Tuning stability on 1991 RG550 - Jemsite
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
 
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Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

Hey people,

I just got my first Ibanez, also my first Floyd Rose Guitar ever. Been playing fixed bridges for all the years and I must say I am really excited about my new baby, which is in exceptional state for it's age. I got it from a real nice guy who already taught me many things and checked some of the stuff for me.

Its just that right now I am trying to setup the Git and I have some problems. Tried watching a lot of videos, but some answers weren't there. And I never know whether there is something wrong with the guitar, or I don't have the skills, or I expect too much in general.

Problem is, it holds tuning "okay", I don't really know how well, since I haven't owned a Floyd Rose before. When I tune it with the fine tuners, I get it to quite nice, the strings being of by a few cents each. I have tried several methods I found online, but I don't get it up to perfection. And then comes the Tremolo... When I push it downwards (tension release) it mostly holds tuning, but when I lift it up, some (!) of the strings pitch up and stay there. And this messes up the tuning in general. When I push it down again, it mostly returns to the not-so-perfect-tuning I had before.
For example: I let the low E-String ring and push the tremolo down, it stays, and then I pull it up and the reading on my fine tuner goes up by several cents.

Things I have tried:
- Several tensions on the 3 locking nut screws, does not make a difference
- Opening the nut and stretching the strings before I lock them
- Tightening the intonation screws (I am not sure how tight they shoud be)
- Carefully tightening the neck-through locking screws (Please tell me how tight these have to be, they feel kind of loose but I don't want to carve them into the neck)

Alright, thank you for your help!
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 06:09 AM
 
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

Not much expertise on my part.., but have you tried stretching the strings ? [IMO, this is a routine part of changing strings.]
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 06:30 AM
 
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

It sounds like your problem is that the vibrato unit itself is not returning to exactly the same position, this is being caused by the knife edges being blunt or by the pivot posts being damaged, either or both is likely on a guitar nearly 30 years old, you will need to take a close look at these two problems and possibly buy some new pivot posts and re-profile the knife edges.

Look here for the definitive information:

IBANEZ RULES!! tech - setup
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-01-2018, 10:52 AM
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

You won't get fat knives early 90's. Either you're not stretching strings hard enough, you need to lube the pivot point with chapstick, and if you still have wandering tuning I'd go straight to the anchors. Loose anchors are the most common problem in old basswood.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

Hey folks, so I tried basically everything on ibanez rules, and it didn't change anything, so I decided to take out the tremolo.

I took some pictures (or at least tried to) of the knife edges and the posts. The posts look really nasty, I don't know what the previous owner did. I guess they could be a reason for the problem?

My question would be, do you think the knife edges are alright? I would then buy new posts and hope for the problem to disappear. If not, I would confront the seller as he told me specifically that the knife edges were alright. Don't want to waste money on this one.

Anchors seem stable as far as I can tell.
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Last edited by mobei; 07-20-2018 at 01:33 PM.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-02-2018, 07:27 PM
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

You didn't do the one primary must, lube. Chapstick. Report back after, the state of the parts are worn but no reason they won't perform right, if the anchors are solid which I still would doubt.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

Okay I will do it. Does it have to be chapstick or do other brands work too? I researched, they are hard to get in germany.

How would you test the stability of the anchors? I locked the inside screw with the allen wrench and then applied force to the wrench so much that I feared it might bend. Could not observe movement.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 09:19 AM
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

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Originally Posted by mobei View Post
How would you test the stability of the anchors? I locked the inside screw with the allen wrench and then applied force to the wrench so much that I feared it might bend. Could not observe movement.
Lock down the set screw in each stud finger tight. Now firmly grab an post and observe if the anchor & surrounding wood moves when you wiggle it forward and backward (i.e. as if putting pressure from pull up and push down of the trem). Repeat for the other post. You'll know if it's loose as there should be no movement.
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 01:31 PM
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

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Okay I will do it. Does it have to be chapstick or do other brands work too? I researched, they are hard to get in germany.

How would you test the stability of the anchors? I locked the inside screw with the allen wrench and then applied force to the wrench so much that I feared it might bend. Could not observe movement.
Kevan used to use PTFE impregnated grease with good results.

Loose anchors will cause erratic returns. One time it may return sharp, the next, flat, this time a little, the next alot. If you're not getting erratic return they may be fine, but you test them by locking the set screws down hard. You have to remove all the movement between stud and anchor to be able to resist a force test. Typically you can't move anchors without quite a bit of force, on a newer stud you can do it with the allen in the top but you're just as likely to snap the top off of an older stud. Pliers over a piece of cloth and forcefully try and move them in the direction of the strings and observe the stud and anchor for even the slightest movement, the slightest movement is death to tuning stability. I just did a 15 year old mahogany J Custom you couldn't move except with channel locks and the tiny bit of movement was not commensurate with the wild tuning fluctuations it was presenting, but that was the problem another tech couldn't find, probably because he didn't use enough force.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-03-2018, 01:56 PM
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Gunzilla works great as alternate to chapstick and is non ionic. Get on Amazon.com apply with qtip
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 06:32 PM
 
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Your trem posts look like they are badly grooved. This is a common occurrence when folks don't loosen the strings before adjusting the action. You have to expect some issues when you buy used. Rare is the guitar that is used & "mint".
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

Hey there, some update:

I applied some chapstick(-equivalent) to the knife edges and re-assembled the unit. I could not detect a real change in my wandering tuning issue, and overall tuning stability was still poor.

I then followed precisely every step in the lockup procedure from IR and yep, it helped me getting it to a point where the tuning shifts were quite predictable at least. But I realized a new problem, that might hint to the actual problem:

When I got it in the low neutral, stable position, it kinda stays in tune. When I do a big bend on the high E string, the tuning shifts drastically. E and B go flat by a remarkable amount, and low E and A go flat by up to 7 cents. When I then do a whammy down, it returns almost exactly to low neutral. I know what you think now, but what I reach through bending is NOT high neutral, it has a different pattern. So it is kind of a third neutral point and I have no idea how it comes to be.
Interestingly enough, I have not been able to replicate "third neutral" by for example pulling the E string, by moving the E string sideways in its saddle to find a crack or something that it might slip in, pushing down the String behind the nut to see if it is not locked properly - no way. Stable, until I do a bend?!?

What I did then: Order two new posts. They arrived today, and after chapstickin' I reassembled everything. Result: Slightly reduced wandering tuning, but exactly same behaviour when it comes to the bending problem. Sigh.

Why have I not pulled the anchors yet? 1. I could not detect movement 2. I don't dare to really , is there any procedure with pictures? 3. The fact that neutrals exist makes me doubt that the anchors might be the cause.

Sorry for my long blabla
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 05:08 PM
 
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At this point the only way I could diagnose your issues is with guitar in hand. I have the original Edge in both my 86 Roadstar 2 & my 2001 RG 520qs. They are Rock solid, & hold tune better than my stupid Epiphone. Finding someone to work on do tremolos is difficult I know. Wish I knew what to tell you.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-19-2018, 10:06 PM
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Re: Tuning stability on 1991 RG550

Dive the bar 5 times, it should come back to perfect tune every time. If it does it's not the anchors.
Bend the high e as you pluck the string behind the nut, mif the tuning changes behind the nut it might be moving.
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-20-2018, 05:54 AM
 
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I did forget to mention the locking nut. Check for grooves in the blocks. Also be sure you have them installed in correct direction. In addition always put them back in same place you took them off. If you put the block you used on the wound strings on the unwound side your unwound strings will slip because of the groove wound strings will put in it.
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