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  #1  
Old 03-23-2019, 09:11 PM
Alex Hutchings Alex Hutchings is offline
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Default Gibson Songwriter Tuning Heads

Hey guys. My Songwriter recently started going out of tune regardless of the strings I use. It's been good to me for about 8 years in regard to this but recently it's been quite a pain. I was wondering what you think it might be...

I lay graphite on the nut
I stretch new strings
Could it really be the grovers going bad or is it something else?



Oh and side question.. anyone know where to get Gibson pickguard replacements? These have proven to be incredibly hard to find

Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:23 PM
Steadfastly Steadfastly is offline
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It seems that your tuners may be worn and starting to slip. You can find pickguard replacements on eBay.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:38 PM
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SalFromChatham SalFromChatham is offline
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Have you changed type of strings... gone to round Core? And what kind of tuning machines are yours?

And FYI Holter Pickguards are fantastic. I think he is on reverb and Facebook, although I deleted my FB. He can make you any pick guard you like. His are better than the originals. Also Brothers Music makes some occasionally.
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Old 03-23-2019, 09:48 PM
Brucebubs Brucebubs is offline
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Have you tried adjusting your tuners?
Sealed gear tuners like Grover Rotomatics have a series of washers on the shaft under each tuner button/knob - including a wavy spring steel washer.



You can adjust the firmness of how they turn by holding the button and tightening the screw that holds on the button - usually best done when all the strings are off so you can match the firmness.

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Old 03-23-2019, 09:50 PM
gr81dorn gr81dorn is offline
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Luthier Mercantile has super nice repro pickguards and the standard Gibson shapes with printable templates to be sure. I don’t see many of the big sharp bat wings, tho, which the Somgwriters have, right?
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:03 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Alex, before you replace the tuners, take a small screwdriver of the correct type - I think Grovers have phillipshead screws holding the buttons on these days - and go around and firm up all the clutch screws. These screws not only hold the buttons onto to the tuners, they also regulate the tension of the tuner itself.

These clutch screws can and will loosen from vibrations, both from playing the guitar and traveling with it in your car. So periodically it's necessary to go around and firm them all up. You don't want to tighten them so much that the tuner becomes difficult to tune, but you can easily eliminate most of the slop and play that they've developed.

Firm up all six and I suspect that your guitar will stay in much better tune.

If you do that and the tuners are still too sloppy for your taste, Gotoh makes some tuners that are direct drop-in replacements:



Gotoh SG301 Full Size Groverģ Style 3x3 Keys

These have been what I've usually used to replace Grover Rotomatic tuners, because I don't like Grover tuners much, frankly. But before you go spending the money, make sure that it just isn't an adjustment problem.

So firm up those clutch screws first, and see whether that helps.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller

Edit: I see where Bruce made the same suggestion about firming up the tuners. Great minds think alike, Bruce is just faster about expressing it!
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:06 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Hutchings View Post
Oh and side question.. anyone know where to get Gibson pickguard replacements? These have proven to be incredibly hard to find
That's because Gibson considers their pickguards to be proprietary designs. You should be able to order one through a Gibson dealer, but it won't be cheap: expect to pay $75 for a genuine Gibson pickguard, if in fact they'll sell you one.


whm
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Old 03-24-2019, 08:51 AM
Triumph1050 Triumph1050 is offline
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Ive bought Gibson pickguards directly from Gibson before but maybe that's changed.
Its worth a try...
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:05 AM
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This is one of those Internet myth urban legends that just won't die.

A worm gear is designed very specifically and is impossible to drive in reverse. You physically cannot turn the post and get the knob to turn. It doesn't work that way. Unless the gear teeth are physically broken, the tuners cannot "slip".

It is never the tuners.

It feels like that's what's happening. It seems like that's what's happening but it's not.
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Old 03-24-2019, 03:00 PM
Alex Hutchings Alex Hutchings is offline
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Hey guys thank you for responding. I was also thinking it could have something to do with the truss rod after reading something about loose truss rods making the guitar go out of tuneÖ

Steadfastly,
Thatís what it seems like, I guess I needed confirmation before I bought new tuners
And for the Gibson Songwriter there are no pickguards on ebay, amazon or any other website that Iíve been across. Iíve thoroughly checked

Themissal,
Iíve never heard of round core. All I know is string brand. I use 13ga and Iíve tried several DíAddario, Earnie Ball, and other brands but it all seems to have the same result. Iíll look up round core though, thanks for the recommendation

Brucebubs,
Yes Iíve adjusted the tuners. At one point they had a bit of play but I tightened them. Still goes out of tune. Iíll check out the Robomatics, kind of sounds like what would be on Gibsonís self tuning guitars

Gr81dorn,
I just visited their website.. I found pickguard adhesive but didnít see the pickguards themselves. And yes, the songwriter has that batwing shape, but not as exaggerated as the hummingbird. Someone told me Iíd have to go through Gibson and even prove that I have a Gibson guitar with the serial number which is kind of strange, but hey, itís Gibson.

Wade Hampton,
Thanks. Iíll check out Gotohís tuners. Iíve experimented with tightening the tuners and nothing seemed to work. That was one of the first things I tried. Now Iím wondering if thereís rust inside of the tuning heads that has degraded the quality over time because, like I said, these tuners were great for almost 8 years. As for money, thereís only two things Iím willing to spend money on: property and guitars! It truly makes my girlfriends jealous haha

Wade Hampton,
Thatís ridiculous isnít it? You would think that companies would make mock-Gibsonesque pickguards but it seems like Iíll be going through Gibson. And believe me, I expect nothing less than paying through the bum with Gibson!

Triumph1050,
Thatís what Iím afraid of. Contacting major companies about anything is usually a pain.
Did they make it hard for you? And how long did it take to get it in the mail?

fazool,
Canít tuners rust like any other metal part? It seems like it would be possible for them to degrade but then I have no experience with guitar repair
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2019, 04:35 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Alex, with Grover Rotomatic tuners I'm to the point where - if I acquire a guitar equipped with them - I just swap out the tuners as I'm putting the first new set of strings on it.

It's not that I think Grover Rotomatics are bad tuners so much as I find them mediocre, and don't even want to fool with them. I prefer Gotoh tuners by a considerable margin, simply because they're more precise.

Something you should consider is that for what Gibson will charge you for a pickguard, you can probably have a local repair tech make one for you. It might come in under that. I suggest that not because it'll be a better bargain (it'll probably be a few bucks cheaper to have a local repair tech make one for you,) but so you'll know you have other options than just having to submit to Gibson's capriciousness - they might tell you: "We're no longer selling pickguards to Gibson owners."

I mean, Gibson's policies change all the time, so I don't know what their current policy on pickguards is.

If they're not currently available, Tim Holter at Holter Pickguards also does an excellent job, and probably for a better price than Gibson would have.

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 03-24-2019, 04:50 PM
Imbler Imbler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fazool View Post
This is one of those Internet myth urban legends that just won't die.

A worm gear is designed very specifically and is impossible to drive in reverse. You physically cannot turn the post and get the knob to turn. It doesn't work that way. Unless the gear teeth are physically broken, the tuners cannot "slip".

It is never the tuners.

It feels like that's what's happening. It seems like that's what's happening but it's not.
I'm guessing you are a fellow engineer. It's a losing battle! Like you say, the perception of "slipping" is there. But if the friction angle isn't designed incorrectly, it can't slip unless teeth are broken.
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