#1
Hello,

Recently took my guitar to a shop; they couldn't fix it.

My problem is my 6th string will go flat 20-25 cents when played open. I pluck it; it goes to pitch, then 1 - 1.5 seconds afterwards, it goes flat. When fretted, it's perfectly in tune.
It happens to a lesser degree with the 5th string, but only about 10 cents. 4th string stays almost dead on, just a couple of cents. 3rd through 1st are dead on.

This is a Fender Squier Strat, with ernie ball beefy slinkys (11-54). I tune to Drop Db/C. The problem persists even at standard Drop D. Person at the shop couldn't fix it, basically intonated it and told me to go to a higher gauge. Surely 54s are enough for drop D? I had to explain it wasn't an intonation issue, but a tuning one.

No neck warping as far as I can tell. I have changed strings 4 times, same problem. I stretched the strings plenty. Tuning up to pitch, not down. Bridge is all the way flush with the body. Doesn't matter what pick up I switch to, same problem. Don't know what else to do, besides buy a new guitar and hope that solves the problem (which is my last resort). The nut is also fine as far as I can tell. The string isn't sticking, it's got plenty of room.

I'm recording with this guitar, the tuning has to be perfect on open sustained powerchords. Having the 6th string drop a quarter tone after a sec or two is just unacceptable. I understand it's natural for the pitch to fluctate a little when a string is plucked. I am not plucking it excessively hard. Surely a quarter tone fluctuation isn't normal.

Any help or useful information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
#2
the string just isn't intonating correctly at that tension. you need thicker strings.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#3
how are 54s not thick enough for drop D? Again, nothing to do with intonation. Its a tuning issue
#4
Check the intonation yourself and make sure that the intonation is absolutely correct? See that the intonation is right (or wrong) with your own eyes.

Maybe the nut is old and/or incorrect and/or slotted improperly? Maybe the tuning peg itself is losing its grip? I'm just throwing ideas out there. Thats all I could think that it might be.

Best of luck man.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

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#5
If it's initially at the correct pitch (and is at the correct pitch at the 12th fret) but then falls out of tune, it's not an intonation problem so much as a string gauge problem. If you were to play a guitar that's perfectly intonated, no matter what note you hit, the pitch would vary. It's just the nature of the instrument.

I'll put this crude physics lesson in spoilers because it's unnecessary -
Think about it: If you were to watch a slow motion video of a string being plucked, what happens? Well, very momentarily, the string is put under more stress than it normally is as the pick moves the string away from it's point of rest. This increases what one might consider a 'theoretical pitch' if the string were vibrating at that moment. You could think of it like a very violent and sudden tightening of the tuning peg. When you let the string go, it vibrates as it attempts to move back to that point of rest, slowly lowering pitch and amplitude (the volume, or what you can hear) as it goes. The amplitude is determined by how violently (suddenly) you drop the amount of extra tension you built up by moving the string away from it's point of rest.

Try this with a tuner on: Pluck the string with more and more force. You'll find that the initial pitch gets sharper and sharper the more force you apply but will always move back down to about the same spot before becoming inaudible.

Now, depending upon the mass of the string (gauge) and the distance between the two points of tension (scale length), you'll have different amounts of pitch variation within the audible range. This has to do with the relationship between how much tension must be applied to a mass to allow for it to vibrate at certain frequencies (as well as how much slack is on the string when it's tuned to a pitch). The more mass you have, the more tension is required to tune it to pitch. The more tension you have, the less slack you have. The more slack you have, the less audible a frequency is going to be and the larger it's variation in pitch will be within the audible range.


So the TL;DR of the badly explained above is that the mass of the string (gauge) and distance over which a string vibrates (scale length) determines how 'tight' the variation of pitch will be at a certain frequency. Thicker strings allow for more 'stable' pitches, at lower frequencies. I would imagine you're trying to play with light strings in a lower tuning, which is where the problem is occurring. The strings have too much slack and are varying pitch greatly. Increase the string gauge and re-intonate your instrument or tune your guitar up to a pitch that is within the gauge you've chosen's workable range.
Last edited by mjones1992 at May 12, 2015,
#6
i wonder if there is an issue with the nut. if it ONLY occurs open, and not when fretting, that seems like the only variable for me.

.11-.54 is certainly heavy enough for drop D. probably even Eb std and and D std.
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#7
Quote by trashedlostfdup
i wonder if there is an issue with the nut. if it ONLY occurs open, and not when fretting, that seems like the only variable for me.

.11-.54 is certainly heavy enough for drop D. probably even Eb std and and D std.


I'm pretty sure it's the nut now as well after examining it earlier. No need for any more replies. I'll take it to someone else to look at the nut and file it down. I don't think my 6th string is sitting all the way down in the groove.
#8
Quote by melodicmetal0
I'm pretty sure it's the nut now as well after examining it earlier. No need for any more replies. I'll take it to someone else to look at the nut and file it down. I don't think my 6th string is sitting all the way down in the groove.


Your strings shouldn't be sitting "all the way down" in a groove. Generally, they should have around half the string clear of the top of the nut. I've done Drop D with 9-42 strings, so the gauge has nothing to do with it.