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Thread: Anybody had problems with 10s on a L3?

  1. #1
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    Anybody had problems with 10s on a L3?

    Hi guys,

    I'm having some tuning stability issues with my L3, and it's driving me nuts! (pun intended )

    In short, I've decked the trem and put 10s on it. Now the G string seems to be sticking at the nut. When bending the string it goes flat, using the trem arm bring it back to pitch.

    I've applied some nut sauce to the nut, which doesn't seem to fully do the trick. Helped slightly, at least to begin with, but now the problem is back.

    I'm surprised because I have no such problems with using 10s on my other MM guitars. I would have thought the compensated nut would be the same across all models? Or is the one on the L3 just not cut to work with 10s at all?

    Tuning stability issues is my number one deal breaker on guitars, so this is slowly killing my love for an otherwise super fine instrument. Something must be done... worst case I'll put 9s on it again, but would prefer to get it working with 10s.
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
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  2. #2
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    I'd say the nut slot is a little small for the extra strong diameter . Do u have a nearby tech you could take it too and have the nut slot adjusted slightly?
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  3. #3
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    I've recently switched to 10-46's on my Luke 3 with no issues. However, I did add a tremolo spring (I'm now using 3), and adjusted the tremolo claw and truss rod slightly. I have mine set pretty much to Luke's factory specs (tremolo angled slightly forward). I was quite surprised that when I added the 3rd tremolo spring, it's still retained it's silky smooth tremolo and string action.

    Another trick that I use when tuning all of my guitars is to make sure to tune the machine heads up to pitch only. Meaning, when turning the machine heads, if I go sharp, I then turn it back to flat again and re-tune it up to pitch without reversing the machine head at all. This facilitates even string tension on both sides of the nut and seems to really help the G and B strings especially. I realize that in theory, with locking machine heads you shouldn't need to do this, but I have always tuned this way with all of my guitars ever since a tech taught me it back in the 90's. Hope this helps!
    Last edited by tonechaser1; 07-26-2017 at 10:22 AM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonechaser1 View Post
    I've recently switched to 10-46's on my Luke 3 with no issues. However, I did add a tremolo spring (I'm now using 3), and adjusted the tremolo claw and truss rod slightly. I have mine set pretty much to Luke's factory specs (tremolo angled slightly forward). I was quite surprised that when I added the 3rd tremolo spring, it's still retained it's silky smooth tremolo and string action.

    Another trick that I use when tuning all of my guitars is to make sure to tune the machine heads up to pitch only. Meaning, when turning the machine heads, if I go sharp, I then turn it back to flat again and re-tune it up to pitch without reversing the machine head at all. This facilitates even string tension on both sides of the nut and seems to really help the G and B strings especially. I realize that in theory, with locking machine heads you shouldn't need to do this, but I have always tuned this way with all of my guitars ever since a tech taught me it back in the 90's. Hope this helps!
    That's exactly what I do with my guitars, tune up to pitch not down.
    One thing to make sure is that the trem isn't catching on the body at all, on my silhouette when I first got it and adjusted the trem for upbend I had to raise the trem posts and shim the neck a touch as the base plate would stick on the body a touch and cause tuning problems.
    Before touching the nut I would try a set of 9's to make sure it is that. I would also highly recommend 9 hybrids, I switched to them from standard 9's for a bit more tension and they are amazing, especially the cobalts or paradigms.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by steevo View Post
    One thing to make sure is that the trem isn't catching on the body at all, on my silhouette when I first got it and adjusted the trem for upbend I had to raise the trem posts and shim the neck a touch as the base plate would stick on the body a touch and cause tuning problems.
    Thanks everybody for the advice!

    Steve, could you elaborate a bit on the quoted part? I don't understand how the trem could cause tuning issues. Currently I've not set it up to float, although I realize that's how it's meant to be used. I've added additional springs to the trem system, so now it is "dive only". But when it's pulled tight against the body, shouldn't it then work like a hard tail?
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
    Thanks everybody for the advice!

    Steve, could you elaborate a bit on the quoted part? I don't understand how the trem could cause tuning issues. Currently I've not set it up to float, although I realize that's how it's meant to be used. I've added additional springs to the trem system, so now it is "dive only". But when it's pulled tight against the body, shouldn't it then work like a hard tail?
    If the term catches on any part of the body when it's used it may stick but if it's only setup for down travel then I doubt it would, that would only apply to a floating setup.
    The nut is the obvious part that would cause the problem, clean the slots and try some pencil lead in them.


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  7. #7
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    I put a set of size ten Slinky's on my LIII within the first hour of owning it. It's easily the most stable guitar I own. Mines set to float BTW.

  8. #8
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    Small update; I put a set of 9s on, and the problem is actually still there on most strings.

    After a bend the note will return flat - some string more than others. A quick (tiny) press and release on the whammy bar will return the strings to pitch.

    So something is sticking somewhere...

    If I bend the string behind the nut there isn't a problem.. so it actually doesn't look like the nut is sticking(?) So I kind of conclude that the problem must be with the bridge/saddles. Perhaps because I "decked" the trem... or at least set it up such that it's flat with the body, with a tiny amount of lift just around the point where I bend up a note one whole tone. I realize the guitar was designed to be floating, actually with a pretty big angle, so perhaps this is causing the problems.

    Will try a few more things; First adding in even more spring, making the bridge completely fixed in place (not a long term solution).. and perhaps re-float the bridge.
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
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  9. #9
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    I usually put a very small drop of Tri-Flow Lubricant where the string crosses the saddle. It doesn't take much. I also use it nut slots.

    Question - have you ever done anything with the two screws the bridge pivots on? Then they are properly set up, there should be a gap about the thickness of a business card between the front of the bridge and the body?
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  10. #10
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    As a point I would raise the pivot posts on the bridge a little, tune the guitar up and try bending the strings and using the trem. To me it sounds similar to the problem I had but I found the trem was actually sticking a little on the body causing it to not return to pitch after a bend or using the trem.


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  11. #11
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    I agree with @steevo.

    I had a similar problem with my Luke 2, and i fixed it by raising the two pivot posts
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  12. #12
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    Thanks, this is why it's always a good idea to ask around here

    Will try adjusting the two pivot posts slightly. Never had any reason to mess with those, so they are left at factory settings.
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  13. #13
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    Loosen the strings completely before adjusting those posts.

  14. #14
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    The trem plate was actually in contact with the body - so I raised it just a hair, just a quarter turn or so, and now there's a small gap. I also floated the trem again.

    Now the guitar is quite stable with the 9s on it... still drifts a little bit, but maybe 5-10 cents or so. That's probably as good as it gets. I can easily play it now without it sounding horribly out of tune after big bends.

    Thanks for all the great advice!
    1997 - Luke I - Pearl Blue
    2011 - Reflex - Hardtail - White
    2016 - LIII BFR - HSS - Blueberry Burst Quilt
    2017 - Cutlass - SSS - Vintage Turquoise

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
    The trem plate was actually in contact with the body - so I raised it just a hair, just a quarter turn or so, and now there's a small gap. I also floated the trem again.

    Now the guitar is quite stable with the 9s on it... still drifts a little bit, but maybe 5-10 cents or so. That's probably as good as it gets. I can easily play it now without it sounding horribly out of tune after big bends.

    Thanks for all the great advice!
    It shouldn't drift out at all, my silhouette special is rock solid even with heavy trem use. It's worth experimenting with it a bit more.


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