#1
Hi UG experts,

I am a relative beginner (2 yrs) playing an Epiphone LP Special II. Not the best starter guitar I know, but I found UG and its goldmine of advice after I bought it.

I have become used to all of the strings going slightly flat as I play, especially when bending, and the need to re-tune every half hour is a feature of my life at the moment. Recently, however, I have noticed that the G string has started to go sharp instead. This is the one that gets most punishment with my attempts to improve string bends. With the others going flat but the G going sharp this is really noticeable, especially for 6th & 5th string barre chords, and means that I need to re-tune more frequently.

Can anyone give me any clues why this might be happening and suggestions how to fix it? I can understand the other strings going flat (tuning machines "loosening", the string not sliding over the nut or bridge saddle etc, resulting in a drop in tension or increase in string length), and it has been suggested to me to use some graphite on the nut and bridge saddles next time I change the strings.

The G going sharp implies that the string tension is increasing or the string length is getting shorter, which I can't explain. The only thing I can think of is that the bridge saddle is moving towards the fretboard as I bend, but I can't feel any play in it.

I guess might just be a "feature" of a cheapo guitar, and maybe Santa will bring me a better one, but although the tuning stability is a nuisance I do like playing this guitar (the blindness of first love, maybe!) and it would be good to fix the problem.

For information I changed the strings and adjusted the intonation and action about 6 weeks ago and I was pretty happy with the result. I usually play for 2-3 hours per week (full time job and family). It's only in the last couple of weeks that the G string problem started, although it may not have been apparent before because I have only really started trying to nail bends since then.

Thanks for any suggestions!

V
#2
Epiphone guitars are known for having problems with the nut. So The first suggestion I'd give you is have a tech re-slot the nut for you. You can try rubbing some graphite (pencil lead) in the nut slots and see if that helps at all.

The next thing I'd do is possibly change the tuners to something better. Better does not have to mean expensive, you can get some very good tuners for <$32 from www.guitarfetish.com

I have used these with great results
www.guitarfetish.com/Classic-Keystone-Tuners-Chrome-Fits-70s-80s-Les-Pauls_p_171.html

www.guitarfetish.com/Full-Size-Wilkinson-Grover-Style-Chrome-3x3-Tuners_p_4400.html

www.guitarfetish.com/Sperzel-Style-Locking-Tuners-3x3-Chrome_p_1172.html

Also change your strings
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
Last edited by Robbgnarly at Dec 6, 2014,
#3
Thanks for the advice... Will do as you suggest.

Just interested in your comment about changing the strings again. They've only had 15-18 playing hours... Is this how long you'd normally expect? Or is it to do with the time they've been on the guitar, irrespective of playing time? Or is it just because I'm having problems it's worth a try 'coz it's cheap to do?

V
#4
Over time, strings will stretch and loose the ability to stay in tune correctly.
I'd say that depending on my situation, if I am gigging a set of strings will last me 1 gig and that is all. For just practicing, I typically change them every 15ish hours (it is a good estimation)
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#6
I own one of those guitars, found it in a dumpster for the best price in the world.

The problem I've found is the cheap, crappy tuners they use on them. It might pay to put some higher quality tuners on there. The ones they use are the same ones used on Harmony/Hondo II/Memphis/other Chinese Samick made products from the 80's.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
#7
1. As Robb said, take it to a tech and have the nut slots redone. My first guess is the G string is getting in a bind in the nut slot when stretched and not going back to its original position.

2. When tuning, always bring the string up to the pitch you want, never lower it down to the right pitch and leave it there, chances are it will either stretch a little or get bound in the nut and do the same thing.

I've never seen tuners let me down, even the cheapest crap tuners on old Silvertone and Japanese copy guitars, when tuned right. Even the old open gear tuners on my 1966 Harmony will stay in tune if I always bring the strings up to the proper pitch. I got those used at a guitar store because a couple of the original ones were bent. For 2 bucks...We're talkin' cheap here, but they always stay in tune and I use the guitar onstage all the time with no worries. Drop the string to below the pitch you need, then tune up, never down. Works every time. Cheapest tuners I've ever seen still held their tuning.

The tuner is just a pair of gears. The smaller one turns the larger one, which is attached to the tuning post. The physics of gears means it's almost impossible for the tension of the string to force the larger gear to turn the smaller one and lose its tuning, that's why even cheap tuners work if used properly. I'm still using the el cheapo tuners on my Squier Strat, the ones everybody and his dog says to replace...no problems until I jump on the whammy bar, and then it's the nut that causes trouble, not the tuners. I used it last night at band practice, still in tune from sitting at home for 2 weeks, never touched a tuner all night. Ditto for my Takamine acoustic, had to tweak the high E string a tiny bit, never touched anything else except when I had to use Drop D tuning for one Doobie Brothers song. All a matter of tuning it right. Again, to repeat, always always bring the string pitch UP to the pitch you need, never down. The cheapest tuners ever made WILL hold their tuning...

Also, when changing strings, cut each about 1 3/4 inch past the tuning peg, leave a little under a half inch sticking out and tune up to the right pitch. This should leave you with about 1 1/2 to 2 wraps, and that's plenty. More wraps means more stretch. The guitar will take longer to stretch the strings and stay in tune, and all those wraps will let it stretch even after settling in. I've been doing strings that way for over 20 years, never had a problem. I never have 3 or 4 wraps, and never have any problems with strings stretching too much or losing their pitch, 1 1/2 to 2 wraps does fine.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...