2019 PRS SE Santana Trem Singlecut will not stay in tune.


New Member
Nov 15, 2023
My mint-condition (used) 2019 PRS SE Santana Trem Singlecut will not stay in tune. I have tried just about everything I know to remedy this issue. The stock PRS nut is fine and does not bind the strings at all. The 6 stock PRS tuners all seem fine. The PRS stock tremolo saddles are lubricated with graphite. I've tried 3, 4, and 5 trem block springs which doesn't make any difference to eliminate this problem. I've tried lighter strings (.009-.042 set) which only makes the tuning problem worse. I took apart the PRS trem assembly and found that 2 of the 3 screws attaching the block to the base plate were loose. Tightening those screws did not solve the problem. The #2 factory-drilled hole in the body (under the (B string) where the 6 tremolo bearing screws go into is slightly out of alignment, so I suspect that's causing the knife edges of the tremolo base plate to not align correctly when the trem returns to "neutral" position, which in turn makes the strings go out of tune. The knife edge grooves in all 6 tremolo bearing screws look uneven, like a tooling defect in the grooves, which makes it nearly impossible to align all 6 screws correctly on setup. I'm not clear if this is a "PRS Gen II Tremolo" or a "PRS Gen III Tremolo" so I'm hesitant to replace the 6 tremolo bearing screws. I'm not sure if replacing the entire PRS SE Tremolo unit will solve anything, plus it's very expensive at $130 compared to the total $560 price I paid for this mint-condition guitar. It's apparent that the previous owner never played this guitar since everything on it was pristine when I bought it on Oct 17, 2023 from my local Guitar Center. If PRS can't help me to solve this "constantly going out of tune" problem, I will return the 2019 PRS SE Santana Trem Singlecut to Guitar Center for a full refund.
To be honest, it sounds like your acquisition of a used guitar has all the hallmarks of previous abuse (even if accidental) by the former owner, even if it looks mint. The knife edges, the loose trem assembly, etc. Either that, or it played lousy out of the box and rather than return it, they just made it a case queen and forgot about it. I'd return it and look for another from somewhere else.
From your description I'm guessing the trem adjustment wasn't done properly causing knife edge problems. Pure speculation since the guitar is mint. Issues from GC purchases are common. Their techs shouldn't be called techs. I doubt they'd notice the issue or checked for it. Probably gave it a light once over, see a mint guitar that didn't looked played, and slapped a clear to sell seal on it.

Return and buy another.. or mod away to create a cool hotrod SC Santana! I've thought about getting one of these myself for the very same reason. First stop would be for me, John Mann for one of his trems, even if the one on it is in perfect working order.

If you just want a playable guitar out the box, return it, plenty more out there in that price range.