PRS SE Custom 24 tuning problems: locking tuners needed?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by davidrf, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. davidrf

    davidrf I believe in B#

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    Hi there, I bought a PRS SE Custom 24 in august and I never noticed any tuning problem until I changed the original nut with a Graphtech Tusq and the strings from 9-42 to 10-46. Then I began having the G string go sharp in a matter of seconds.

    I brought the guitar to my luthier and he did a full setup, checking the Tusq, restringing the guitar, adjusting the bridge and so on. In the beginning the problem seemed solved, but it wasn't . I brought back the guitar to my luthier and he re-did the setup from scratch, but the problem was still there. He is a guy who knows what is doing, and is highly respected and even famous around here, so I trust him 100%. He says its' NOT the nut, not the strings, not the neck. He says 60% chance it's the tuning keys, 30% chance it's the bridge.

    I checked online and the cheapest locking tuners I can find are the Grover 406c Rotomatic. Anyone here with the same issue as me? How did you solved it? I'd like to be sure before spending money on something that won't fix the problem.

    Thanks!
     
  2. toothace

    toothace Zombie Thirteen, DFZ

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  3. davidrf

    davidrf I believe in B#

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  4. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Is it just the G string? If so, it sounds like just that tuner is awry - maybe look to see if the tuning peg needs tightening/loosening, or just needs to be reset into the mounting hole? I dunno, that sounds like stuff your luthier should have checked already...
     
  5. davidrf

    davidrf I believe in B#

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    It's mainly the G string but the others go out of tune pretty frequently too... My luthier worked over an hour on the guitar and couldn't fix the problem...
     
  6. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    OK, in that case it might be your bridge needs attention - not replacing, just some adjustment.

    I assume it goes out of tune faster/easier if you use the whammy bar (tremolo). So maybe the spring tension needs adjustment to balance the additional tension from the thicker string gauge. Has the luthier done a trem bridge set up in accordance with the PRS instructions? Did anyone futz with the knife-edge screws at the front edge of the trem? That would be where I would look next.

    If there is nothing obvious there, then I would adjust (tighten) the trem bridge springs so that the bridge is held firm against the body, and avoid using the trem totally. Or install a "tremol-no". If you no longer notice tuning problems, then it is definitely something related to the trem springs being mis-balanced. If it still goes out of tune, you know it isn't the bridge.
     
  7. davidrf

    davidrf I believe in B#

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    He tried everything you mentioned except for blocking the tremolo (I had to go). He usually works with tons of made in America PRS and he occasionally works for the italian PRS distributor, so there's no doubt he knows what he's doing...

    I just played the guitar for half an hour and I used the tremolo twice, very heavily, and the guitar is still perfectly in tune... other times it doesn't stay in tune for more than 30 seconds... this adds up to the randomness of the detuning I guess... :eek:
     
    #7 davidrf, Oct 13, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
  8. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Well, based on that observation, my next guess is that the nut is still wonky, in some way that doesn't look/seem obvious as a set-up "problem" per se, like maybe you just need a bit of lubrication on the strings/slots, or something.

    Or maybe your strings are just taking their time stretching out. Bend the heck out them, re-tune, rinse and repeat.
     
  9. P-Ride

    P-Ride New Member

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    Schaller M6 locking are - apparently - drop-in replacements and should be sensibly-priced, given they're just over the border from you.

    I have a set arriving soon.
     
  10. davidrf

    davidrf I believe in B#

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    He did all of these things... he quadruple-checked and filed the nut, as well as the lube. I really can't understand what's the problem. Yesterday I tuned it down to Eb and to get it perfectly in tune I spent about 20 minutes (!). All the notes continuosly went sharp. I know some time to adjust is kinda necessary , but 20 minutes without being able to get in tune... Then, when it finally was perfectly intonated to Eb, I played one hour, HARD, and at the end of that hour the guitar was STILL PERFECTLY IN TUNE.

    It always does this... sometimes it just doesn't stay in tune, other times it's incredibly stable.

    I have those in my Stratocaster and they are great, but for PRS I just bought the Grover 406c Rotomatics that are also a perfect drop-in and I found them at the best price of any locking tuner I could get. I still don't know if that's the problem, but I love locking tuners and the price was really good, so...

    I'm pretty bummed I couldn't get the modified Phase II from PRS/Mann, but I would've spent almost three times the money I spent for the Grovers.
     
  11. P-Ride

    P-Ride New Member

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    Yeah, I just think the Schaller M6 locking tuners look sexy as hell.. and like the simplicity of the screw mechanism; unlike the PRS top-screw solution, which looks weird and flimsy.

    I'm afraid my 2014 PRS SE Custom 24 is behaving beautifully.. I have to really abuse the whammy to knock her out of tune.. and I don't have locking tuners, yet!

    I have the Graphtech Tusq XL nut.. other than that I have Fu-Tune red (stiff) springs, which make it a much more aggressive, snappy beast; and a custom brass claw.

    That said, I doubt the springs or claw would have any impact on tuning stability.

    I'm in 10-52 tuned DADGBD.
     
  12. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    Yeah, not sure what's up with your guitar, sorry.

    I picked up my SE Akerfeldt last night, hadn't played it in months, and it was "mostly" in tune - just a few tweaks here and there as I warmed up the strings and my fingers. And abusing it for a while after tuning didn't throw it out.

    Is there another luthier you can take it to that might be able to see the guitar from a different set of eyes, and maybe spot the problem?
     
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  13. Elliot

    Elliot Gandalf the Vintage Yellow

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    seems like the problem staying in tune is pretty inconsistent. I agree with that, shinksma.
     
  14. davidrf

    davidrf I believe in B#

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    The problem were the original PRS SE tuning machines! As soon as I changed them with the Grover Rotomatics, the tuning issue immediately disappeared. Visually, I don't like these tuners as much as the original PRS, but hey, they cost me 1/3 of the Phase II Locking Tuners price and they do a perfect job...
     
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  15. Stoopalini

    Stoopalini New Member

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    This could be environmental as well. temperature changes can cause things to go sharp/flat. Is it by chance getting hit with an air conditioning or heating vent during the times when it goes out of tune?

    How far out of tune are we talking here? Is it just a cent or two, or is it a 1/2 or full step?
     
  16. davidrf

    davidrf I believe in B#

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    The guitar was in stable temperature and humidity conditions for 95% of the time, and it went out of tune pretty severely, sometimes even more then 1/2 step. But, as I said, the problem was 100% fixed with a set of locking tuners. :)
     
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  17. Maertl513

    Maertl513 Sherlock 513

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    I had a comparable issue with my custom made guitar. Locking tuners had been installed (first Sperzel, then Phase III), but the guitar went out of tune easily.
    The bridge is a Fishman Power Bridge VS-50P (a Wilkinson VS-100 w/o piezo saddles). The guitar originally was ordered w/ .009 to .042 gauge.
    I took the guitar to a friend, who's either a pro guitarist or a guitar tech/amp doc. I want him to prepare the nut for .010 to .046 gauge and check the guitar for that out of tune issue.
    In my case Fishman/Wilkinson assembled edged but not smooth saddles to the bridge. Therefore the wrapped bass strings had the opportunity to "grab" their saddle's edge. My friend rasped all saddle's edges to very smooth curves. He re-strung the guitar and the issue had been solved properly.

    Maybe the angle of the string going on the saddle is much to sharp.
     
  18. radiomatts

    radiomatts New Member

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    Your luthier or...more properly a guitar tech? Two different things. Sorry.. that's like nails on a chalkboard. So, my questions to you are: 1. are you sure the nut was cut properly? 95% of the time, a poorly cut nut is the problem. If you didn't have tuning problems before, but now do, yeah.. that's what I'd look at first. 2. String gauge can be a minor issue, but so is the way you attach the string to the post. I've always thought locking tuners were unnecessary except on a Flyod.
     

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