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Old 01-31-2013, 04:42 PM   #1
jaybals
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Still trying to improve my guitar!

Hi people,

I've been on a long slow quest to improve my Hutchins Regal hollowbody. So far i have installed a nice Bigsby B7, got a new bone nut filed for me, and had some fancy new wiring done inside (to the extent of having a control cavity cut into the back of it!)

So far, it sounds great, so much better than it used to. Clearer, less muddy, especially thanks to the subtle, yet effective bass roll-off.

However, i'm still having issues with tuning stability, even wit the new Luthier-made bone nut, and a Bigsby vibrato (to replace the old broken tailpiece it had). It's particularly the G-strings that slips out (ooh, matron!), but when it slips out, it's by half a semi tone, and happens almost anytime i bend on it. It's really being a pain in the arse. I like to use my Bigsby a lot too, which can cause the tuning to mess up a lot too (again, the G more-so than the rest).

This was always the case even before the new nut was put on, so i'm thinking it's the Tuners. What would you guys recommend?

The headstock is 3x3, with 10mm bore holes.
Are locking tuners worth it? or make no difference toward tuning stability?
Budget is 50 max, preferably less.
I prefer the look of vintage style buttons, either keystone or trapezoid.

Cheers all

[edit: i realize i have already made threads on this a couple months back, but got help, so i thought it'd be better to make a more concise, updated thread than to necro-bum]
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Last edited by jaybals : 01-31-2013 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:59 PM   #2
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Getting a nut cut and installed by someone who really knows what they are doing is really important thing. Not only will it help with playability, but it has a huge affect on tuning stability and intonation. You can't beat it.

Locking tuners are also a great thing to have. It will have a have great affect on tuning stability and will make restringing just about as simple as it gets (I can restring my strat and tune up in about a minute). The tuning stability of locking tuners with a fixed bridge will be rock solid.

For locking tuners, I would suggest either Grover or Sperzel. Those two companies make probably the best locking tuners on the market. Schaller makes some too, but I'm not really familiar with those, however I wouldn't doubt for a second that they are great.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
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Are you stretching the strings enough? You should stretch each one until it doesn't lose any pitch at all. This tool will make it a lot easier: http://www.stringstretcha.com/index/index.php

Are you using a good graphite lube in the nut and saddles? I recommend this one: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acce...uitar-lubricant but nut sauce and others are good too. Just don't expect pencil lead to make a difference.

You can get the locking tuners, but you don't really need them. If you tie off the tops when you string them, then that locks them just as well as locking tuners and you don't need windings. It's the windings that hurt tuning stability.

If all else fails, then get a Floyd Rose.


...Just kidding.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonyman65
For locking tuners, I would suggest either Grover or Sperzel. Those two companies make probably the best locking tuners on the market. Schaller makes some too, but I'm not really familiar with those, however I wouldn't doubt for a second that they are great.


I replaced the tuners on my Squier with the Fender/Schaller locking tuners. They're nice, and do save about a minute or two per string compared to the manual locking method I mentioned above, that I use on my other 5 guitars (including the ones with Floyd Rose trems/locking nuts). But I'm not getting lockers for any of my other guitars until I break more tuners and need to replace them.

Last edited by jetwash69 : 01-31-2013 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:17 PM   #5
jaybals
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Well the Luthier i got to do it seemed to know what he was doing, and recommended i get a nut-replacement first, rather than tuner replacements when i asked him, yet the problem persists (though maybe not as bad)

I have read some people say locking tuners aren't all that great for stability, as they only lock the string in place, not lock the tuner itself, and also that they can indent the strings where they pinch down, do you have any opinions in this? Would i get more for my money with a non-locking tuner of the same price range as a cheaper locking tuner?

I do however love the look of the Schaller top-lock tuner. it says it needs a bore hole of 9.8, is that close enough to 10 to be alright?
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetwash69
Are you stretching the strings enough? You should stretch each one until it doesn't lose any pitch at all. This tool will make it a lot easier: http://www.stringstretcha.com/index/index.php

Are you using a good graphite lube in the nut and saddles? I recommend this one: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acce...uitar-lubricant but nut sauce and others are good too. Just don't expect pencil lead to make a difference.

You can get the locking tuners, but you don't really need them. If you tie off the tops when you string them, then that locks them just as well as locking tuners and you don't need windings. It's the windings that hurt tuning stability.

If all else fails, then get a Floyd Rose.


...Just kidding.



haha, a hollowbody with a floyd rose... that's bound to piss someone off! Maybe one day...

Thanks for the suggestion of nut sauce/similar, does it make that much difference? I have until now used pencil lead, but i guess like you said it doesn't make much difference!

As for stretching, i do always stretch a good amount, and never have tuning issues with my other guitars. Partiularlyly Jazzmaster, on which i absolutely rape the whammy bar without losing tuning.

It just seems wierd to me that i've changed all sorts of variables with the same results: bad tuning stability, particularly on one strings, which is why i've guessed it to be the tuners
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybals
haha, a hollowbody with a floyd rose... that's bound to piss someone off! Maybe one day...

Thanks for the suggestion of nut sauce/similar, does it make that much difference? I have until now used pencil lead, but i guess like you said it doesn't make much difference!

As for stretching, i do always stretch a good amount, and never have tuning issues with my other guitars. Partiularlyly Jazzmaster, on which i absolutely rape the whammy bar without losing tuning.

It just seems wierd to me that i've changed all sorts of variables with the same results: bad tuning stability, particularly on one strings, which is why i've guessed it to be the tuners

Yeah, even if it were just a semi-hollow body it would be hard to have enough wood left in it to be stable after cutting a hole for the trem block/springs. Also, I doubt you could get the right neck angle for a Floyd.

All pencil lead does for you is make the nut dirty. Many will disagree with me, but you'll also find people here who think the secret to tuning a Floyd Rose is to tune the strings in a particular order instead of making spring tension = string tension. Graphite lube makes a big difference as long as the nut isn't cut too small for your strings.

Could be a broken tuner, too. Tuning stability was shit on my Squier when it had two cracked tuning machine housings. With the floating trem, it affected tuning on all strings, though. Do any of the posts have more play than the others? Next string change, you can remove the tuners and check for cracks in the housing and/or excessive play in the posts.

As for the string stretching, if you don't stretch them completely, then there will be issues, and they'll be magnified on a guitar with a trem.

Locking tuners don't have the issues you're talking about if you use them correctly. They don't need windings. As long as you lock it down in the right place initially, then the indentation it puts in the string won't be an issue. Don't plan on re-using a string once it's been locked down. A normal-quality locking tuner in good condition won't slip (turn) on its own. The only ways it will lose tuning is if something bumps the key, if the temperature changes significantly, or if you didn't stretch the string completely (and do it from bridge to post).

One advantage of locking tuners over a locking nut is that if something does bump the key, there's little chance of breaking the string between the nut and the post, like can happen with a Floyd.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:35 AM   #8
jaybals
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetwash69
Yeah, even if it were just a semi-hollow body it would be hard to have enough wood left in it to be stable after cutting a hole for the trem block/springs. Also, I doubt you could get the right neck angle for a Floyd.

All pencil lead does for you is make the nut dirty. Many will disagree with me, but you'll also find people here who think the secret to tuning a Floyd Rose is to tune the strings in a particular order instead of making spring tension = string tension. Graphite lube makes a big difference as long as the nut isn't cut too small for your strings.

Could be a broken tuner, too. Tuning stability was shit on my Squier when it had two cracked tuning machine housings. With the floating trem, it affected tuning on all strings, though. Do any of the posts have more play than the others? Next string change, you can remove the tuners and check for cracks in the housing and/or excessive play in the posts.

As for the string stretching, if you don't stretch them completely, then there will be issues, and they'll be magnified on a guitar with a trem.

Locking tuners don't have the issues you're talking about if you use them correctly. They don't need windings. As long as you lock it down in the right place initially, then the indentation it puts in the string won't be an issue. Don't plan on re-using a string once it's been locked down. A normal-quality locking tuner in good condition won't slip (turn) on its own. The only ways it will lose tuning is if something bumps the key, if the temperature changes significantly, or if you didn't stretch the string completely (and do it from bridge to post).

One advantage of locking tuners over a locking nut is that if something does bump the key, there's little chance of breaking the string between the nut and the post, like can happen with a Floyd.


Thanks for the advice! Might grab myself some lube. I did apply some of my dunlop string conditioned/lube last night, right along the strings and over the nut, and it seemed to actually help lubricate it somewhat (admitedly, it sort of leaked over the neck and nut by way of a happy accident), although i haven't played it extensively since, i'll check it out some more tonight.

I haven't notice any tuners seeming to be cracked or damaged, and the string posts only seem to have as much give as one another, but i'll wait and see next time i re-string (may be a while, decided to give elixirs a go...)

I'll probably keep this thread updated with my finding/purchases. I'll order lube tonight (i feel like i'm preparing some underground sex party...)

If i was going to go for new tuners anyway, would it be worth getting lower-cost locking tuners, or the equivalent-priced non-locking as far as stability is concerned?
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybals
...

If i was going to go for new tuners anyway, would it be worth getting lower-cost locking tuners, or the equivalent-priced non-locking as far as stability is concerned?


No, locking tuners won't increase tuning stability compared to regular tuners if you manually "lock," i.e., "tie" the strings to the posts and don't use windings.

But the small percentage more cost for locking tuners is worth it for the time you'll save (a minute or more per string, every time change). Time is the one resource you can never earn back. It doesn't seem like much, but over the years it really adds up.
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:50 PM   #10
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Hi there, just wanted to post this as I have been on exactly the same quest with my Regal. I think I'm almost there. I replaced the tuners with Grover 406C which are for a 10mm hole, they fit just right and are way more positive compared to whatever was on there before:

[forbidden link]

I tried changing the trem but that isn't the problem, though I agree, a Bigsby is the obvious classic one to change it to. I tried a non-trem trapeze tailpiece, but it made no difference to the tuning issue (though I did like the guitar being lighter). So I put the original trem back on. Eventually my friend found the source of the problem. It's the bridge. It's a nice bridge except that it moves backwards and forwards because the bolts that screw into body are not tight enough and just wobble about. So I think I have cured it by putting M8 stainless steel washers (one on each bolt):

[forbidden link]

and screwing the bolt down tight on to the washers before then seating the bridge on to this newly solid foundation. It doesn't wobble now and one washer under both ends seems to bring it to a reasonable action. Because the frets seemed uneven, I have been gradually filing and finishing them with the specialist fret leveling and crowning files for medium frets that I've obtained.

[forbidden link]

[forbidden link]

I'm also working on the truss rod tension but think I may almost be there with sorting the Regal out.

Hope this helps..

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Old 10-15-2013, 03:24 PM   #11
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Look for a roller bridge and a roller nut. I know you just got the bone nut, butr a roller will work better with a bigsby.
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Old 10-15-2013, 06:46 PM   #12
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Thanks Robbgnarly, don't know if they are standard on all but my Regal's bridge does have little roller wheels under each string which impressed me to start with when I was looking at it in the shop. They seem to roll well and freely on mine so hopefully it's just a new roller nut and then that should cover everything...not sure how all of this effects the tone of the guitar. Also possible recommendations or string guages? I'm going to try Ernie Ball Super Slinky 9-42 next. Hopefully now, the one thing left for me to sort out is the muddy pickups; any suggestions on possible mods for the pickups?..PVN
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Old 10-21-2013, 05:48 PM   #13
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Update: 4 washers under low E and 1 washer under the high E end of the bridge. There was a lot more fret filing and crowning involved but I'm pretty much finished now and the guitar actually feels really nice and stays in tune no matter how much I use the trem....bliss!...PVN
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Old 10-22-2013, 06:09 AM   #14
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Cheers for bumping my thread up man!

I've found my tuning stability is much better now with the bone nut and a nice dab of lube! (nut sauce)
The real bigsby i put on seems to have made a difference, but mainly just a better feel to it, and what with my old one being broken already, and that i made all the other changes at around the same time, it's hard to locate what really helped fix the problem!

It's been a year now i've been steadily improving my regal; fixed the rattling of the pickups with new springs + electrical tape, and ordered new knobs for aesthetics really (wanted uniform silver!) Still intending to get some new tuners on there, as the original ones still have a slightly iffy action to them; they don't roll so smoothly. I'll be sure to check out those grovers!
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:34 PM   #15
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Pleasure mate, I thought I had been on this quest on my own til I found this thread! It gave me the little lift I needed. So, I just wanted to ask you what model of Bigsby you put on the Regal cos there seem to be a number of different models, so I'd love to confirm which model fit the Regal?..
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:57 PM   #16
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i went all out and got a B7, put i'm sure the B70 would fit just as well for a bit cheaper.
From what i remember it needed some new screw holes, cos they didn't line up 100%.

Also, what you were saying about the bridge moving as you use the tremolo, i had that same issue a few years back when i first got it, and that was fixed by a standard set-up at my local shop.
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