Tremolo tuning issues!??

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Bottle Rocket
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 11, 2018 8:40 am

Tremolo tuning issues!??

Post by andrey20 » Mon May 14, 2018 4:59 am


I have an Ibanez guitar with a Strat style tremolo system (Ibanez version of it). Until a few weeks ago, the trem was working kinda fine, but suddenly, the strings started pulling detuning too easily (especially 3rd). So I set up the guitar so that the trem stays in tune, which it does. But when I bend a string (with my fingers), it goes flat. The moment I dip the whammy bar, it gets back to where it was. This is interfering with my playing, as I bend the 3rd string a lot. I know that pulling the string hard on a trem makes it go flat, but it was never this sensitive. This happened after I put on a new set of strings, but I the problem is continuing after putting on another new set. I did widen and slightly deepen the nut slots to allow easier sliding of the string, but this could not possibly be the reason. I also changed my preferred string gauge from 9 to 10. I need solutions, because I cannot find any solution elsewhere, and I really enjoy playing with the tremolo, and don't want to hardtail it. I searched through many resources like Covoco but did not find about this. If anyone can suggest me it would be great.

Any help wll be appreciated.
Thank you

Triple Recto
Posts: 3142
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Tremolo tuning issues!??

Post by bandit2013 » Tue May 15, 2018 7:07 pm

I much prefer a locking tremolo (used to be a Kalher fan but now a Floyd Fan). I am not suggesting you change your bridge or anything like that. A few things come to mind that I had to work out and is similar to your situation even with a fixed bridge.

The 10 gauge will stretch a bit. For a fixed bridge guitar (have a few of those as well) I will pull up on the string away from the body at a good location where I can get a good hold on it. Then retune. I will do this a few times and eventually the tuning will become stable. For a tremolo bridge, locking or not, I do the same. I will not lock the strings if it is a locking tremolo until I have gone though the stretching part of it. It generally does not take long and may have to retune once in a while.

It could also be related to the strings themselves. Hard to believe I have stayed with the same brand and style of strings for almost 31 years. I have tried other strings but they would not stay on long enough to get any wear as I would always return to the brand I prefer. I have tried other gauges of the same sting (heavier than normal) and never cared much for the larger gauges. 10's were always a better fit for me. The thicker cores of the 10's will take a bit longer to normalize when compared to smaller gauges.

Tuners have a clutch washer between the machine head post and the tuner knob. (at least the more modern type, this would exclude the stamped steel vintage style Fender and Gibson tuners). Check the screw that holds the tuner knob in place, you can tighten it by holding the tuner knob but do not overtighten the screw. The tuning gears will move under stress (bending strings) as they are not perfect. This is due to the worm gear mesh and the peg gear. The higher the ratio number the more stable the tuner will be but will take longer to wind the string post. Tuners can wear out depending on construction. Clutch washers may break or split if they are made of nylon.

You may need to check your truss rod. If you have had the guitar set up for light guage strings, you may need to re-adjust the truss rod to compensate for the higher tension in the neck, especially if it is a thin neck. Note that the neck will flex when you bend strings and this may be more so with a thin profile neck if it does not have carbon fiber reinforcment rods (more recent or current guitars may have this technology in the neck). Get the guitar in tune and check the bow on the neck. There should be some information about this on the net, check the manufacturer's web site for neck setup.

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