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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Yet Another Tuning Question....

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Sweet Lou 275, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    Well, I've read plenty of these on this site for years, so here's one of my own.

    Ordered a G&L Tribute ASAT Classic Ash from Musicians Friend a month or so ago. Wouldn't stay in tune for anything, so like I've had to do with just about every guitar I've ever ordered in that price point, I changed out the tuners. That fixed that particular problem, so I moved on to intonation and setup.

    Put nut action, truss rod, and bridge to Fender spec. Couldn't find one specifically for G&L. Never had issues with those numbers on my MIM's or any other Tele, so seemed good to go. Action was right where we like it so moved on to intonation.

    Intonated fairly easily without any issues to speak of. The E6 was a bit of a bear, but they tend to be that way. Everything is within a 1/2 cent, if not perfect. Well, when strumming my first chord, there are standing waves all over the place. It sounds absolutely dreadful.

    Decided to check a few things. Fretting at the first fret, I find the E1 and B are about 6-7 cents FLAT. I don't think I've ever seen anything but nuts on or sharp before. The G was about right on, the D and A just a few cents flat. The E6 blew me away. It was 12-13 SHARP at the first fret. Well, that explains the standing waves.

    I checked to make sure I had no string bind at the nut and that the relief was right so they were bearing on the leading edge. The saddles are brass barrels, so no binding there or seating issues. I did a double check of all my measurements and everything was still spot on.

    I called Musicians Friend and G&L both, but they say because I changed the tuners they would not honor the warranty. I kind of cry foul, but I'm over it. Warranty says they won't cover modifications, but the modification is not why the guitar won't play right. As it sits, I spent a lot of money for a door stop, so just trying to get it playable.

    I measured out the frets, and with the exception of the placement of the second, they seem to be in order. I will mention, the fret wire they use is pretty damn tall. It also seems to be just a bit flatter on top than I'm used to seeing. It appears to be .048 height, which is a little taller than the .039 I see in most of my other guitars.

    I took it to a friend of mine who is a Fender authorized luthier and the guy I worked with for the last 20 years learning the trade. We tried putting a compensated nut, adjusting neck relief, some action tweaks, and we just can't get that thing to play to a level that doesn't just scream at you. I am very familiar with even temperament tuning and the give and take of it, but this thing is ridiculous. When I talked to G&L about it, they basically said it was an easy fix to anyone with a little skill, but offered no advice on what that fix is. If myself and the two other luthiers I've talked to are just idiots then so be it, but the answer has eluded me to this point.

    If anyone has an idea, feel free to let me know. I've never had an issue like this before. I'm guessing it's a bad neck? Too tall frets? Out of ideas. I can do a fret level and take them down .01 to get to a more vintage wire height, but wanted to see if anyone else had a guess. Look forward to hearing from anyone who has an idea. Thanks in advance!
     

  2. Galibier_Un

    Galibier_Un Tele-Meister

    121
    Jul 12, 2016
    Colorado
    Thinking out loud here ...

    Maybe a re-crowning where the offending fret is assymetrcally crowned, to "reposition" it? I've never heard of this being done, but in theory, it seems possible.

    I wonder if fret wire exists without a round cross section - one vertical side.

    Cheers,
    Thom
     

  3. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    Thanks, Thom. Thinking out loud is about all I can do at this point. I am pretty close to pulling out the crowning file and going to town. They do seem awfully flat. I've often thought about a 'ramp' type of wire and possible benefits. I suppose it would wear quicker. If it ain't broke, don't fix it I suppose.
     

  4. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    It's a little late for that.

    Intonation trouble on one string close to the nut is either a bad string, a bad nut slot, magnetic influence from the pickups, a high fret (maybe) and not much else. It shouldn't be as difficult to fix as all this.
     
    sjruvolo likes this.

  5. Doorlord

    Doorlord Tele-Meister

    442
    Sep 5, 2010
    San Dimas
    Is the nut slot in the neck cut square? I've got a MIA neck from the 90's with a bad nut slot. If you look across the fingerboard from the low E across to the high E, the top of the nut tilts toward the headstock. Someday I'll attempt to square it up.

    I've also got a MIM neck that curves like an upside down smile, and the nut is not parallel with the 21st fret. The frets at the low E are slightly farther apart than at the high E. One day I'll use it on a guitar set up for slide.
     

  6. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    Agreed, from my experience. Nut slot is good. Lowered the pups a little just in case, no help. Frets are even. Tried three different strings on it. No dice.

    As a slight update, I broke out my fret scale tonight. The G&L appears to be about 1/16" or so shy of what my scale shows for 25-1/2". I happen to have a Samick Artist Series neck lying around that is also 25-1/2" scale. Just for fun I put the Samick neck on top of the G&L one. I fit the nut slot over top of the G&L nut so it lined perfect. The Samick appears to have a more correct fret placement, as every single one is about 1/16" closer to the bridge than the G&L. I am trying to work through the effect this would have, but do you think it might just be that the G&L fret placement is the culprit?
     

  7. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    Not if the problem is in the first fret or two of only one string. Your nut slot is too high, you've got a bad string, etc.

    You're using a strobe tuner, and intonating to fretted notes, and not some combination of harmonics and something else, right?
     

  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    Could be the nut slot was cut bad if 'every one is 1/16th"' different.

    I got a beater Strat-like unit that the guy said 'the tuners are bad, just a wall hanger guitar'. The tuners were fine. The problem was the nut had been badly installed with a slot burr so it was slightly angled as well as tipped. Open strings tuned to pitch but any chord was horrible. I removed the nut, straightened the fret side of the slot, installed a new nut, and it worked great as it should. Mis-located, angled slot, or tipped nut even by a little 1/16th causes all the tone problems you're experiencing.

    Regarding the tuner swap .. Do you tune up or do you do both tune up and tune down to get to pitch? Even the old open-faced and trapezoid tuners will stay in tune if tuned up to pitch only. If you overshoot then drop lower and tune up to pitch.

    .
     

  9. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    It's pretty much up the entire length of the neck, not just in the first couple frets. Mostly in the E6, but if not in that one it's one of the others. I am using 12th fret harmonic/12th fret fretted for intonating. I know there are some differing opinions on intonation, but have never had an issue using this method.
     

  10. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    Always tune up to pitch. If I shoot past then I go flat and back up. Nut slot appears fine as far as burrs or anything of that sort. The strings make contact at leading edge of nut with just a slight back angle toward the tuner. If the slot isn't square, it's not by much. It does seem to be about 1/32", maybe a hair more, long on the bass side. I did replace the nut with a synthetic ivory Fender since the factory one was cut way too low on a couple strings and I was getting buzz. I filed the Fender nut to where it should be.
     

  11. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    Does it make sense to just move the nut back 1/16"? I should be able to correct with the saddles, right? It should correct the nut to fret spacing for open tuning. Since the bass side seems longer already, I could just slot the treble side more to the headstock. Should help the smaller strings go towards sharp instead of flat like they are. Just thinking out loud.
     

  12. sosay

    sosay Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    34
    Aug 12, 2016
    IRELAND
    did you check the fret spacing?or did your friend? i just use the 12 fret for intonation also,if you can't seem to find the problem,i would just file the frets down anyway,then make sure the nut is good with your scale length,then using a fender fret rule,re crown the frets with ruler to the best you can,then maybe using trus rod,bring the neck forward ever so slightly,and work the action down using both bridge and truss rod,then intonate,
    if you still have issues i dunno maybe a re fret may be needed?
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016

  13. Hexabuzz

    Hexabuzz Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2014
    Northeast PA
    Not to hijack the thread, but if you don't mind me asking, what tuners did you swap out to? (make and model)
     

  14. jackinjax

    jackinjax Friend of Leo's

    Sep 11, 2016
    Jacksonville
    Put the original tuners back on it and take or send it back to MF.
     
    Hexabuzz likes this.

  15. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    The Sperzel Trim-Lok 6-in-line in chrome. They've always worked well for me, and they stagger the posts so you have more down slope on the E1 and B. Eliminates the need for a string tree.

    I pulled out the tape last night and checked it. Never thought of it until then. I compared it to a Samick neck I have and it definitely seems the nut slot is in the wrong spot. The Samick neck tapes out to the StewMac scale, the G&L is definitely off.

    Even if I could return it, MF makes me pay return shipping, plus they deduct for the 'free' shipping they sent it to me with. I called to see and it is I think a sort of made-up number. Even if I 'get my money back', it costs me over $100 I'll never see again. Would cost me the same for a swap. G&L was very rude and basically insulted every luthier and guitar nut I know. The guy I emailed in the warranty department said it's an easy fix, yet didn't offer to share. It is an MF exclusive guitar, so I'm sure they're cutting corners somewhere. It's just sad to me because I have one of their basses and I absolutely love it. Best thing I ever played.
     

  16. Hexabuzz

    Hexabuzz Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2014
    Northeast PA
    So you had to modify the headstock to get the tuners to fit?

    I've seen multiple discussions that there are no direct replacement locking tuners for Tributes.

    http://www.guitarsbyleo.com/FORUM/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=13530

    If you've found one, you might want to let the G&L forums know.
     

  17. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    Yeah, the Sperzel has a center located retaining peg. Had to drill a tiny hole in between the factory holes. The Tribute tuners have one on either corner, just like Fender. Not sure why a Fender locking tuner wouldn't work on a G&L unless the holes for the retainer pegs are different. Haven't measured them out.
     

  18. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    Possibly the entire bridge is to far forward/ back.
     

  19. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    42
    83
    Nov 24, 2016
    Washington
    Here's what G&L told me in an email:

    "I understand your frustration with this guitar but you modified it and therefore we are no longer obligated to service this instrument under warranty. I could go on and on writing a book about the stupid things self-aggrandizing “luthiers” say to customers but the bottom line is nothing you said couldn’t be fixed and fixed quickly with the right skills and knowledge."

    I read their warranty. I'm no attorney, but it says they will not cover modifications, not modified guitars. The tuners I swapped out are not the cause, so the warranty isn't enacted from that standpoint. By their logic, you void the warranty by changing the saddle height. Yes, I'm salty, but with good reason. If G&L would have just wrote back that they were not going to fix it, I would just move on. I don't see the need to insult my intelligence or my luthier. He has been doing this for 40 years, was big behind the scenes of country music for two decades, and has serviced all of my guitars flawlessly for 20 years. He even did a partial restoration on my wife's '67 Musicraft Messenger. From everything I've been able to parse, it would appear the nut and fret placement are both off to varying degrees. Send me a proper neck and problem solved, but instead they wash their hands.

    I want to thank everyone for their input on this particular thread. I appreciate your time, information, and knowledge. I'm just going to sell this thing for whatever I can get. It's a matter of principal at this point. I can't stand to look at the darn thing anymore. Definitely taking this as a learning experience. I'll do what I should have done in the first place and just make a Tele. Only have myself to blame then.
     

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