Electromatic tuning issues


I had a couple of early electromatics. A 5120, and a duo jet. First up, the newer electromatics look fantastic, they really upped their game since the early ones. I was wondering if they have fixed their old problem. Getting one to stay in tune. The old ones, I would replace the nut, put on my fave vintage style tuners- Grover stay-tite. And even went as far as putting on a USA bigsby. They just did not stay in tune. I'm thinking of buying another- they look so sharp these days. Any tuning problems not fixed with a new nut?


Although I am not familiar with Modern World Gretsch (anything from 1990 on) I do know that tuning issues are an often discussed problem with the old ones, due to crummy tuners, nut or bridge probs and even necks starting to become loose before you can tell there is problem. The recent Grover 18:1 Sta Tites are great and fix a lot of tuning issues on the old ones. So it can be a number of problems usually figured out thru a process of elimination. Still some of the issues affecting the 1960s ones could also be in the more recent ones. How bout some pix of your faves?

My favorite Toronto area guitar player is this guy Danny Marks, who is known to wield a Gretsch every so often.


Thanks. With a little care my Japan Gretsches stay in tune.


Danny Marks and I talk gretsch every few days on facebook. Amazing player.


It's usually the nut. But you don't really need a new one. You just need to have the slots widened a bit and some lubrication.


I agree with Ger. I've had many Bigsby equipped guitars and any tuning problems have been solved by giving attention to the nut.


1) Nut. 2) String gauge. 3) # of winds on the tuner post. 4) 1, 2, and 3.


There are two philosophies for nuts. One is to cut it so the strings only contact the nut where it meets the fingerboard. The other is to curve the slots so the pressure is spread out over the full length of the slots and the strings never make a sharp turn. I've had good success with the latter.


Most everything has improved since the reacquisition by the Gretsch family. The newer guitars, since 2002 are very nice.


Howdy. Some got Graph-Tech nuts, some Delrin (like the Setzer Hot Rods). A good slotted nut (best in the same angle like the headstock) will solve most tuning issues. Big bends lubication added and you're good to go.

Good stringed strings: 2 windings are enough!

The stock bridges are bad cheapos- a TruArc or a Compton bridge is a must on Electromatics.


It could be the nut but most times it's simply not putting the strings on correctly. My collection of Squire vintage modified and Classic Vibe guitars all have the same vintage-style tuners on them. I bend the strings and I am not gentle with the whammy but they stay in tune. I find that stretching the strings after installation and being tuned to pitch makes all of the difference. You have to pull them tight at the tuner shaft.


I have had no tuning problems with my 2006 5120.


Remember with the change in weather (mostly humidity) hollow body guitars will swell and shrink putting them out of tune.


You could try these Wilkinson tuners, they are Kluson look-a-likes and I greased mine with a syringe without a needle on and some silicon grease through the hole in the back of the case.

The stock Electromatic ones are monkey metal, easily broken, these will go on my 5420 Fairlane if one breaks, the Grovers are good and my Japan guitars stay in tune well.

I use graphite powder in the nut slots applied with a small art brush, the strings don't stick either, check out my Silver Sparkle on the Electromatic pages here, I put on a Vanson roller bridge and USA Bigsby which has made the guitar a whole lot better.

The Electromatic is a good basis for upgrades!


My electromatic Jet is a probable '13 model or later, I don't really know, but that's the year I bought it. I had tuning issues and used the old shade tree trick of passing a larger string through the hole to remove anything in the slot. There was plenty of shed material, cut material etc in the slots.

My projet is the next one up to go to the Shop. First off a bone nut. It will probably heal 80% of any issues not related directly to the bigsby.


My 2008 5120 has tuning issues. I took it to a guitar tech, who said the nut wasn't cut right (the G slot basically had two channels) and did a small repair. It seems better but not perfect still.


My 2008 5120 has tuning issues. I took it to a guitar tech, who said the nut wasn't cut right (the G slot basically had two channels) and did a small repair. It seems better but not perfect still.

– sleepy

All the helping answers are above!

Register Sign in to join the conversation