Will locking tuners stabilize the tuning?

Mike J.

New Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2021
Messages
486
Greetings to all.

About two weeks ago I tried out a PRS SE Standard 24. Really loved the feel of the Wide Thin neck. Went back the next day, played it for a few hours and decided to buy it. Left it at the store for their tech to give it a going over. Slight fret level, intonation and cleaned up the nut slots. Superior work as he always does.

I LOVE playing this guitar. It sounds great and the neck is beyond perfect for my hands. The problem is, I have to retune this guitar a lot. It's not going a mile out of tune but just enough to when playing certain chords or two note intervals and you can hear that it's slightly out. Most of the time the guitar is going sharp, mainly the G, D and A strings. It's not like I'm going crazy on the bar either, just doing little "shimmers" here and there but that's very, very seldom. (No EVH approved dive bombs!). About an hour ago I added some Big Bends Nut Sauce in all the slots so we'll see if that helps.

I don't know if the tuners are at fault or if it's something else so I'm strongly considering buying the PRS SE Locking Tuners. Assuming that the current tuners are at fault, will the locking tuners help in keeping the guitar in tune better than it is now? I'm playing at church on the 28th of this month and I really wanted to use this guitar. Just don't want to be up there having to retune after each song.

Thanks in advance and have a great day!
 
Now that you guys mentioned it......the guitar tech just put the string through the hole in the tuner shaft and tuned it up. No "Luthiers Knot" or the Bill Baker method of which I've never heard of.

Personally, I've been using the Luthiers Knot method for years on other guitars and have never had a problem once the strings are good and stretcched out.

Being said, I think I'm gonna change the strings right now. Not sure what method I'll use but if one of the two methods works and helps saves me $100.00 then I'm all for that! I have practice at church this coming Wednesday so we'll see how the tuning holds up between now and then.

Thanks for your time! Much appreciated!!!
 
…The problem is, I have to retune this guitar a lot. It's not going a mile out of tune but just enough to when playing certain chords or two note intervals and you can hear that it's slightly out. Most of the time the guitar is going sharp, mainly the G, D and A strings. It's not like I'm going crazy on the bar either, just doing little "shimmers" here and there but that's very, very seldom. (No EVH approved dive bombs!).
Mike, if I understand correctly, the tremolo is very similar to the one used on a Strat. Check out this
short video on how to properly setup a floating trem. It was a game changer on my Strat.
As for the tuners, the SE line uses cheap overseas parts and a good quality tuner could help hold the strings in tune also. Locking ones add convenience, but quality and a higher ratio will probably help. I like the 19:1 ratio ones myself.
Using a lubricant at the friction points is also helpful.
Tuning stability problems are usually a stack of lots of small issues compounding to crappy stability. Hope this helps
 
Mike, if I understand correctly, the tremolo is very similar to the one used on a Strat. Check out this
short video on how to properly setup a floating trem. It was a game changer on my Strat.
As for the tuners, the SE line uses cheap overseas parts and a good quality tuner could help hold the strings in tune also. Locking ones add convenience, but quality and a higher ratio will probably help. I like the 19:1 ratio ones myself.
Using a lubricant at the friction points is also helpful.
Tuning stability problems are usually a stack of lots of small issues compounding to crappy stability. Hope this helps
Thank you kindly! I will be checking that video out!

I've heard repeatedly that the SE tuners aren't the best which is why I was thinking of making a change anyway. We'll see how a string change with one of the two methods works.

Have a blessed day!
 
Changed the strings last night on the SE Standard and on my Vela as well. Just as I got the last string on and all tuned up something hit me like a ton of bricks. The guitar comes with the .009 to .042 gage set. I had the tech put on a .009 to .046 gage set. Hmmm. In an effort to see if the heavier low E, A and D strings were the reason things were binding up I replaced those three strings with strings with lighter strings from a .009 to .042 gage set. Strectched and pull on those strings like crazy to get the slack out and.....I applied the Luthiers Knot. Let the guitar sit all night after that.

Checked it this morning and all the strings were one cent sharp. Even though my thermostat is set and a constant 70 degrees it was a bit collor in the house this morning. Really stretched all the strings some more, tuned to pitch and let it set. I did this repeatedly every hour and a half before I actually played it.

While it overall appears to stay in tune better the D string seems to go sharp by about half a cent quite a lot. But the low E, A and D strings go a whole cent sharp when I use the bar. Got it all tuned up and did a light shimmer with the bar for about 3 seconds and every time I do this those three strings go sharp.

So using the Luthiers Knot did helped with the tuning stability, but things are still drifting around a bit more than I care for. Plus, I don't dare touch the bar which is a shame because I'd love to use it in one of the church songs for that little shimmer effect in one of the songs.

I have practice on Wednesday so I'll see how the tuning holds up until then before I decide if I'm gonna chance it. But I will be taking it back to the guitar tech for an additional going over. I'm still considering some locking tuners. Really don't care how the stock tuners work.
 
Luthier's knot does not seem to be necessary if you are wrapping around the post more than once. I use this method on my Gibbo Historics because the tuner post does not stick out far enough to get more than a wrap or two. It works well in this case.

I use the Bill Baker method on my McCarty's and ES's because it is easiest and I don't have tuning issues.

If I had a whammy bar, I'd probably go with lockers.
 
This is a PRS Forum- Don't ALL PRS guitars have locking tuners? (Joking- although I don't actually know) I have them on all of mine and the Gen 1 locking tuners on my 1996 PRS C22 are awesome- no winding required and it stays in PERFECT tune all of the time.
 
This is a PRS Forum- Don't ALL PRS guitars have locking tuners? (Joking- although I don't actually know) I have them on all of mine and the Gen 1 locking tuners on my 1996 PRS C22 are awesome- no winding required and it stays in PERFECT tune all of the time.
All of my CE22's do.

All the rest of my PRS guitars don't: SE Bernie Marsden, SE Singlecuts, SE Silver Skys, SE Soapbars.

With the Luthier's knot they stay in tune as well as my CE22's with the locking tuners do.
 
I've put Hipshot locking tuners on my 4 SE's and 2 S2s have standard PRS locking tuners. On the trems's I use ESP trem stabilizers in the spring cavity.
T4vYHEY.jpg


Now I do not use floating trems and only dive flat. This keeps everything within Cents of being tuned.

Works for me, maybe doesn't for you.
This is one of the SE's a Custom 22 HB
eCGmbP4.jpg
 
I decided to get some locking tuners. Thought, why not? After doing a bit of research I called Sweetwater and ordered the Schaller M6 135 set. They arrived early Sunday afternoon and I installed them. Didn't take all the strings off at once but instead I just installed one at a time. Pulled those new strings like mad a good few times throughout the day to get out any slack.

This guitar stays in tune SO much better. Prior to I was constantly retuning this guitar. I played it off and on for a few hours today and only the G string showed just a touch flat.

But it still needs a little TLC when using the bar. I don't know if the nut slots aren't quite right or if the bridge isn't quite repeating, but either or I need to take it in. The good news is that it doesn't go out of tune as bad as it did with the stock tuners. I'm not doing Van Halen dive bombs either. Prior to typing I gave it a quick little test. All I did was to take the bar down one time only by maybe half a step. The G, B and high E strings went flat about 1/4 cent. The A and D went 1/2 cent flat and the low E about 1/4 cent flat. But when I pulled up on the bar the B and high E strings returned to pitch but the G string went 1/2 cent sharp. The A and D strings went back to pitch but the low E went 1/4 flat. But even this is still a hugh improvement from what it was with the stock tuners. One of the other guitar players at church recommended the tech that he goes to so I'm going to contact him.

One thing I found out about this guitar is that when tuning I have to keep the B string about 1/4 cent flat. If I tune it to pitch and play (for example) a B (4th fret G string) and a D# (4th fret B string) I hear a nasty waver. Tune the B string down 1/4 of a cent and it sounds in tune as does everything else. Yes, the intonation is spot on. That is something I know how to do!

So I'm hoping the tech I'm going to contact can sort this out because i really like this guitar and I would like to use the bar to some extent. It plays great and I'm getting some great tones from it through my Pod Go that I use at church. One thing I really like is, when using a bit of gain, the bridge pickup has an almost "Tele-like" quality to it but with more girth. I LOVE that sound!

After thought. One reviewer of this guitar (SE Standard 24) on YouTube said that it takes a while to work the bar in so things will return to pitch. Any truth to this?
 
Last edited:
Back in the day, there was an oil people would put on the nut of the guitar to help the strings to go back to their original position after using the whammy bar. Something to consider. If you wrap your string several times on regular tuning pegs and stretch them, I'm not too sure how much locking tuners improve things?
 
It does take a while for the tremolo to break in. Also, make sure the trem is parallel to the body of the guitar. If it’s not, that will cause a pitch shift.
 
Back in the day, there was an oil people would put on the nut of the guitar to help the strings to go back to their original position after using the whammy bar. Something to consider. If you wrap your string several times on regular tuning pegs and stretch them, I'm not too sure how much locking tuners improve things?
I saw an interview with EVH and he said he use to widen the nut slots a bit so things wouldn't bind up and he used a drop of 3 in 1 oil in each slot.

The tuning stability of this guitar has improved dramatically since I installed the Schallers. Night and day.

i have used the Luthiers Knot method for years on other guitars and within a day things always settled in. Not with this guitars stock tuners. Had the stings on for week before I put the Scallers on and I was constantly retuning it.
 
It does take a while for the tremolo to break in. Also, make sure the trem is parallel to the body of the guitar. If it’s not, that will cause a pitch shift.
Thanks! The trem looks very parallel to me. Nice and even all around.

As far as the tuning stability when using the bar, it's no where near as bad since I installed the Schallers. All it takes is one little bend down and things are out but it's barely noticeable to the ear and a quick bend up helps bring things back in. Not perfectly in but pretty close. So I'm gonna keep working the bar for a few to see it that helps.

As said before, I play at church and I would like to use the bar strictly as an effect.....if and only if it adds to the moment. I've never used a bar before and I'm finding it's an interesting technique. But there are many other things I need to work on as well!
 
Back
Top