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Thread: Tuning Stability With Trem/Vibrato Dive

  1. #1

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    Tuning Stability With Trem/Vibrato Dive


    Iím currently playing a PRS S2 Standard 24 and an Ernie Ball Musicman Albert Lee MM90 which both have tuning stability issues after a dive on the vibrato. After a dive, the strings(all of them) go sharp. With a slight tug of about an inch off the fretboard, it returns to perfect pitch. I've performed some basic tests using only one string, one spring, and two mounting screws(on the PRS).

    Iíve tried the following:

    • Using lubrication on every point of string contact(nut, saddle, ball),
    • Lubrication on all moving parts(under saddle, mounting screws, saddle screws),
    • Locking tuners(of various brands)
    • Floating the vibrato
    • Decking the vibrato
    • Swapped Vibratos(between PRS, USA-made Ernie Ball, Super-Vee BladeRunner)
    • Ensured the nut is glued in place and not shifting
    • Changed between 4 manufacturer/makes of string brand(GHS, Fender, DíAddardio XL & NYXL)
    • Springs & tension: Tried the "chicken claw" and parallel methods, both straight and angled claw
    • And of course, stretched the strings to varying amounts

    After much troubleshooting, Iíve determined that itís an issue with the vibrato on both of them(which with a search online seems to be a common issue with strat vibratos). For example, when you dive on the vibrato, and return to resting position, after it increases in pitch, with needle-nose pliers, pull on the string from the headstock toward the bridge, it doesnít go back to the correct pitch. However, if you pull on the string FROM the bridge, towards the headstock, it goes back to perfect pitch. Thus led to my conclusion that it's an issue with the vibrato.

    My thought is that it's catching on something, however, with enough lubrication, it should slip back to pitch. However, the lubrication doesn't have any effect at all. Again this issue is occurring on two different guitars having used three different bridges that all base around a similar design.

    Maybe with my observations written out in detail, it might present itself a little more clearly. If you get a chance to perform this dive bomb test with an accurate tuner, I've love to hear your feedback.

    Thank you so much for taking the time read this lengthy post and thank you in advance for getting back to me when you do.

    Sincerest and kindest regards,

    Jason Smith

  2. #2

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    In my experience. 99.9% of the time, tuning stability is caused by the nut binding.
    What gauge strings are you using? What are you tuned to?

  3. #3

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    What string gauge do you use ?
    In my experience, heavier strings increase the tuning stability. More tension means that the bridge will return with more ease in its zero position.
    Personally I use 10-52 with my EBMM guitars and I have no problem with my dive bombs ... (my AL and my SUB are equipped with a tremolo).
    I have also an ESP with a Floyd Rose (and 11-56 strings) and the tuning is also perfectly stable.

    Hope that helps

  4. #4

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    I second the heavier strings add tuning stability. They tend to inonate better as well.

  5. #5

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    Bigger strings help as long as they’re not binding in the nit slots.

  6. #6

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    This is the same observation from Pete Thorn who is now endorsing an upcoming lock at the saddle bridge from wilkinson/gotoh.

    I think your observation is true and there is nothing that can be done. It doesn't bother me though. As of now the mm vintage trrem is my favorite and I feel it minimizes this issue by rolling the slide.

  7. #7

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    If they are all coming back sharp , then your tremolo claw is too tight, the tremolo has more tension then the strings and they need to be equalized. Loose the trem claw screws a little at a time until it comes back in tune. Always make sure the two screws are equal, i measure from the trem cavity to the edge of each side of the claw and make them equal to the 64th of an inch.I find that manufacturers recommend certain settings like the trem being leveled as a baseline, and then depending on your action, relief, string gauge and brand you have to season to taste. None of my floating trems are set the way they are supposed to be but they all intonate and they all stay in tune. PRS are supposed to be level to the body but mine has to be cocked forward just a little bit and i can mess with the bar all day, same with my Hipshot Contour. I have had a Sterling JP157 for about 6 months and that one likes to lean forward a bit, but it holds tune as good as any of them. I recently traded a PRS SC245 for a JP7 Stealth and that likes to lean back just a tiny bit, its almost not noticeable but it is not level. As long as your nut is filed properly and lubricated, move to the trem claw and adjust in small increments, if it comes back sharp, loosen it, if it comes back flat, tighten it. Hope this helps as it works just about every time for me. Good luck.

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