Locking nut driving me mad

Hi all. I recently got a new guitar, ibanez nita strauss signature jivajr, which took me ages to get/stay in tune when i first got it. Sorted it eventually and have just been tweaking the fine tuners a tiny bit when i play it and it has been okay.

I broke the high e string tonight and when i changed it, i noticed the fine tuners where getting near to bottoming out so i unlocked to nut clamps, wound the fine tuners out a bit. I retuned, locked the nut clamps back down and fine tuned each string. By the time i had tuned the high e, all the other strings were out of tune again (dropping down). Each time i tuned the same happened. Went through the process 3 or 4 times before hanging it back up before throwing it out of the window!

Anyone have any experience of this or any idea what could be causing it?

Thanks for reading

are you asking about the string break or the tuning moving on a floating bridge?

You didn’t mention where the string broke. If it was at the nut, then it was likely pinched a bit or there is a burr on the locking nut. letting the pinch point into the vibration area can leave a weak spot and you get the break.

On a floating bridge, you need to iterate. tightening one string will detune the others. Just make a few passes. heavier strings will have higher tension, so I try to get those in about the right place - not too exact since it will be detuned anyway, and then tune the light strings pretty close, I then work my way back thru and eventually make a pass from light to heavy to finish it off.

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Hi Michael. Sorry, i was talking about the tuning. The string was probably just me being heavy handed. It was fine once i got it to stay in tune originally. Yesterday i went through the process you described, tuned close with the tuners, locked the nut clamps, trying different pressures each time it didn’t work. Once locked, i fine tuned each string but each time it had to go round again until the fine tuners bottomed out, every time. Its my first locking nut/floating bridge so it could just be me

Cheers

Did you stretch the strings sufficiently?
I have fortunately not had to deal with locking nuts/floyd Rose type bridges, but one thing I have gathered from various youtube luthery sources is that the original tuning (as on all guitars) is never going to work until the strings are settled, stretched, rested and stretched again before getting down to real tuning.

WIth a locking nut I imagine this is much more critical than a standard nut - there are quite a few youtube videos on floyd rose tuning, so it may be worth looking at them.

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Hi Andy. Thanks for replying. Yes, I’ve had the guitar for a couple of months now and did all the string stretching when i got it.

I suggest you to take a look at the manual of the guitar. Ibanez has analyze all the things on their guitars perfectly. If you haven’t got the manual of your guitar model, try to find it on the web. I had many issues with my ibanez prestige but with the help of the manual i ve made a set up, not only the strings or the nut, but also the tremolo, the truss rod, the height of the tremolo, the action, the intonation and everything! I ve spent one hard day of reading and screwing, but now i am ok with my guitar. Ibanez have done really great job with the instructions of their manuals! Good luck!

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Hi Koutsos. Good idea. It didn’t come with a mamual. Will look online

@AndyTake2 Well. I was still getting nowhere yesterday so followed your advice and restretched all the strings, again, and it worked. Not sure whhat strings it shipped woth but might change to my usual standard slinkys before too long

Excellent!

I think the locking nut can be such a problem as it is a fixed point - the neck is effectively set up around it, and the strings are also under a different tension than they would be on a standard guitar.
On a locking nut, it’s probably best to think of the strings in two parts - those on the head side of the nut and those on the neck side. If one side (the neck side - the bit we play) is tuned using the micro tuners, it is going to be under a different tension than that on the other side of the nut.

This will mean that when the nut is unlocked, both sides meet under the same tension, which will take time to resolve.

Removing all the strings will open up another can of worms as the neck tension is released, which is part of the reason for changing one string at a time on a floyd rose (never tried it, my brains would bubble out of my ears!)

I’m pretty sure Floyd Rose’s were designed to drive guitarists insane :crazy_face:

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What Justin says, " I’m not going to show you how to change strings on a Floyd Rose because that’s a pain in the butt " :smile:

I saw that lesson early on when learning guitar and have been careful not to buy on, no need for extra work when I can buy other guitars i like :sweat_smile:

Greetings

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When I had a guitar with the FR trem and locking nut my usual routine was to set the fine tuners near the middle of their travel then tune the guitar to pitch and lock the nut up when tuning was correct. If any fine tuning is necessary then it’s easier having the fine tuners in the middle.

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That’s one of the problems with the Ibanez thin necks, the one I used to have had the ‘Wizard neck’ and it was the proverbial pain in the nether regions if you changed string brand or gauge! I always took all of the strings off so that I could properly clean the neck - OK, it did occasionally cause me grief but to me it was a necessary part of my re-stringing process. In the end I got fed up with the thing (for the reason you stated at the end :rofl:) and went for a guitar with a decent 2 point trem.
This new “Duesenberg alike” trem I’ve put on my Jazzmaster copy seems pretty good, it’s almost capable of going down to flappy strings but doesn’t always return to pitch, a bit of a wobble corrects it so I can tolerate it - I don’t do that sort of thing anymore, it was a “just testing” moment so it suits me fine, and to have a trem on my Jazzmaster copy is great!

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It came with D’Addario EXL120. I also prefer Ernie Ball strings myself over D’Addario.

I have a Ibanez with a thin neck, but fixed bridge and standard nut. I have needed to do the following (some not applicable) to get stability:

  1. tighten up the tuner mounting nuts. they were loose after about 4 weeks. I do live in a dry climate, so figured it was that.
  2. My nut came unglued. I cleaned it up (old glue) and re-glued it.
  3. I tightened up the neck mounting screws a lot. These were surprisingly loose after about 3 months. Made a huge difference, and pretty much fixed tuning stability troubles.

So the lesson here is to check that everything is properly tight. Also, I replace strings after the first week of seeing how things are responding. No telling how long that guitar sat in storage, so consider those strings as ‘old’.

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@sequences @roger_holland @AndyTake2 @DarrellW @angelakis thanks for the comments guys. It seems to be staying in tune for now. I will check everything is tight, but i am not looking forward to changing the strings :confused:

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This video should hopefully be helpful. The issue with a FR (or floating bridges in general) is that any change to one string affects ALL strings to some extent. So, to some extent, you have to anticipate that effect when tuning each string. If all of your strings are flat, you need to tune the outer strings a bit sharp as they will flatten while you increase the tension on the other strings. This is most effective when all strings are significantly out of tune, but technically works even when they are a little bit out of tune.

Pre-stretching your strings is also really important with a locking tuner, and you may find that you need to retune (loosening the nut and using the tuning pegs) once or twice on a new set of strings to keep your fine tuners centered. After that though, you should be able to just use the fine tuners. After my strings settled in, my FR-equipped guitar has had the most stable tuning of any of my guitars, even with temperature changes etc.

Anyway, the video does more justice to this concept than I ever could through a text-medium, so check it out!