Best Way To Keep Guitar In Tune W/whammy


goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
04/13/2011 6:36 pm
Any Suggestions on keeping a guitar in tune when using a whammy bar? Also any systems or brands that work better than others?
# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,354
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,354
04/13/2011 11:42 pm
Originally Posted by: goldy54Any Suggestions on keeping a guitar in tune when using a whammy bar? Also any systems or brands that work better than others?

This week I am in the process of filming a tutorial on vibrato bar technique. :) I will only be covering standard Fender style systems, no locking nut systems. Hope to get it done soon & have it up and running in a little while!
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 2
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
04/14/2011 2:58 am
Hey Chris, Looking forward to seeing that!
# 3
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
04/14/2011 3:32 am
It does make a difference as to what type of guitar you have or what kind of "system" it has. What are you playing? Is it a floating bridge? Does it have a locking nut?
# 4
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
04/14/2011 6:44 pm
Hey Hunter, actually most of my guitars were stolen in a home burglery and looking to replace. Always liked the strat. Any particular system to look for on a strat?
# 5
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
hunter1801
Registered User
Joined: 01/27/05
Posts: 1,331
04/17/2011 6:51 am
Nothing too specific that comes to mind. Strats come pretty standard unless you want to get some custom stuff put on. Locking tuners and rolling string trees (can't remember what their actual name is) help a lot in terms string slippage.

You'll notice tuning problems mainly because the strings slip at the nut. This is why guitars with a floyd rose have locking nuts. You'll see people go nuts on the whammy bar and be able to stay in tune because since the string is locked into place it stays the same (assuming the strings were stretched previously). After the nut is the string tree (if your guitar hes them). Finally the actual tuning post. Your string can slip slightly in any of these areas and can send your guitar sharp/flat in an instant.

What kind of music do you play and what exactly do you want to use the whammy bar for? Slight vibrato or heavy use of the bar like for heavy metal stuff?
# 6
metchason
Registered User
Joined: 08/03/08
Posts: 11
metchason
Registered User
Joined: 08/03/08
Posts: 11
04/17/2011 10:33 am
I have a SQUIER Strat that is like new. It has the standard stuff and it has not been modified. I play mostly the blues, though sometimes I like to play different things... 99% of the time I don't need the whammy bar but then when I did use it I noticed it detunes the guitar immediate. May be I should just remove the bar and play without it... I am just starting to play songs(after relearning to play by the book.) and I just have a short list of things I play. :o
# 7
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
04/18/2011 7:41 pm
Originally Posted by: hunter1801Nothing too specific that comes to mind. Strats come pretty standard unless you want to get some custom stuff put on. Locking tuners and rolling string trees (can't remember what their actual name is) help a lot in terms string slippage.

You'll notice tuning problems mainly because the strings slip at the nut. This is why guitars with a floyd rose have locking nuts. You'll see people go nuts on the whammy bar and be able to stay in tune because since the string is locked into place it stays the same (assuming the strings were stretched previously). After the nut is the string tree (if your guitar hes them). Finally the actual tuning post. Your string can slip slightly in any of these areas and can send your guitar sharp/flat in an instant.

What kind of music do you play and what exactly do you want to use the whammy bar for? Slight vibrato or heavy use of the bar like for heavy metal stuff?


Hey Hunter, I'd say my style is a cross between Nugent and Beck. I'm getting ready to purchase another Strat(last one stolen) Are you familiar w/ the Parker Dragonfly? It has been suggested that I check it out. Trying to find one now. Any input?
# 8
Bill Brown 1979
Registered User
Joined: 11/21/07
Posts: 17
Bill Brown 1979
Registered User
Joined: 11/21/07
Posts: 17
04/19/2011 12:04 pm
I have a cheap Jackson, which is excellent for staying in tune whether I use the tremolo bar or not.

But I recently bought a new RG1527 Ibanez, and even without using the bar it drifts out of tune. A little more than I'd like it too. Wish I'd went whammy-bar-less now, I'm going to invest in a Tremol-No I think.
# 9
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
04/20/2011 2:05 am
Hey Bill, funny, I had a Jackson, cost me $1200 and as soon as I touched the tremelo bar it would go out of tune... worst than the Kramer I got rid of. In all fairness, I never did lubricate them. I've learned from the great people I've met on this site how important that is! DUH!!! Appreciate your comments.
# 10
MarcusWiesner
Registered User
Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 34
MarcusWiesner
Registered User
Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 34
04/23/2011 5:48 pm
getting a guitar with a floyd rose floating bridge would be the best way. But an absolutely necessary tip for any kind of guitar and wammy system is to stretch the strings a lot until they stop coming out of tune. Just pull on them and stretch them out a lot and retune them.

It takes a lot of work so don't be timid about it. But don't pull the high e string super hard because it might break, but it needs to be stretched out a lot just like the rest of them. I literally yank on the lower strings so hard that I am more worried about them coming out of the saddle than breaking them, but I have a floyd rose floating bridge, so it's sort of different.

Lots of Ibanez guitars have them. When you use the wammy on a floyd rose and you have properly stretched out strings, it is almost an eerie effect how they come right back to exact tuning.
# 11
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
goldy54
Registered User
Joined: 07/19/10
Posts: 61
04/27/2011 11:57 pm
Hey Marcus, Don't you just love the string stretching exercise? LOL. Good advice though!
# 12
sixpicker
Telecastered Instructor
Joined: 03/12/04
Posts: 756
sixpicker
Telecastered Instructor
Joined: 03/12/04
Posts: 756
04/28/2011 7:28 am
I have a strat with a Foyd Rose on it, but it's not with the floating bridge. I mostly use it on blues gigs every once in a while, and that's the only guitar I have a whammy on. I don't use it a lot, but I do have a way to keep it in tune.

Stretching the strings is important, but so is this next step. You have to warm up the neck, before you tune it. Just play some licks with or without volume for a few minutes, and make sure you cover as much of the fretboard as you can. This will warm up your neck, and then you tune it up.

When you stop playing and put the guitar down, the neck will cool down and this usually makes the strings a little sharp, but when you pick it back up and start playing again, as the neck warms up you're back in tune. I just check my tuning at the end of the set, and stay in tune all night. I know some players that jump on stage and tune up, and then when the neck warms up they're out of tune. Then they make an excuse about the guitar, or tell the old joke about it being in tune when they got it while they tune up again. I figured this out after being on the road for few months, and I've been doing this for 15 years now. This really works on any guitar with or without a whammy, but if you're really heavy on the whammy bar the results may vary.
# 13
Razbo
Full Access
Joined: 03/02/09
Posts: 1,562
Razbo
Full Access
Joined: 03/02/09
Posts: 1,562
04/28/2011 3:07 pm
Originally Posted by: sixpickerYou have to warm up the neck, before you tune it.

I prove this statement almost every day! :) I think the body warming up also contributes. Things change size when they are heated or cooled.
...so ever since then, I always hang on to the buckle.
# 14
MarcusWiesner
Registered User
Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 34
MarcusWiesner
Registered User
Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 34
05/31/2011 8:51 am
Very cool, I did not know that, now I will have to take that into account. Learn something new every couple of months about tuning and intonation and stuff. Thanks guys! :P
# 15

Please register with a free account to post on the forum.