#1
So I've been playing for about 14 yeares. I've owned quite a few guitars. 1 Mexican Tele, 1 USA B Bender Nashville Tele, 1 Ibanez MC300 1979, 1 Gibson 1995 Les Paul Studio, and 1 Hagstrom Viking.

My Teles NEVER go out of tune, even after playing a 3 hour show, they're pretty spot on. The Hadstrom and Les Paul were NIGHTMARES they would go out of tune within 10 minutes if not less, the Ibanez MC300 would go out of tune within 30 minutes. I've looked everywhere online, and I don't see anyone else bringing this up. I don't think it's my playing, my Fenders are all great. The only common denominator is that the guitars I've had that go out of tune have set necks or neck through. Any insight?
#2
Poor setup, usually. If the nut is cut or lubricated poorly, string angles are bad, etc., then it's going to be a lot easier to pull the instrument out of tune.

Some designs are naturally a bit more stable than others. Falling out of tune in 10 minutes, though, means some maintenance or repair is required. The set neck is not the issue.
#3
And sorry for the idiotic title, I started to time "Why does my guitar go out of tune" and meant to go with "why DO some of my guitars go out of tune"
#4
The Lesi was a while back, but the Hagstrom was set up by a very reputable tech in portland. He said my Tele up and it was absolutely perfect, he used to work with Peter Buck of REM as a guitar tech, I have a hard time believing it would be the set up.
#5
Severe headstock break angles caused by flawed headstock design makes many Gibsons go out of tune. The Fenders tend to stay in tune better simply because the tuners run a lot more closely in line with the path of the strings in front of the nut. So naturally less friction occurs.
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#6
Do you think the neck being bolt on vs Set or through has any affect? For instance when I pull on the body of a neck through or set neck guitar it almost makes a bigsby type tremelo, especially hollow bodies. This effect is minimal on a tele.
#7
Quote by DangOlBuffalo
Do you think the neck being bolt on vs Set or through has any affect? For instance when I pull on the body of a neck through or set neck guitar it almost makes a bigsby type tremelo, especially hollow bodies. This effect is minimal on a tele.

How could it have any effect?

The strings being bent out of tune by forcing the neck to flex has more to do with what the neck is made from (mahogany is softer than maple) and how its constructed (multi-piece necks are less prone to flexing because of the gluing of a large surface area in tandem with woods that help resist one another's compliance). Neck thickness makes a difference too. The neck joint isn't flexing because if did, the neck joint would collapse in on itself.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Aug 31, 2016,
#8
I've found differences in stability between guitars, seemingly because neck relief changes a bit in some with humidity and or temperature. I had a Baby Tyalor that would change over a period of a few hours. It was so bad that the necks were replaced under warranty in the US, not here alas. By contrast, my lap steels with their heavy lacquered or metal necks will stay in tune for months
Last edited by Tony Done at Aug 31, 2016,
#9
Interesting, so those guitars being set neck vs the fenders being bolt on is just a coincidence? Even with that info I'm just so gun shy of set necks at this point I guess. Basically what I'm gathering is I've just have bad luck with set neck guitars.
#12
My Gibson SG stays in tune perfectly. I rarely have to tune it. No locking stuff, just plain old stock SG that's well set up. My Tele doesn't have issues staying in tune either, by the way. None of my guitars do, really, apart from a cheap Strat that I play once a month maybe.
#13
Yes, I think it's a coincidence. I really can't think of any reason it would matter.
There are all sorts of other differences between those guitars, anyway. The set neck is not the factor I'd be thinking of. For instance, the maple neck and the flat neck angle on the Telecasters might need less frequent adjustment from weather, but that's not really anything to do with the connection to the body.

It seems like you're attributing these differences in performance to something that doesn't have a strong correlation to it at all. It's not impossible that you're wrong, but I don't see any reason either to assume that it is the set necks. If both guitars were black, would it be your first guess be that they were absorbing more heat and being thrown out of setup faster? Probably not. I understand the desire to fit the information you have to the results, but it seems like a red herring to me.

This is like if your car went through a quart of oil every 100 miles. There's really no option besides "it's broken," the question is just what and how to fix it. Whether it's a Fiat or a Ferrari, neither car nor guitar were designed or built to work to such a poor standard. So that leaves the conclusion that something is not working as intended. That really leaves the setup to question (or at least a setup should reveal a structural issue, if one exists).

I would take both of these guitars back to your tech and see what he says. It's entirely possible that it got jostled or the humidity was unusual or any number of other things that might have caused the setup to not work for you. A good tech should be able to track these issues down if you ask specifically about tuning stability problems. A decently made guitar with a proper setup should absolutely not go out of tune in ten minutes. So your tech should tell you one of two things: the guitar has some major flaw or damage causing it to function poorly, or that the setup needs some work. Some designs are inherently finnicky, but none are so bad as you're describing if they're working and maintained well.
#14
Quote by DangOlBuffalo
Do you think the neck being bolt on vs Set or through has any affect? For instance when I pull on the body of a neck through or set neck guitar it almost makes a bigsby type tremelo, especially hollow bodies. This effect is minimal on a tele.


None. Most of the tuning issues have to do with headstock designs and bridge design. A Les Paul with a Gibson-style headstock is a PIA. You have to cut the nut very precisely and then lube it and your D and G strings are still going to give you fits. OTOH, if you put a Floyd on the things, you'll never go out of tune. Put a Bigsby on them, however, and it may never be IN tune. The bolt-necks that have straight-pull headstocks with little or now headstock back-angle will stay in tune more easily than an LP, but so will neck-through and set neck guitars with the same headstock design.
#15
dspellman So I should buy a firebird? lol, jk, but seriously wish I could afford a vintage bird. It's funny that Bigsbys on Les Pauls are so common, but you're right, a friend of mine uses a bigsby on his lesi, and he tunes nearly between every song. Luckily he's rhythm guitar so he can get away with it. I play lead and sing in my band, so it's tough to stop and tune.
#16
My LP with a bigsby stays in tune just fine, just as stable as my telecaster. It takes some extra effort to set up the bridge and trem, and if you go nuts on the bigsby it will pull out of tune pretty quickly, but with a bit of care and experience a lot of the design flaws can be minimized. A couple part swaps at the bridge and nut make a big difference. Stock and without some attention, yeah, they can be a nightmare. But there's ways of dealing with it.

A Floyd will definitely be more stable, though, especially with heavy trem use. No question there, it's clearly a smarter design.