Tuning Stability With Trem/Vibrato Dive
I’m currently playing a PRS S2 Standard 24 and an Ernie Ball Musicman Albert Lee MM90 which both have tuning stability issues after a dive on the vibrato. After a dive, the strings(all of them) go sharp. With a slight tug of about an inch off the fretboard, it returns to perfect pitch. I’ve performed some basic tests using only one string, one spring, and two mounting screws(on the PRS).
I’ve tried the following:
- Using lubrication on every point of string contact(nut, saddle, ball),
- Lubrication on all moving parts(under saddle, mounting screws, saddle screws),
- Locking tuners(of various brands)
- Floating the vibrato
- Decking the vibrato
- Swapped Vibratos(between PRS, USA-made Ernie Ball, Super-Vee BladeRunner)
- Ensured the nut is glued in place and not shifting
- Changed between 4 manufacturer/makes of string brand(GHS, Fender, D’Addardio XL & NYXL)
- Springs & tension: Tried the “chicken claw” and parallel methods, both straight and angled claw
- And of course, stretched the strings to varying amounts
After much troubleshooting, I’ve determined that it’s an issue with the vibrato on both of them(which with a search online seems to be a common issue with strat vibratos). For example, when you dive on the vibrato, and return to resting position, after it increases in pitch, with needle-nose pliers, pull on the string from the headstock toward the bridge, it doesn’t go back to the correct pitch. However, if you pull on the string FROM the bridge, towards the headstock, it goes back to perfect pitch. Thus led to my conclusion that it’s an issue with the vibrato.
My thought is that it’s catching on something, however, with enough lubrication, it should slip back to pitch. However, the lubrication doesn’t have any effect at all. Again this issue is occurring on two different guitars having used three different bridges that all base around a similar design.
Maybe with my observations written out in detail, it might present itself a little more clearly. If you get a chance to perform this dive bomb test with an accurate tuner, I’ve love to hear your feedback.
Thank you so much for taking the time read this lengthy post and thank you in advance for getting back to me when you do.
Sincerest and kindest regards,