutes. The number of times I've seen people do that at jams and gigs... And then they lament that their guitar won't stay in tune..."

I also posted this:
"First of all, read this:
Tuning – the Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #45 | DrKevGuitar.com

Read the above link, and absorb it completely. It may disappoint you to read that the guitar, being a tempered instrument, will never be in tune perfectly. In other words, we all have to live with the slight imperfections, overall, in tuning a guitar.

Obviously, the first thing to get right is the intonation, and that is not a difficult thing to learn, and a trained ear or a good tuner will get you there, as far as possible.

You also need to break in your strings so that any slack is taken out of them. This involves stretching and pulling them, and returning them to pitch. Once they are stable, and intonated, you are well on your way.

I will reiterate what others have said above regarding the pressure you apply to the strings when fretting, PARTICULARLY in the lower register around the first three frets. An additional thing that you should do, which I don't think has been mentioned, is that you should always tune to the 'attack'. This simply means that you should tune your guitar applying the pressure you would normally apply to the fretted strings when playing. This requires you to tune to fretted positions, not to open strings. What you should NOT do is tune with what is termed a 'soft' hand (i.e. very lightly) and then play with your normal fretting pressure. If you do, it will sound out in many positions.

Given what I have said in my second paragraph, what I do at home, and out gigging, is to tune the first, second, fourth and fifth strings to pitch. I then tune the third string a few cents flat, and likewise the sixth string. You should then find the slight dissonance you expect from the third string when playing an open 'G' or 'C' chord will sound somewhat like a 12-string; 'E' and 'D' in the first position should sound OK. Likewise the sixth string tuned down a few cents should give the same slight dissonance in the root position, but moving up the neck and playing barre chords (say major chords), the sixth should sound fine against the octave fourth string. For example, 7th fret fourth string against the 5th fret sixth string should sound fine.

The nut is a 'set-up' issue which impacts upon the tuning. The 'G' is particularly prone to 'binding', given the angle it is coming through the nut at, which increases the chances of binding, particularly when bending the string while soloing. It is a matter of working the slot until it no longer binds when you bend the string.

One final set-up point. Check you bridge saddles also. When tuned to pitch, make sure there is absolutely no chance of movement in those saddles. Might sound like a statement of the bleedin' obvious with the guitar tuned to pitch and the downward pressure exerted on the saddles, but there is no harm in checking everything possible is OK."

Some of the above repeats what has already been said."

And I'd take a Gibson over a straight-string pull Banjocaster any day...

Very well said and I believe you have covered all bases and left nothing out !
 

JR.Deluxe

New member
Joined
May 4, 2003
Messages
570
I have 8 or 9 Les Pauls and Jrs. They all stay in tune. I can play a whole hour set and hardly need to tweak anything. Some guys here are just doing it wrong. Maybe you should get a self tuning robot les paul and leave the real guitars to someone who knows Gibsons. Yeah I said it.
 

smithclarkson02

New member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
2
Les Paul's have more downpressure at the nut, so the strings can get pinched when bent. When you restring add graphite (from a pencil, or you can buy 'nutsauce') to the nut slots before the strings. If that doesn't help, you may want to get a tech to sand the nut grooves to allow for better sliding of the strings.
9Apps APK VidMate APK VLC Download
 
Last edited:

bobalu

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2003
Messages
59
I have had several Les Paul's and 335's over the past 25 years. I love them and currently have a couple, with a 335 and a Firebird. I love my Tele's and Strat's as well.

I have never owned a LP with a tuning issue that couldn't be fixed by one of the various method's raised in this thread relating to string stretching, nut slotting + lubing or bridge/saddle tweeking. I now do this myself which I'm fine with. It just goes with the territory of the Les Paul and its design. Not a "design flaw" IMO, just a design characteristic.

I will however raise one pet peeve that I have with Gibson about it and that is the inconsistency of the nut work from the factory. Over 25 years of owning, trading, selling and again buying new, I have had LP's fresh out of the box that had superb nut work - correct string slot depth and break angle - not a single lick of tuning issues. More times than not though, string slot depth is all over the map (from guitar to guitar I mean), as is string spacing, string slot width and angle to tuner. I swear I've had some Lesters where the string slots looked like they were melted in with a hot wire jig of some sort. My point (and pet peeve) is that these premium priced guitars ("Only a Gibson is Good Enough")should all be leaving the factory with properly prepped nuts. IMO, Gibson should tighten up their specs in this regard and ensure a more consistent performance from the factory techs who do this critical work.

Just sharing my two cents here. Cheers!
 

zif5150

New member
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
1
A tuner doesnt lie. I LOVE my 2019 Gibson Les Paul, but I had to search for ways to keep it in tune. I use now the String Butler and Nut Sauce and it seems ok after the new strings have settled in. It's a real issue. All the other guitars in my herd are stable, but my Gibson was almost unplayable due to tuning instability. I have the tuning function on my AxeFx 3 constantly with my Les Paul to compensate. That said - I love it more than any other guitar I have.
 

xpacetwo

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
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. what can I do to fix this problem, without having to buy a (string Butler) and yes they exist google it.
 

shines2225

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Messages
45
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



Mine is a 2015 Japan Spec Gibson Les Paul Traditional with regular plastic nut not the brass one on non Japan Spec 2015's. No nibs otherwise the same as a 2016. Guitar would not stay in tune for a song. Took it to Righteous Guitars down the road from me. They installed a properly fitted bone nut and Shazam! no more tuning issues. The tech there said most of the problems they see is the nut is cut by Gibson at too high an angle. Gibson wants to err on the side of too high versus too low. Kind of blew all the theories of the Gibson's not having a "straight" string pull from the headstock causing the problem out of the water! YMMV
 

shines2225

Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Messages
45
Mine is a 2015 Japan Spec Gibson Les Paul Traditional with regular plastic nut not the brass one on non Japan Spec 2015's. No nibs otherwise the same as a 2016. Guitar would not stay in tune for a song. Took it to Righteous Guitars down the road from me. They installed a properly fitted bone nut and Shazam! no more tuning issues. The tech there said most of the problems they see is the nut is cut by Gibson at too high an angle. Gibson wants to err on the side of too high versus too low. Kind of blew all the theories of the Gibson's not having a "straight" string pull from the headstock causing the problem out of the water! YMMV
Big Bend nut sauce and Grover milk bottle tuners were also added.
 

vicyclesix

New member
Joined
Jan 30, 2021
Messages
1
It’s usually the g and the d strings that go out of tune reason being the angle that those strings lead out to the tunners. My solution is to lube the nut and replace the tunners with some locking tunners. shareit get-vidmateapk.com
 
Last edited:

guitartsar

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2010
Messages
77
Talking of tuning has anybody tried one of these? The new winder feature is handy for restringing and I find it useful for rough tuning once restrung. It's pretty accurate depending on how good your tuners are but obviosuly not so useful on stage. More of a workshop tool I think.
 

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Bwayno

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Joined
Nov 26, 2020
Messages
11
I have a Gibson LP Classic, a ES 335 Studio and an Epi LP Custom and never have had a problem with any of them staying in tune!
 

donstrosin3

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Apr 29, 2021
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I have heard that white toothpaste can be used on computer screen scratches. Under no circumstances should you use gel toothpaste. but heving a site where you can get information about how to fix stuck pixels and give knowledge
 
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