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 Post subject: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:46 am
Posts: 6
Location: Tucson, AZ
My Ric-12 is the only guitar I have ever bought new, and it has had this tuning problem ever since Day 1. The six strings that go to the slotted tuners all touch either the truss rod cover or the headstock wood at the sides of the slots (the six that go to the post tuners give me no problems). When I tune up, I turn a little (no change); a little more (no change); a little more and PING - I'm way sharp. The nut slots are fine - I am convinced that the problem is the strings touching stuff between the nut and the tuner roller.

I e-mailed Rickenbacker with this complaint, and was told that it was normal for the strings to touch the logo plate on the headstock, and that this should present no tuning problem. Well, it DOES! The string digs in a tiny bit (whether into the plastic of the logo or into the wood of the side of the slotted headstock) and get stuck there until you tune it too high, and it PINGs out of its rut.

I have tried to make the truss rod cover thinner on a belt sander, and have beveled the edges quite a bit, but I'll try a bit more. The places where the strings touch the wood, however, are more scary for me. I've been considering taking a Dremel tool to it to give the strings adequate clearance, but that would require some finishing work, something I've never done.

Have any of your 12-string players out there experienced this?


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:01 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:51 am
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Location: Atlanta, GA
Welcome to the forum, Tommy. I've had this kind of problem before with other guitars, and it's always turned out to be a problem with the nut. The strings will bind in the nut until enough tension causes them to loosen. Try a little bit of machine oil (use a toothpick) in the nut slots, and see if that doesn't help. The other thing to do would be to use a set of nut files, and carefully smoothe out the slots.


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:00 am 
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Our twelves have always had strings touching the truss rod cover; it's the nature of the beast. Indeed, it has to be tightness in the nut for you to experience a ping like you describe. A bit of pencil lead in the slots or on the strings may be all that's necessary to make the strings glide smoothly.


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:55 pm 
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Location: The Independent Republic Of Florida
Quote:
Our twelves have always had strings touching the truss rod cover; it's the nature of the beast. Indeed, it has to be tightness in the nut for you to experience a ping like you describe. A bit of pencil lead in the slots or on the strings may be all that's necessary to make the strings glide smoothly.


Howdy,

I've been doing this for years and yes, it works! All I do is take a small piece of 320 or finer sandpaper and sand the tip of a #2 Pencil. then I just place the shavings in the nut slots under the string. It only takes a few minutes and works wonders!!

Steve

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"A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed For All"


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:45 am 
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Another way is to take a piece of an old string that goes through the particular slot, especially if it's a wound string, rub the pencil point on the piece of old string until it's well saturated with graphite, then run the piece back and forth through the slot a few times to burnish/impregnate with the graphite.

But don't do it too much or too hard, or you may damage the contour of the slot and ruin the "witness point" at the front of the slot, and the backwards ramping of the slot providing the smooth transition to the tuner.


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:46 am
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Location: Tucson, AZ
Thanks for the replies. However, adjusting the string slots in the nut (for depth, then for smoothness, using Stew-Mac nut files, fine sandpaper, and polish) was the first thing I did to the guitar when I got it new. Plus which, the nut material is black; I thought maybe it was already impregnated with graphite.

What about the tiny visible slots that the strings cut into the truss rod cover and into the finish at the edges of the headstock tuner slots? I can actually see the string jump a bit when it pings on me.

I had been lusting after a Ric-12 ever since I heard the Beatles and the Byrds as a young teenager. Finally went out and bought this one a day after 9/11, figuring you never know when your time will come, and I wanted to have my Ric before my time came.

I was aware that the slim neck of the Ric was more difficult to play (cramped across the fretboard) than other 12-strings. I accept that, because the unique sound it produces makes that worth it to me. But the tuning problem (this is going to sound pretty uppity, especially coming from a newbie to the forum, such as myself) seems to be either (gulp!) a design flaw or a flaw in the workmanship of my particular guitar. I believe that it is a general rule of thumb in luthiery that the string should not touch ANYTHING between the nut and the tuning post, whether it be a typical upright post or a classical-type horizontal post in a slotted headstock.

A little clarification: I may have misused the word "ping", as I do not hear an audible ping - it is the jump in string pitch that I was referring to. Most of the time when I am tuning, I am on stage, using a Boss floor tuner, and I "see" the jump in pitch more than I hear it. But I can also hear the jump in pitch if I am playing it unplugged, like when I change strings.


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:51 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2006 2:00 pm
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Location: el cajon,cal
About lubricating the nut slots, You can also find little squeeze tubes of powdered graphite in the automotive section of your local wal-mart or auto store. The stuff is for lubricating door locks. You must squeeze very carefully so you don't puff out half the tube.(I did so don't make THAT mistake!) Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:00 pm
Posts: 55
Location: Seattle
Common problem, with BOTH of my Ric 12's.

If you've already addressed the nut as previously discussed, take a careful look at the bridge saddles. Sadly, the finishing on my guitars' saddles were atrocious--looking like someone had used a dull hack saw to cut the slots, which were "V" shaped instead of "U" shaped (seen any "V" shaped strings lately?) You'll need to be careful with the break-over point, so that you get a clean sound, but definitely check out your saddles.


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:46 am
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Location: Tucson, AZ
Valenti, I had the same experience as you with the saddles on my 330-12. Again, that was an issue I felt I had to deal with right away, and I used my nut slot files, sandpaper, and polish to reshape those V-shaped saddle slots within the first week of my owning the rascal. I have no complaints with that end of the guitar at this point.

Do your strings NOT touch the finished wood on their way to the slotted tuners? I am sort of surprised that not one person has replied that this presents tuning problems. Perhaps my instrument has narrower headstock slots than the norm, or maybe mine are not beveled enough at the edges. While some strings touch the truss rod cover (and the CEO says they ALL do this, so I'm dropping that issue), some strings touch the wood at the edge of the headstock slots. THAT's where my worst problems arise.


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 Post subject: Re: TUNING PROBLEMS in 330-12
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:42 am 
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Quote:
While some strings touch the truss rod cover (and the CEO says they ALL do this, so I'm dropping that issue), some strings touch the wood at the edge of the headstock slots. THAT's where my worst problems arise.
Strings touching wood don't cause tuning problems; there's just not enough friction. Strings can catch a bit on occasion on the edge of the TRC but it's rare and eventually the edge breaks a bit making it also very low friction. Tuning problems of this type can call be traced back to the nut or key itself.


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