SE Tuning Instability

Discussion in 'PTC - PRS Tech Center' started by Daniel Turner, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Daniel Turner

    Daniel Turner New Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I've got two SE's. An SE Custom 24, and an SE Mark Holcomb. I find that with both, the tuning is so unstable, playing a few notes can throw it out. Only slightly at first, but a bend will generally mess it up a fair bit.
    With the Custom, I installed locking tuners, but still get the issue. Next step is to change the nut.
    With the Mark Holcomb, i've had the nut changed, but the tuners are still the same.
    Is there anything else I can do?
    Also I can never set the intonation right, no matter the adjustment with the saddles.
    What's a guy to do?
     
  2. Wakester

    Wakester Re Member

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    Sounds like you're headed in the right direction with changing the nut. You might want to lube the bridge saddles with graphite or similar. (I used a pencil) I'm guessing swapping out the entire bridge with a MannMade or a Core Bridge will help too.
     
    Glide-bpm likes this.
  3. Ovibos

    Ovibos Naughty Wood Librarian

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  4. Daniel Turner

    Daniel Turner New Member

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    I'll try the graphite, put it in the nut but never tried the saddles
     
  5. Wakester

    Wakester Re Member

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    It seemed to help mine.
     
  6. Daniel Turner

    Daniel Turner New Member

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  7. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    You are probably already doing it, but let's cover the basics first. Do you tune down and come up to pitch when tuning? If not the tuning will not be stable no matter what you do.
     
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  8. Daniel Turner

    Daniel Turner New Member

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    Yeah I always tune up
     
  9. Acnestes

    Acnestes "If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green

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    I can only speak from own limited experience with my own SE, but if yours are anything like mine I'd bet it's the nut. For some reason it can be really "draggy", even after a liberal application of graphite. From what I read around here and elsewhere it sounds like it's a pretty common issue, and I might even go so far as to bet that it's the most common source of all the tuning problems reported.
     
    GavQuinn likes this.
  10. Daniel Turner

    Daniel Turner New Member

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    Yeah I'm gonna have the nut swapped out at my local store, hopefully that'll be the end of it
     
  11. Johnny Rigs

    Johnny Rigs Have you tried restarting?

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    The only times I’ve had tuning stability issues is when: 1) I didn’t properly stretch the strings, 2) left old strings on too long, and 3) owned a Les Paul.

    I always thought it weird why some receive a bad nut, and others a perfectly good one. Even on SE models, of which I’ve owned 4.
     
  12. Antmax

    Antmax New Member

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    SE nuts are notorious for grabbing the strings. Almost everyone either replaced them straight up or fixes them. The slots are really deep and tight even for stock 9's.
     
    MuddyDitch likes this.
  13. ElrytNamrogo

    ElrytNamrogo My name be scrambled

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    An improper setup can also cause tuning stability issues. Be sure that tremolo bridge is setup correctly so the break-away angle on the saddle is within range. Other than that, sounds like you're on the right track. Tuning issues generally reside between the tuners, nut, and bridge. Sometimes, although rarely, dramatic truss rod variances can affect tuning stability.

    A proper setup, new nut, and locking tuners should fully remedy your current issues.
     
    shimmilou likes this.
  14. Crazybayman

    Crazybayman New Member

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    I'd try lightly sanding the grooves on the nut. It might be something as simple as the sting(s) sticking.

    For the custom, are you accidentally palming it out of tune? Happened to me with my strat - only had 3 springs on the trem and it was set high. Whenever my palm hit the saddles, it would depress the bridge as if I was engaging the tremolo. Doing this repeatedly would knock it out of tune. If this is the case, you can try more springs or tightening the trem claw, or both.
     
  15. gush

    gush She said "huge bag of dibs".

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    On your intonation question, are your pickups really close to the strings?
     
  16. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I'll suggest you get a new nut, locking tuners, and have the guitars set up professionally by a good luthier. That's not necessarily your buddy at a local store. Someone who has set up a lot of PRSi should do the first setup. After that, you you should be able to handle any adjustments on your own. Also remember, changing string gauges without resetting up the guitar will make all the headaches come back.
     
  17. mace

    mace New Member

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    I love my Holcomb but the nut is the weak link. First off, the white nut doesn't even match the cream colored trim on the neck so it just looks bad. But worse, the nut on mine pinches the G and high E strings so they don't fully ring out. I don't seem to have tuning issues per se, but I did put on black Schaller locking tuners a while back but mostly for ease of changing strings. I'll get the nut replaced with a better quality black one soon.
     
  18. jvin248

    jvin248 New Member

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    .

    If you upsized the strings from stock 9s the nut will bind.
    If really upsizing strings, there may not be enough room to intonate the saddles.

    Tuning up
    Graphite in the nut slots and saddles
    Untarnished newer strings

    .
     
  19. mace

    mace New Member

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    The Holcomb SE ships with 10-52 strings. I use the 10-46s EB Slinky's so no 'upsizing' involved. The nut has issues with pinching the strings. Plus the white nut doesn't match the white neck binding, which is unfortunate. Otherwise the guitar is amazing!

    I see that the OP already changed the Holcolmb nut and still has intonation problems. Not sure why adjusting the saddles accordingly and making sure the neck is flat wouldn't fix it?
     
  20. Craig Clark

    Craig Clark New Member

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    I have a PRS Custom 24 SE, I am looking to replace the nut with a core one, does the core nut fit right in, or does it need some modification, I will get my guitar tech to do it anyway, but just curious
     

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