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Chronic tuning problems with Ibanez Artcore


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I have an Ibanez Artcore AF75 hollowbody. I have been constantly fighting the thing to stay in tune. It falls out of tune literally as I am tuning it, making it pretty frustrating to get it at all in tune. I love the guitar, but it's really getting to be a problem. I figured the tuning machines were a big part of the problem, so I recently put some Grovers on it. I am having as much trouble with the tuning as ever.

 

I noticed that my intonation was a bit off, so I adjusted the bridge and took care of that problem... except that within a day or two the intonation was out of whack again.

 

The bridge is a regular archtop-style that sits directly on the body of the guitar instead of being screwed in place. I'm thinking the bridge must be sliding or shifting slightly... that would explain the intonation problems and throw off the tuning. Does anyone have any ideas about resolving this problem? Or perhaps alternate theories explaining my very annoying problem?

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I don't know... I used a set of .11's forever, but I've got .10's on there right now. I seem to be having at least as many problems with the current, thinner set of strings. I'd imagine I would have more problems with the .11's if the nut was the problem. I was thinking about the nut as the possible culprit, but a nut couldn't affect the intonation. The bridge definitely could. I spent a lot time the other day moving the bridge around to get the intonation right, but it's already out of whack.

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When I first bought my AFS75T I had the same problem. The bridge comes with a thin piece of styrofoam under it that had to be removed. After removing the piece of styrofoam I put on a new set of 10's. Made sure they were stretched. Then I centered the bridge saddles so I would have room to move them in either direction to intonate. Then I slid the bridge around to get the intonation as close as possible with the saddles centered. The bridge doesn't have to be alligned with the bridge pickup. You can angle it to get the closest intonation. Next I adjusted the saddles to fine tune the intonation. After I got the intonation right I took a needle and lightly marked the back two corners of the bridge in the finish. If it accidentally gets moved I can just slide it back the the marks.

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I got an Ibanez AS73 yesterday,  the G and B strings doesn’t seem to be staying in tune and the high e isn’t great either.   
I feel as if the tuning pegs on G and B are loose ,  but idk,  I only ever bought one guitar before this.  Maybe I should sent it back for another As 73 seen as not many have this problem.

 

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Posted (edited)

I've owned a number of Ibanez guitars and have not had a single tuning stability issue with any of them. Same goes for the rest of my guitars (Fender, Washburn, Gibson, Gretsch, Squier and partscaster builds). When I hear guys complain about tuning stability, I look at the way they wind their strings first. They almost always have a rat's nest of string winds with one string wound over another, gaps, etc. There are Youtube vids galore on the proper method of string winding.

You need to make sure your winds look like the way the factory sets them up before looking at other issues. With the exception of locking tuners, strings are made to be wound down the tuner post. The taper of the tuner posts naturally forces the coiled strings up the tuner post locking them against the string where it passes through the tuner hole. Without this "coil spring" action, the string will slip on the tuner post and/or slip continually from the tuner hole when tensioned.

Everyone wants to blame the tuners, but that isn't really the problem. Some people just don't have the patience to properly wind their strings or honestly don't know how. For them, locking tuners are a solution. Yes some really junky tuners will have backlash and some creep in them, but they don't "un-tension" and throw your tuning off once a string in in tune. They just make tuning more difficult by under or over-shooting as you tune because they are imprecise. Modern guitars costing $150 or more have very serviceable tuners on them already. Replacing them with locking tuners is a convenience factor for string changes and just eliminates the need to properly wind the strings.

With that variable out of the way, the nut is the next culprit. They nut slots can be filed, but I prefer to just install a new bone or TusQ/NewBone nut and get it over with since the plastic ones on most guitars these days are pretty crappy anyway.

Edited by 6down1togo
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Posted (edited)

I would recommend a String Butler and maybe filing the grooves in the nut slightly.

These two items solved my problem on a cheap ag75, now it performs like a guitar costing much more.

(I actually made my own string tree after studying theirs).......... works great.

Edited by Dan Furr55
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Another thing to keep in mind is a basic rule of tuning . Always tune up to pitch . If the note is sharp ,tune low then back up to pitch.

This locks the gears in the tuner and helps a lot with stability 

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if this is a brand new guitar, I suggest first you have a 'set-up' done. A qualified tech will sort out any of the simple issues, and identify any of the more 'disturbing' ones, like bad tuners.

 

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Needs a new nut or a repair to the existing one. They wear out and are often hacked by players that don't get how to prevent them from grabbing the string. 

Suggesting that one old model is worse for this is like saying Fords have bald tires. 

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On 8/23/2020 at 3:26 PM, Grant Harding said:

Needs a new nut or a repair to the existing one. They wear out and are often hacked by players that don't get how to prevent them from grabbing the string. 

Suggesting that one old model is worse for this is like saying Fords have bald tires. 

Love that last line! I have a 2000 something early AF95, never a tuning problem. Could put a bit of powdered graphite in nut slots (get at auto parts store, not git place, 1/10th of the price). Do those now come with bone or tusq nuts? or plastic?

 

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