Modern Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch not in tune

1

I just bought a g5230t at guitar center (this may come in to play in a bit). It was the only one there that actually stayed in somewhat decent tuning when I tested it out ( and I vibed with it like you wouldn't believe, it plays fantastic). But it won't stay in tune. It isn't awful - I play it a ton - but it still irks me, you know? Are they any ways to get this thing to stay in tune consistently? Whether its a cheap thing I can do at home (I'm 16, so money is almost nonexistent and I'm out of a job because of Covid), or if it's a new component I can put on it that I can save up for, any advice would be much appreciated. Stay safe, and thanks a million!!

Btw, I've already done the graphite in the nut thing. I do that on almost all of my guitars.

2

It's likely due to the nut. It might be worth the cost to have it professionally set up. Go easy on the Bigsby as well. Good luck!

3

It's likely due to the nut. It might be worth the cost to have it professionally set up. Go easy on the Bigsby as well. Good luck!

– wabash slim

Thanks man! I've curled the bigsby back, I don't use it a ton to be honest. But yeah, A set up might work. Thanks again!

4

When I string up my guitars I do a wrap on top of the string poking through and then wrap down from there. When the string tightens having the string wrapped around the top and then the bottom seems to help secure the string in the tuner. Then once it's tuned to pitch I stretch out the strings by pulling on them and repeat until they seem seated and settled. This tightens up the strings on the post and helps keep them sturdy. You may already be doing this but I wanted to mention it in case it may help. Also, if you didn't change strings from the strings that came on the guitar I would recommend doing that immediately.

5

Welcome to all things Gretsch! The nut is 90% + the cause of tuning issues. Strings can't have any worn (flat) spots or kinks. First ensure the bridge is located where it should be and that the strings are on the tuners as Buddy describes. Putting graphite in the slots isn't the answer....the width of the slots being correct is the major issue. The slots have to be exactly the right width so there's no binding....graphite doesn't cure this.

6

Often, the nut slots have to be much wider than one might expect.

7

All good advice given in previous replys. As previously mentioned string stretching is important. I hold the string on the first fret with my left hand. With my right hand I hook my index finger under the string usually with a piece of paper/thin cardboard or even a pick and with light upward pressure slide my finger from bridge to the 2nd fret. I repeat this until the string stays in tune then move on to the other strings.

8

Almost always the nut is the culprit. Have the nut properly dressed or buy some nut files and learn to do it yourself - slowly.

9

All good advice given in previous replys. As previously mentioned string stretching is important. I hold the string on the first fret with my left hand. With my right hand I hook my index finger under the string usually with a piece of paper/thin cardboard or even a pick and with light upward pressure slide my finger from bridge to the 2nd fret. I repeat this until the string stays in tune then move on to the other strings.

– GreTschocaster

Thanks for the suggestion. I do that everytime I restring unless I'm in some sort of time crunch.

10

Often, the nut slots have to be much wider than one might expect.

– Journeyman

Do you know what type of file I should use to widen them? I might look it up myself, because trying to get someone to do it professionally is a pain in the ass during Covid.

11

Often, the nut slots have to be much wider than one might expect.

– Journeyman

Do you know what type of file I should use to widen them? I might look it up myself, because trying to get someone to do it professionally is a pain in the ass during Covid.

12

Welcome to all things Gretsch! The nut is 90% + the cause of tuning issues. Strings can't have any worn (flat) spots or kinks. First ensure the bridge is located where it should be and that the strings are on the tuners as Buddy describes. Putting graphite in the slots isn't the answer....the width of the slots being correct is the major issue. The slots have to be exactly the right width so there's no binding....graphite doesn't cure this.

– Windsordave

Yeah, the graphite thing is only a temporary and sometimes unsuccessful fix. I replaced the strings the same day I got the guitar to a set Ernie Ball Paradigms, 11 gauge. This helped a bit, the strings felt like normal a normal 10 set when I got the guitar and the were way too slinky (no pun intended). I might have the nut slot probably professionally addressed, but that might be a huge pain in the ass. Thanks for the warm welcome!!

13

Almost always the nut is the culprit. Have the nut properly dressed or buy some nut files and learn to do it yourself - slowly.

– Zigracer

That's what I was thinking of doing. Do you recommend taking the strings off? Or would it be alright if I just loosened them and removed them from the corresponding slot.

14

Just to state the obvious.. If you haven't done this before, be very careful or you may be looking at a nut replacement.
Is it just certain strings? A "PING" sound when tuning on a given string is not uncommon with a slot that is too tight or not cut properly. I would check and adjust (file) the affected nut slots ever so slightly on those individual strings. Do it little by little, don't try to do it in one shot and watch you don't go any deeper on the slots where the string breaks at the fretboard side, than where they already are. You don't need to take all the strings off. Look at lots of videos like StewMac (Stewart MacDonald) and only proceed if you're comfortable.

I'm echoing the others who have responded..

15

They do come with 10's from the factory so if you put 11's on it, they may bind. There are files online that you can purchase from Stew-Mac but they're a bit pricey. I've used old strings before, with some luck.

16

That's what I was thinking of doing. Do you recommend taking the strings off? Or would it be alright if I just loosened them and removed them from the corresponding slot.

– Liam457

The first step is to make sure your truss rod is properly adjusted. If you have too much relief when slotting the nut the cuts will be too deep and the strings will lay on the first fret. Do one string at a time while keeping the other strings tuned to pitch or slightly higher.

You need a set of proper files. I think it's great if you do it yourself but I'd take it slow and order a backup nut just in case.

17

If you do decide to go with a new nut, do yourself a huge favor and get bone. Tests have shown it to be considerably better than all these plastic POS brought on in the past couple of decades. Make sure the slots are cut to angle towards their tuner. This usually means only the inboard 4 strings as the outboard 2 usually are straight to their tuner.

18

Liam, welcome to the GDP, I'm glad you found us, but sorry to hear about your difficulties with your new guitar. A lot of great advice has been given about addressing the nut. A properly dressed net is paramount for Bigsby equipped guitars. But the type of Bigsby you have on that guitar, a B50, puts a lot of tension on the bridge, and that can cause tuning instability too.

Fortunately there is a modification that can be made to the B50, that greatly reduces the tension on the bridge, it's called the "Brick's Biggs Fix", here is a Link to their website. A lot of guys swear by this little gadget, and they are quite easy to install yourself. It's a replacement tension bar for the Bigsby, it is raised up about a quarter of an inch, and dramatically reduces the tension on the bridge. Good luck with getting the problem sorted out, tuning instability in maddening!

19

I had tuning issues on my Gretsch. I purchased the guitar used and it had 11-49. I changed to 10-46 WAY better tuning stability. (I’d presume due to the nut and guitar just liking 10-46 better)

20

A Gretsch is a very “hands-on” instrument, and you should learn to dial it in yourself, Corona or not! It’s actually fun to do your own setup, and to know you can make any adjustments to compensate for different tunings, string gauges, and/ or composition.

As stated previously, check your truss rod/relief. Check your bridge height and intonation. Check your pickup height.

Your guitar came from the factory with 10s, and even at that the slots could be a tad narrow. Now you have 11s on it, and yeah, some of the slots might be too tight. But I don’t think you need to FILE the slots, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you have some fine Emory cloth, use that. And go slow..,like REALLY slow. More like polishing. And concentrate on the sides of the slots, NOT the depth, and make sure you have the strings oriented towards the corresponding tuner. it’s not as hard as it sounds! But, again, go SLOW. Incremental adjustments can reap surprisingly huge rewards !

And I believe you have the Bigsby with the tension bar, which is fine. Just make sure the Bigsby has a smooth range of motion. And all surfaces that touch the strings are smooth.

And you have the adjustomatic bridge, which can be ok, or another source of binding.

But, as also stated previously, most tuning issues concerning Bigsby use is at the nut. I also recommend Big Bends Nut Sauce... or a similar type of nut lube, at least until the guitar breaks in.

Good luck, have fun with it, get to really know every inch of your guitar... and welcome !!!

21

Liam, Great advice from Curt and the others. You can find proper sized nut files at Luthiers Mercantile or Stewmac.

22

Since you are out of work, Liam, and money is a big issue, you can actually find very affordable 'Guitar Tool Kits' on Amazon. Many of them include a comprehensive set of files, radius guages etc, and a steel ruler card with different measurement scales on each side. Do a search on Amazon for "Guitar Tool Kits", and take your pick. I actually have one of the better ones from Amazon, and it has everything I need to tune up a guitar.


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