| Visit Our Catalog at SteelGuitarShopper.com |

Post new topic strings going out of tune
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  strings going out of tune
Nick Waugh


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2019 5:37 am    
Reply with quote

I know there are many previous threads regarding this topic, but I wanted to post my particular issue with this. I have a Carter SD10 which I have had for 10 years now. I have never had tuning issues with it until the past couple of weeks.

I tune up and play, and within the space of a few minutes it is out of tune. This is only in regard to the pedals and levers. The strings without pressing any pedals or levers are fine.

I am using D'addarios NYXL. They are about 2 weeks old.

The rapidity of the strings going of tune is making playing in tune impossible, because the strings are out of tune before I finish a song.

What is going on?[/u]
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2019 5:41 am    
Reply with quote

Which strings ? Sharp or flat and how much ? Do your pedals and levers remain accurate?
_________________
Bob
http://liminalsoundseries.com/
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2019 6:33 am    
Reply with quote

Since you say that the open tuning doesn't go out of tune, that makes me think of only one thing - the tuning nuts aren't holding. You may have one or two that are loose or split. The fact that you're experiencing it with both pedals and levers is significant, since it rules out the pedalboard moving, and any change in the frame, keyhead, or changer would affect the open tuning. keep in mind that a problem with only one or two strings staying in tune can make a player think that the problem is more widespread, since our ear trends to reference a string to those on either side of the offending string.

I'd tackle it one string/pedal at a time and try to isolate the issue.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Ian Worley


From:
Sacramento, CA
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2019 10:47 am    
Reply with quote

Could also be too-loose lower return springs. If the lowering scissor(s) were lifting off the stop on a raise it will leave the tuning a little vague and variable like you describe. If they weren't returning firmly after a lower it would tend to affect the open tuning, which you seem to say is not a problem.

Are the NYXLs a new thing or have you always used them?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
richard burton


From:
Britain
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2019 10:56 am    
Reply with quote

Check that the little brass pull-pins in the bellcranks are not about to fail, it's a design weak-point



View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Leo Grassl


From:
Nashville TN
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2019 4:37 pm    
Reply with quote

I agree with Donny, in that you should iscolate the detuning issues first. Go slow and listen intently, one string and one pedal/lever at a time. As you determine which changes are detuning it will help to write them down to save as a reference. This process helps keep your mind and ear from going in circles trying to figure out what is happening. Consider all the variables and take notes.

Someone mentioned lower return springs not being tight enough. I will add that lower return springs when over tightened can cause intolerable hysteresis and other detuning issues so before you adjust anything first iscolate the problem.

Please keep us updated and I hope you get it resolved quickly,

LG
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dan Robinson


From:
Colorado, USA
Post  Posted 3 Jun 2019 7:58 pm     Re: strings going out of tune
Reply with quote

Nick Waugh wrote:
I am using D'addarios NYXL. They are about 2 weeks old.


I've experienced a "creeping" mechanical failure with the reverser on my Carter E-lower knee lever. But it affected only the tuning on that lever. Mechanical failure on multiple strings seems unlikely.

Did this problem begin when you installed the new strings? I would check for overtuned changes. Have a look at Jon Light's informative post on overtuning:
https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=326460
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Leo Grassl


From:
Nashville TN
Post  Posted 4 Jun 2019 3:31 pm    
Reply with quote

Over tuning would cause the open tuning to be off. In Nicks case he's says the open tuning is not affected.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Nick Waugh


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2019 11:43 am    
Reply with quote

Thanks for all your responses. I have been attempting to isolate the problem to specific strings but it seems widespread across all lowers and raises, but not the open strings. Taking the B pedal. It seems that it is the 6th strings rather than the 3rd string that goes out of tune and is mostly flat rather than sharp, although not always.

Could the lubricant I used be a factor as I haven't lubricated the moving parts in about a year or more. A few months ago I used some new fangled lubricant that I bought from my local bike shop. It is a multi purpose lubricant called GT85. The problem started right after this. I changed my strings at the same time. Could there be a connection?

This is a link to the lubricant.

https://gt85.co.uk/
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2019 12:39 pm    
Reply with quote

Quote:
Could the lubricant I used be a factor as I haven't lubricated the moving parts in about a year or more. A few months ago I used some new fangled lubricant that I bought from my local bike shop. It is a multi purpose lubricant called GT85. The problem started right after this. I changed my strings at the same time. Could there be a connection?

I've never used this, but I think it's a good possibility. From the technical data sheet:

Quote:
PRODUCT OVERVIEW
GT85 is a general purpose cleaning and lubricating spray. The unique formula contains PTFE and is great for cleaning, protecting and lubricating just about
anything.
PRODUCT FEATURES & BENEFITS
• Excellent penetration and freeing agent
• Highly effective to loosen stuck parts
• PTFE Formula helps to lubricate and prevent squeaking
• Drives out moisture, especially from electrical systems
• Can be used on all metal and factory painted surfaces ...

Composition Data, as supplied: Hydrocarbon oil containing PTFE and other additives with an LPG propellant.

PTFE is just generic for Teflon, but I'd be suspicious about any non-descript "hydrocarbon oils", which can range all over the map. And I'm always suspicious of anything bikers use to "drive out moisture" and "penetrate/free/loosen" stuck parts as a lubricant. I've found that the very thing bikers want to quiet down their chains, etc., tend to be viscous and the antithesis of what I want in a lubricant. Every one I've tried like that I immediately found I had to disassemble the parts and completely clean/re-lubricate with a tried-and-true one.

I think pedal steel requires us to be very, very picky about any type of oil we use to lubricate. I want mine to lubricate and nothing more. Ideally, pure Teflon is great but I generally use a tiny bit of very high quality, non-viscous/sticky oil to put and keep it in place.

Again, I've never used this stuff, but I would clear it out and try one of the usual suspects we talk about here all the time - turbine oil, high-quality machine oil, Tri Flow (Superior Lubricant in the 2 oz. bottle), etc.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Nick Waugh


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2019 3:21 pm    
Reply with quote

You're saying that I need to take the pedal steel apart and re-assemble it? I don't have the know how to do that. I'd probably take it apart and it would never be the same again. Can I clean it without taking it apart? What would you recommend cleaning it with?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2019 5:51 pm    
Reply with quote

Did you recently lubricate any or all the nylon tuning nuts by any chance? If so,they may be backing off.
_________________
Cops aren't paid much so I steel at night.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Bobby D. Jones


From:
West Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2019 9:13 pm     Strings going out of tune
Reply with quote

Whatever is happening is in the pull train for raises or lowers on the guitar.
Check to see if the raises go lower, And the lowers going higher out of tune.
I agree with Mr. Wood, Check the tuning nuts, The new lube may be allowing the tuning nuts to move from pressure or vibration.
Good Luck finding the problem and the cure and back to Happy Steelin.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dave Magram


From:
San Jose, California, USA
Post  Posted 27 Jun 2019 11:28 pm    
Reply with quote

Nick Waugh wrote:
You're saying that I need to take the pedal steel apart and re-assemble it? I don't have the know how to do that. I'd probably take it apart and it would never be the same again. Can I clean it without taking it apart? What would you recommend cleaning it with?


Nick, if you used a lubricant that was designed for bicycles, there's a good chance paraffin was added to it--which is great for bike chains, but a terrible idea for a pedal steel.

If so, the area that is easiest to clog up with paraffin are the roller-nuts. Take off or really loosen the strings, remove the roller-nut axle and all of the roller-nuts, and clean them thoroughly with something like lighter fluid (naptha), and then rubbing alcohol.

Then use any of the products that Dave mentioned above to lube the roller-nuts and axle--turbine oil, gun oil, high-quality machine oil, Tri Flow "Superior Lubricant" (but never Triflow with "Dry" on the label, because that indicates the addition of paraffin).

- Dave
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 6:40 am    
Reply with quote

If the open tuning is not affected, and it's only the pedals and levers that are detuning, one of two things must be happening. Either the length of the pull-rods is changing (read: the tuning nuts slipping or turning, or the entire crossrod rack is moving) or...the changer fingers are not returning solidly to the stop. Put quite simply, your described problem can't be caused by anything else. (I can't see a problem with the "dog-bones" affecting all pedals and levers.)

The first thing I'd do is to loosen all the strings, remove the lower-return springs, and then move the fingers underneath the guitar manually, one by one, to see how free they are. (They should flop back and forth, and across each other, very easily.)

This operation will only take about 10 minutes, but it will tell you immediately if the changer is gummed up or sticky.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Nick Waugh


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 10:42 am    
Reply with quote

I took your advice Donny and removed the return springs so that I could check the changer fingers. I am not sure if they are gunked up or not, so I took a video of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey9kjehZ99M&feature=youtu.be

Can you check the link and let me no what you think please?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 12:34 pm    
Reply with quote

Nick, your changer appears to be quite clean and free-moving, so we can probably eliminate any thoughts about it being gummed up or sticking as causing your problem.

After reinstalling the springs, I'd back off all the tuning nuts, and retune the open strings. Then I'd retune the pedals and levers (making sure the open tuning isn't changing when you do that) and see if the problem is still there.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 1:25 pm    
Reply with quote

I agree with Donny that your changer doesn't have tons of old gummy stuff - it looks clean. But can you feel a gummy residue on the changer fingers/scissors? If so, you may still need to get it off. I put some stuff on a changer that didn't LOOK gummy, but the strings were not returning true. I could feel that the scissors were a bit sticky, and it turned out that the lube I had used did have paraffin in it. The only way I could get that changer working correctly was to rinse it with solvent and re-lube.

If you don't feel anything on the scissors at all - no oil - you may need to re-lube it. I hear the friction you're talking about, that could be an issue.

If I don't want to pull a changer apart, I turn the guitar over and rinse the scissors/changer with naptha (Ronsonol lighter fluid) as Dave Magram suggests. Then I would re-lube with a lube I know to work. Definitely avoid anything with paraffin, but that's not the only issue I've run into. Just a pure, light, clean lube. Some guys use transmission fluid - if you search the forum on lubrication, you'll find lots of threads with lots of very specific suggestions.

I guess alcohol would be reasonable as a rinse too, but I know naptha is unlikely to mess up a finish. I suggest covering the fretboard, I noticed naptha somewhat lightened up an Emmons fretboard one time, I think it was a replacement one.

Also - don't forget the roller nut - sticky rollers can prevent strings from returning true. As long as you have the strings off, I would remove the roller nut, being careful to note the order of the rollers so you can put them back on the axle in the same order. I normally put them in a bath of the stuff I use to clean the changer. Naptha might be OK if you have to work inside, but if they're really gummed up, I use a really nasty but effective cleaner like PB Blaster outside and with gloves. But if they're not really gummed up, naptha probably will do it. Then put the rollers and axle back on and lube, again with a good lube that you know works.

If the issue is not being gummed up, then Donny's suggestion to back off all the nylons, retune open strings to pitch, and then tune the nylons, making sure that the open tuning isn't changing. If the open tuning is changing, it means your changer was probably over-tuned, and you will need to get more leverage. See this very useful sticky thread by Jon Light to start to grapple with that issue - https://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=326460
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Marc Jenkins


From:
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 2:22 pm    
Reply with quote

Another thought on lubrication - I tried a new Teflon-based product last summer, and I had similar problems. Total nightmare! Squeezed a drop of my usual stuff after a couple weeks of struggles and boom! Problem solved.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jon Light


From:
Saugerties, NY
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 2:28 pm    
Reply with quote

Have you got a little side-to-side play in the cross shafts between the front & rear aprons? Carters have screws in the rear apron that are meant to be loosened to accommodate seasonal body expansion/contraction to prevent binding.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Nick Waugh


From:
United Kingdom
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 4:22 pm    
Reply with quote

I'm confused by the suggestions to clean the roller nut. I have never lubricated this part of my steel. So there won't be any gunk. Or maybe I should have been lubricating. Could the be an issue in itself?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Oakdale, California
Post  Posted 28 Jun 2019 5:03 pm    
Reply with quote

Nick Waugh wrote:
I'm confused by the suggestions to clean the roller nut. I have never lubricated this part of my steel. So there won't be any gunk. Or maybe I should have been lubricating. Could the be an issue in itself?


Lubricating the roller nuts is an important as any other part of the guitar. Just put a drop of oil in between the rollers and turn the roller several times to work the oil into the roller.
_________________
CLICK HERE to visit my website with Mickey Adams videos.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Dale Rivard


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 6:44 am    
Reply with quote

Nick, like Richard Burton, I believe you should closely inspect the brass pull pins. I had a Carter, that after years of playing, starting giving me an inconsistency in tuning on certain pedals and knee levers. The open tuning was fine. Over time, the brass pull pins can wear and they don't necessarily wear evenly and sometimes a flat spot can develop. As you play, the pins turn in the pull rod which can give an inconsistent note. I would tune the pedals and knees and within minutes of playing, certain pedals and knees would be slightly out of tune. It wasn't hugely different but enough that it drove me nuts. I was constantly chasing my tail tuning certain pedal and knee lever changes. When I inspected the pins closely, I noticed certain ones were wore. I replaced them all and it fixed the problem. Just thought I would share as it sounds like you're having a similar issue. Hope you find the problem.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 11:17 am    
Reply with quote

Nick, have you been lubing the pull pins? Like all mechanical moving parts, they need to be lubricated. I'll agree with previous posters that any wear or degradation in the pins could cause a problem,but it seems unlikely that it would have come on suddenly. Perhaps if you switched a few of them on the problem pedals/levers, you could determine if that was the source of the problem?

Just as a comment, the design and execution of those little "dog bone/dumbbell" pins, engineering-wise, is quite poor considering Bud's evidenced skills on other parts. The lack of a radius where the center portion of the pins joins the ends invites fractures, as does the rather small diameter of the center portion. Unlike the old MSA guitars, the Carters are not as forgiving when it comes to players who don't maintain them properly.

And yes, everything that moves (with the exception of the leg clutch parts) should be lubricated! This includes the nut, the tuning keys, the leg threads in the end plates, the ball-connectors, and any area where there's metal-to-metal contact and movement. Winking
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Oakdale, California
Post  Posted 29 Jun 2019 1:18 pm    
Reply with quote

Donny said:
Quote:
I'll agree with previous posters that any wear or degradation in the pins could cause a problem,but it seems unlikely that it would have come on suddenly.


I agree that it is unlikely that it is a problem with the pull pin (dog bones). For ALL the dog bones being used on ALL your pulls to develop a problem at the same time is very, very unlikely. Whatever the problem is, it is something common to all pulls on your guitar. Even in the changer, there are separate fingers for each string. Roller nuts are separate for each string. So, one finger or roller should have no affect on the others. I don't have a clue what could affect all your pulls and not affect the open strings.

Donny also said:
Quote:
Just as a comment, the design and execution of those little "dog bone/dumbbell" pins, engineering-wise, is quite poor considering Bud's evidenced skills on other parts. The lack of a radius where the center portion of the pins joins the ends invites fractures, as does the rather small diameter of the center portion. Unlike the old MSA guitars, the Carters are not as forgiving when it comes to players who don't maintain them properly.


In my opinion, the worst design of any I have seen on any guitar. It's hard to believe that Bud made such a bad decision on that part. I've broken 2 (on stage of course), and replaced several others that had worn dangerously thin. Still love my Carter though.
_________________
CLICK HERE to visit my website with Mickey Adams videos.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  
Please review our Forum Rules and Policies
Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction, and steel guitar accessories
www.SteelGuitarShopper.com

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 S. Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Support This Forum



BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron