Acnestes

"If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
223
Never leaves the basement for gigs since it can't hold tune so don't blame temp swings....

Basement. Humidity changes. With rosewood fingerboards in particular.
Widening the slots a hair helps a great deal.
Good question about why they continue to use that nut material, though.
 

coldradio

New Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Catonsville, MD USA
Basement. Humidity changes. With rosewood fingerboards in particular.
Widening the slots a hair helps a great deal.
Good question about why they continue to use that nut material, though.
My 5 other guitars stay in tune that sit right next to them icluding a 20 year old Mexican strat that gets played about once per week and hasn't been retuned in like 3 months. I am anal about the T/H as I have two acoustics and they are very stable. This is not user error. It's a crap guitar problem.
 

Antmax

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2017
Messages
179
Location
Brit in California
My 5 other guitars stay in tune that sit right next to them icluding a 20 year old Mexican strat that gets played about once per week and hasn't been retuned in like 3 months. I am anal about the T/H as I have two acoustics and they are very stable. This is not user error. It's a crap guitar problem.

I guess your options are to fix the nut which is the problem 90% of the time, or sell it.

Don't know why they continue using the same crappy nuts either, they have caused the same issue for years. Seems a bit silly. I noticed those new hollowbody SE's come with bone nuts. Wonder if those are cut properly. I was thinking of getting one of those.
 

needsmoresklll

Practice, suck less, repeat
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
21
I am going to have the nut replaced after I install the SE locking tuners I ordered (arriving any day now...). My local luthier has options for nut material and is suggesting a custom bone nut, but he has Tusq available as well. For those of you that have swapped out the SE nut, do you recommend one over the other as a replacement and why?
 

GUITARSRUINLIVES

New Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2019
Messages
3
Similar issue on my 2019 Paul’s guitar- plus one.

I know I need to replace the vintage tuners, not because they are vintage because they’re just not that great. Ultra stiff. The plastic nut also leaves much to be desired. But here’s my issue-

even with only 10 gauge strings, the neck moves like crazy when I bend strings- almost like I’m playing a floating bridge. The bridge itself is locked down and stable, so the neck itself is moving.

The result of less than fully seasoned timbers?

Thanks guys-
JoshOptical

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?
 

Acnestes

"If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
223
I think the tuners get way too much blame. I have a CU24SE with the original tuners but upgraded with a John Mann vibrato. Any tuning problems I have ever had with the guitar are solely due to the nut. Certainly replacing it would be best, but I widened the slots a hair and slopped on the graphite and I really don't have any trouble with tuning at this point, even with vibrato use.
 

Antmax

New Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2017
Messages
179
Location
Brit in California
Turners are rarely the problem when it comes to tuning instability. It's almost always friction. But if you don't like the look feel or precision of them then yeah. The only SE I have bought that didn't have tuning issues because of the deep and tight nut slots was the CU24 with the Floyd Rose since it has a locking nut instead of the usual plastic ones.
 

needsmoresklll

Practice, suck less, repeat
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
21
I was interested in speeding up string changes and did change my SE tuners and will confirm that they have not impacted the tuning stability of this guitar. (If you are wrapping your strings on non-locking tuners using a locking method then they really shouldn't slip anyway, so no surprise there.) Multiple full step bends will knock it out of tune, heavy trem use too. There is nut sauce in the saddles and the nut, and I have stretched the stings etc. As others have mentioned it all points at the nut, either the way it's cut or the material.

It does seem odd that the nut is a common issue for these products and has never been addressed. There is a significant price difference between an SE compared to CE or Core (nevermind WL or PS) so improving the nut seems like just the right thing to do. I can't imagine providing a better nut on an SE would impact sales of the other products in the PRS line. Buying a new guitar to only have to immediately repair it to make it stay in tune seems like an undesirable scenario for most consumers. PRS can still sell upgraded tuners to owners like me that have upgraded other parts (like cheap pots and switches) on their SE's anyway. Some of us just like to buy shiny things right? :D And these look nicer than the stock ones IMHO.

BYo5S1U.jpg
 

Acnestes

"If I can do it, it's not art." - Red Green
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
Messages
223
It does seem odd that the nut is a common issue for these products and has never been addressed.
And it's not that it's just, you know, mediocre. It really is particularly bad! It seems like there are more complaints about SE tuning, which as you say all seem to point to the nut, than any guitar I've ever encountered.
Even an exotic nut is a cheap part, relatively speaking. I don't understand why PRS seems to be married to material they use.
 

Sloopy65

New Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
9
I'd recommend a graph tech xl tusq nut. Works very well for me, drop in replacement on wide thin SE necks, and it's slotted to accept up to 11 gauge strings without needing to be widened. It's a hassle to replace the nut, but the cost to improvement ratio it provides is well worth it. It's probably one of the cheapest upgrades you can make to a guitar. Even cheaper if you know how to install it properly yourself.
 

needsmoresklll

Practice, suck less, repeat
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
21
Tusq nut has been installed and I am happy with the results. I have been comfortable doing basic maintenance (string changes, intonation and truss rod adjustments, installed locking tuners and have adjusted trem claw to get the bridge level) but had some reservations about doing the nut. So I spent the $40 to have a $10 part installed and it just improved my experience so much that it really makes you wonder why the stock nut is used at all. When I first picked it up I played it for over an hour in a stable environment and it wouldn't go out of tune. Of course, it will now go back to it's home in my room where the temp isn't as controlled so I will have to tune it up every time but I am super happy with the results.
 

shimmilou

Established in 1963
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
2,501
Glad it stays in tune now.

I was interested in speeding up string changes and did change my SE tuners and will confirm that they have not impacted the tuning stability of this guitar. .....

You still had the bad nut on when you changed the tuners? Can't really tell if locking tuners are better for tuning stability with a bad nut.
 

needsmoresklll

Practice, suck less, repeat
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
21
You still had the bad nut on when you changed the tuners? Can't really tell if locking tuners are better for tuning stability with a bad nut.

Hmm, you might be right. I could pop the stock tuners back in and see if there is much of a difference, my guess is there wouldn't be. The ratio is exactly the same at 18:1, and I lock wrapped the strings on the stock ones.

In any case it is more convenient to put new strings on the locking ones so they were a welcome upgrade, and I really liked the look of them once installed - win win. After seeing so many posts about tuners impacting stability it was an experiment that showed me that a $10 nut had a bigger influence than new tuning pegs. Also the new nut doesnt pinch 10's so I was able to go up a gauge too.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2019
Messages
9
Count me in as another recent PRS player who bought a beautiful charcoal grey roasted maple se, and has had major tuning issues - unfortunately, I cant remember buying a guitar of this caliber and having such tuning issues; I have to tune it every few minutes, its crazy. Its had a basic setup, neck seems nice, but after hearing rumors of the cause and reading through this forum I suppose Im resigned to hoping its just the nut. I did purchase a bunch of upgrades that I havent been able to afford to install yet but I will be soon. I got the locking tuners, the nut used on the core models, I even got a set of bridge saddles to replace the stock ones. Im a metalhead/progressive player and I have a set of emg 57/66 pu's to be installed as well. So im hoping the nut and saddles make the difference because ive already invested a lot in this guitar, having no idea that these things notoriously went out of tune so easily. I thought I had researched them well, but apparently not.
 

Alnus Rubra

Loving nature’s wonders
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Messages
17,771
Location
Scotland
To understand your issues, firstly I would ask if you use the trem and how much?

Have you changed string gauges?

Describe the tuning issues.

I’m assuming you have been playing for some time and carry out string stretching after re-stringing and tune up to each note?

The core nut is self-lubricating due to its construction and you will hear that it has almost a metallic chime if tapped or dropped.

Also check to see if the ball ends of your strings are seated correctly in the bridge.

Apologies if any of this “suck eggs” simple.
 

Sloopy65

New Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
9
Count me in as another recent PRS player who bought a beautiful charcoal grey roasted maple se, and has had major tuning issues - unfortunately, I cant remember buying a guitar of this caliber and having such tuning issues; I have to tune it every few minutes, its crazy. Its had a basic setup, neck seems nice, but after hearing rumors of the cause and reading through this forum I suppose Im resigned to hoping its just the nut. I did purchase a bunch of upgrades that I havent been able to afford to install yet but I will be soon. I got the locking tuners, the nut used on the core models, I even got a set of bridge saddles to replace the stock ones. Im a metalhead/progressive player and I have a set of emg 57/66 pu's to be installed as well. So im hoping the nut and saddles make the difference because ive already invested a lot in this guitar, having no idea that these things notoriously went out of tune so easily. I thought I had researched them well, but apparently not.

With all of those upgrades you should have no problems with tuning stability. Also a problem that I had was over using the trem a bit. I was used to Floyd trems and learned pretty quickly that PRS trems just don't take that much movement, and even with locking tuners heavy trem use was knocking it slightly out of tune. Once I eased back just a bit on how far I was moving the trem, I never had any more issues.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2019
Messages
9
With all of those upgrades you should have no problems with tuning stability. Also a problem that I had was over using the trem a bit. I was used to Floyd trems and learned pretty quickly that PRS trems just don't take that much movement, and even with locking tuners heavy trem use was knocking it slightly out of tune. Once I eased back just a bit on how far I was moving the trem, I never had any more issues.
oh man I appreciate the response, all good. Although a lead player for many years, I never used the tremolos much and some years ago abandoned the hassle of floyd roses even on other more 'metal' guitars lol, i primarily used fixed bridges, so i havent gone off on the PRS tremolo, but i do press and pull on it a little to help stretch strings and hopefully the tremolo itself. but i stretch the strings as much as I can at first, Ive had pretty good luck over the years with guitars in that regard. Im hoping the nut is the biggie here; Im loving the feel and natural tone of the PRS, id like this to be my main guitar, hence the customization im soon to embark on with it to make it even more 'mine'. Ive got a good luthier lined up and hes gonna set it up for 10 gauge strings which ill keep constant.

so we'll see! ill report to this forum after I get my guitar back, gonna be interesting, Ill of course tell my guy about the tuning issues
 

Sloopy65

New Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
9
oh man I appreciate the response, all good. Although a lead player for many years, I never used the tremolos much and some years ago abandoned the hassle of floyd roses even on other more 'metal' guitars lol, i primarily used fixed bridges, so i havent gone off on the PRS tremolo, but i do press and pull on it a little to help stretch strings and hopefully the tremolo itself. but i stretch the strings as much as I can at first, Ive had pretty good luck over the years with guitars in that regard. Im hoping the nut is the biggie here; Im loving the feel and natural tone of the PRS, id like this to be my main guitar, hence the customization im soon to embark on with it to make it even more 'mine'. Ive got a good luthier lined up and hes gonna set it up for 10 gauge strings which ill keep constant.

so we'll see! ill report to this forum after I get my guitar back, gonna be interesting, Ill of course tell my guy about the tuning issues

I was exactly the same, I had used primarily fixed bridges and I had an Ibanez with a Floyd. Honestly the biggest issue is probably the nut. Locking tuners have helped mine out for ease of string changes, and I was lucky enough to have one of the "good" SE stock nuts that wasn't binding. Out of curiosity, which nut are you upgrading to? I only ask because if you plan on going to 10s, the graph tech xl that I mentioned earlier is pretty much a drop in replacement, and the slots are wide enough to accommodate 10s without any additional filing for your luthier. It also should need minimal to no sanding required on the bottom to get it to the right height. The locking tuners are easy to install yourself, just block the trem before removing all the strings. If you have that done beforehand plus the graph tech nut your luthier will thank you for it lol
 

Benjamin Berry

New Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2020
Messages
11
Count me in as another recent PRS player who bought a beautiful charcoal grey roasted maple se, and has had major tuning issues - unfortunately, I cant remember buying a guitar of this caliber and having such tuning issues; I have to tune it every few minutes, its crazy. Its had a basic setup, neck seems nice, but after hearing rumors of the cause and reading through this forum I suppose Im resigned to hoping its just the nut. I did purchase a bunch of upgrades that I havent been able to afford to install yet but I will be soon. I got the locking tuners, the nut used on the core models, I even got a set of bridge saddles to replace the stock ones. Im a metalhead/progressive player and I have a set of emg 57/66 pu's to be installed as well. So im hoping the nut and saddles make the difference because ive already invested a lot in this guitar, having no idea that these things notoriously went out of tune so easily. I thought I had researched them well, but apparently not.

I have a brand new PRS SE custom 24. Won’t stay in tune for 5 minutes. My dealer is fantastic, so they are helping. The remachined the nut, that didn’t help at all now they ordered new tuners. For reference my $80 2002 Fender Starcaster that I keep at work only needs to be tuned once a month. Very frustrating, thinking of just giving it back to them and getting a Gibson.
 

bodia

Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Messages
28,902
Location
Suburban Chicago
I have a brand new PRS SE custom 24. Won’t stay in tune for 5 minutes. My dealer is fantastic, so they are helping. The remachined the nut, that didn’t help at all now they ordered new tuners. For reference my $80 2002 Fender Starcaster that I keep at work only needs to be tuned once a month. Very frustrating, thinking of just giving it back to them and getting a Gibson.
:rolleyes:
 
Top