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Slipping Tuners?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by bendercaster, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Does anyone have experience with the Fender/Schaller Deluxe Staggered Cast/Sealed Tuning machines that would have been on some Fenders in the 2000s?

    I'm appealing to the collective TDPRI wisdom here. I have an early 2000 American Fat Strat Texas Special Stratocaster. For years it was my only nice guitar and I played the junk out of it. I've been trying to work it back into the rotation lately, but it is a little worn out and hasn't been staying in tune very well. I've widened and lubed the nut, replaced the two point tremolo (the knife edge was misshapen), and given it a full set up. It generally stays in tune, even with bending and a little tremolo, but then will suddenly seem to "slip" in the middle of song. When I check the tuning, most of the strings will still be in tune, but, for example, the low E will be really flat. Then when I go to tune it up, the tuner feels loose. It's not the windings on the strings. The strings are relatively new (not brand new, but not worn out either). I've never had tuners actually slip before (even cheap ones), but do you think the guitar would benefit from replacing the tuners?

    I'm looking at the Fender Deluxe Locking Machine heads. They seem reasonably priced, are staggered, and look like drop in replacements. But are they different enough from the Deluxe tuners I already have?
     
  2. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Do tuners actually slip? Has anyone had that problem? Do sealed tuners wear out over time?
     
  3. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've not been able to actually verify that tuners slip. As you say, even cheap ones. But some do feel loose when adjusting. But I came to the conclusion it didn't matter as they get secure under tension if you tune up to the note.

    But I wouldn't rule it out, especially if that particular tuner is loose. But of all i wouldn't expect to be an issue, Schaller would not.

    I really wonder if it's the knife edge on the trem somehow? I have an old two point here and it is butt ugly on the edge.

    maybe you should consider blocking and decking the tremelo and play it for a while and see if tuning issues go away?
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    I thought a Fat Strat had Humbuckers? Yours is called Texas Special also?
     
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  5. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    When someone hands me a guitar that just slips out of tune I always first consider how the guitar is strung and if the nut needs replacement.
     
  6. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Do you tune up to the note? If one tunes down to a note and then applies a bend or uses a whammy bar, that note will go flat because the gears are set up to ‘slip’. That said, I rare
    Y see 6 good tuners of the type that you have there that are good...even when new. Here is a test I apply to a tuning machine. Tune the string. Then, turn that tuning machine sharp and flat through a 1/8-1/4 of a turn. Do you hear the note change. If not, you have a set of gears there that are not as precisely ground as they should hav been, and that tuning machine is imho of little use in a serious situation. I usually find at least one out of 6 of those tuning machines of the type that you mention that exhibits this lack of quality.
    I do not buy Schallers....haven’t for many years.
     
  7. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

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    It's a slow turning gear. it would have to have been spinned wildly to get any wear.

    There's a screw in the button, on my guitars, that screw will tighten or loosen the mechanism. You should also learn to lock the strings on the post, No slipping possible then. Put all the odds on your side.

     
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  8. Alex_C

    Alex_C Tele-Meister

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    I'd restring it with lighter gauge strings, just to be sure that it is the tuner and not a nut issue. It's a $5 test.
     
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  9. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    The knife edge on the original two point was pretty messed up, but I replaced that recently (actually twice--the first time with a cheap that wore down within a year, the next a few months ago with a new bridge exactly like the original. That was definitely causing some of its tuning issues. Now it stays in tune, until all of a sudden it doesn't. And it is not all the strings. The high e tuner feels really tight and that string never goes out of the tune. B and G will occasionally feel loose after those two strings go out. But again, it will stay in tune for a whole set. Then 30 seconds into the next song, I can hear a few strings suddenly go out. The tuners are 20 years old, but Ive had guitars from the 70s that still had rock solid tuners. They were open back though so I could see what was going on.

    Edit: I actually had it blocked the last time this happened because I had the same thought. Now I have it floating again. I'm very careful never to adjust the two pivot screws when it is under tension because I don't want to mess up the knife edge again.
     
  10. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    No they don't.
    Even the cheapest ones.
    I suggest you check your stringing technique.
    I have those exact Schaller/Fender tuners in 2 guitars and have zero tuning problems.
    Tuning problems always come courtesy of the NUT anyhow.
     
  11. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    It was part of the hot rod series in the 2000s. It was actually the successor to the American Lonestar Strat, but with some upgrades like rolled fingerboard and staggered tuners. It has a pearly gates humbucker in the bridge and Texas Specials in the middle and neck position. It is a pretty versatile guitar, when it stays in tune.
     
  12. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tuners don't slip. The strings can slip in the tuner post.

    If you're a Strat twang bar (non-locking) user, a really good habit while playing is to momentarily mute all the strings and give the bar a downward thwack. It brings the guitar back into perfect tuning, and it takes 1/10th of a second to do.

    Setting up and tuning the guitar properly go a long way toward making this work every time.

    The best vid on the Web that describes this and demonstrates the principles is by our pal Galeazzo Frudua:

     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  13. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm having a similar learning moment - I have a guitar with one tuner that was binding, and another one with too much lash.

    The binding was caused by having the tuner screwed onto the headstock too tight, and the lash was cause by a nut slot pinching. Even though I thought it was perfect, I finally noticed it ping tuning up without tuning down first on that string. I always tune down first so I never noticed it.

    I've already addressed the "binding" problem, solved, and the nut slot soon when I have a little quiet time for it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  14. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I do always tune up. But you make a good point here. On the b string, which is one of my problem strings the tuner spins a little before I hear or see the note change on the tuner.
     
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  15. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    That's a good thought. Thanks.
     
  16. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    do you stretch your strings pretty well? I don't think I've actually had slipping tuners, I've seen broken tuners, but it was pretty obvious physical damage to the tuner.

    I focus on 1. wrapping minimally and carefully, 2. stretching the strings well. If the string is not stretched out and you are hammering it with a pick or whatever, the Low E very well might go flat. I'm hard pressed to convince myself that you suddenly have multiple tuners that are randomly slipping. It's got to be something else. Could there be a problem with how the strings are seating in the tremelo block. If you have a floating trem, of course if you have a change in the tension on any of the strings, all of the strings can be affected more or less, and if you have nut binding issues too, it might be kind of weird. Locking tuners can certainly make things better by removing the wrap in the string as a variable.

    I think what @schmee said is what I would do before anything else, deck the trem and see what happens.

    Nut issues are indicated by a string sticking and going sharp. I'm trying to imagine how a tight nut is going to make a string flat and I can't. I guess you could tune up to pitch and then if the string was stuck, tune down a little bit and then have the slack move from the neck side of the nut to the tuners side of the nut but if you tune down and then back up to pitch that should never happen.
     
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  17. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I appreciate what you are saying here. The nut and windings are certainly the usual culprits. It is not the winding technique though. I do have a new nut on the way. Again, it is twenty years old and the slots are getting a little low. It was originally set up with 9s. I've had tens on it for the last 10 years or so (the slots were widened and it was fine for many years), but the high e is a little muted lately.
     
  18. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep. I don't use the trem a lot, but when I do that's a trick I use. I had an old Epiphone with a tremolo that required the same technique. I'll admit to a love hate relationship with Strat tremolos though. I know how to set them up properly, but I'd much rather have a Jazzmaster trem. My 62 AVRI never went out of tune.
     
  19. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I know, right? Years ago when I went up in string gauge, the nut was definitely pinching certain strings. That got sorted at the time. I have and have had a lot of guitars. The only other guitar that I have have tuning stability issues with was my first MIM telecaster. The neck was like rubber. That is not the problem here. I'm baffled, but I'll just keep problem shooting. The trem has been replaced and properly set up and a new nut is on the way, so I'll just have to see how much that helps. I suppose it is still possible that one or two of the tuner gears are donked up, but it sounds like the general consensus is that is pretty unlikely and switching to the Deluxe locking tuners wouldn't fix it.
     
  20. DrBGood

    DrBGood Tele-Holic

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    Sounds like too many string turns around the post. If you lock it like in the video above, once the string is locked on itself, one turn is all it takes.
     
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