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Thread: SE Custom 24 Tuning issues

  1. #1
    Junior Member Jon van derlim's Avatar
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    SE Custom 24 Tuning issues

    Hi all, I have a rather lovely new SE custom 24 that I am really pleased with.....other than keeping it in tune,

    Is tuning instability something I will have to live with on my SE-or are they normally pretty good. I have put the back ground below if it helps.

    thanks in advance

    I ordered the guitar in store from a very reputable PRS dealer in Exeter UK after trying a the shop brown burst model, I asked them to put D'Addario 10's on my guitar when it came in as they are my go to string and asked them to carry out a full set up on the guitar for the 10's (to my knowledge they came with 9's on as stock).

    When I picked it up I had a few tuning issues and they took it into the tech shop and adjusted the nut and after trying it again it was better but not perfect but I knew that the guitar would need a little time to settle down.

    I spent more time playing it over the past few days and still had issues but from the pinging it sounded like the nut was binding the strings- so I took it back, they had it for an afternoon and cut the nut again.

    I tried it again and it seemed better and it was, but only slightly, I called them yesterday and the tech said that the nuts in the SE models are not very good and I really should upgrade to the ones PRS put on the US models for 45.00.

    My question is (sorry to ramble), is this something I will have to live with on my SE- is the tech right should I upgrade the nut or am I being mislead by the shop / tech??

    Please help as I am getting really frustrated by this if I can't get it sorted the Guitar will be going back and I will get something else

    Jon
    PRS SE Custom 24 in Royal Blue
    Fender Mustang III V2
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  2. #2
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    A Tech set it up and it won't stay in tune take to a proper tech...although I only have a SE acoustic, the tuning stability on that is fantastic.

    1st off check the nuts that are holding the machine heads to the headstock are not loose
    2nd the little screw at the top f the tuning pegs make sure they are tight
    3rd check the bridge is level and the springs are adjusted properly
    4th Have you checked the intonation yourself (if you know how to play natural harmonics its really easy) grab your tuner


  3. #3
    Junior Member Jon van derlim's Avatar
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    Thanks Darren, I have checked the intonation and the general set up is good, TBH Mansons have an excellent reputation which is why I bought it from them, my main concern was are these SE models know for tuning issues (as the tech suggested due to the poor nut material) or am I just getting a bad service?

    thanks again

    Jon
    PRS SE Custom 24 in Royal Blue
    Fender Mustang III V2
    Fender Squier Telecaster in Butterscotch Blond
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    how much are you using the trem, is it only when you use the trem it goes out of tune.

    how close are the pickups to the strings, having them too close can cause the pickups to pull on the strings making the guitar sound out of tune.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Jon van derlim's Avatar
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    I am not using the trem much due to the poor stability of the tuning which kind off puts me off using it, if what you say is true then whats the point in having a trem?- which then leads me to think this is an inherent fault?

    Pickups are the correct distance as I would see it (been playing for several years), the tuning stability is seen through a chromatic tuning pedal and is in no doubt out after light use let alone really digging in.

    Thanks

    Jon
    PRS SE Custom 24 in Royal Blue
    Fender Mustang III V2
    Fender Squier Telecaster in Butterscotch Blond
    Stagg Electro Acoustic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon van derlim View Post
    I am not using the trem much due to the poor stability of the tuning which kind off puts me off using it, if what you say is true then whats the point in having a trem?- which then leads me to think this is an inherent fault?

    Pickups are the correct distance as I would see it (been playing for several years), the tuning stability is seen through a chromatic tuning pedal and is in no doubt out after light use let alone really digging in.

    Thanks

    Jon
    i'm just trying to establish how you are using the guitar, yes trems can cause tuning issues...the string only touches at the nut and saddle but is connected at the machine heads and bridge so the problem lies there. temperature and humidity are all over the place in the UK at the moment (i'm near Manchester) and that it self can cause lots of tuning issues.

    I'm goign to bow out and let someone from PRS jump in.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Jon van derlim's Avatar
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    My trem use is light as I know that it's not a Floyd Rose and its not made for dive bombs etc a light flutter at the end of a sustained chord is my style or that kind of thing, but its not just through trem use, string bends can also cause big tuning differences / issues.

    All the tuning issues are instant after trem use or string bends, so I would say that would rule out humidity being the cause, and its always wet in Devon- well in recent years any how. ;-)

    I appreciate your input Darren, however if some one from PRS or another SE user who can reinforce the fact that these Guitars are or are not common sufferers of this particular issue it would be a help and give me something to go on perhaps back to Mansons to see where I go from here.

    Thanks again

    Jon
    PRS SE Custom 24 in Royal Blue
    Fender Mustang III V2
    Fender Squier Telecaster in Butterscotch Blond
    Stagg Electro Acoustic

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    I love SEs (have 4) and I have the same problem with my Custom 24. The SEs are known for having a poor quality nut. It's likely the issue with yours as well.

    I have a Tusq nut I will be installing in the near future along with phase II tuners.
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  9. #9
    I have an SE C24 I bought from Guitar Center that is having the same issue and they want to charge me $66 to file out the nut to accept 10's and then do a full setup on the guitar. Honestly ...I'm just going to return it and note that these SE models must be crap if so many people are having issues with the nut and tuning stability and the company just turns their head and goes, "Ah well you should've gotten a US made model." What's the sense?? I mean you spend $800 on a guitar - it should stay in tune once it's tuned. Even the 9's that were on it when I bought it didn't stay in tune. THAT is why I changed the strings. I figured, "Ok these strings are old and that's why it won't stay in tune, plus I like 10's, so let me throw a set of strings on and hopefully that will solve the problem." And then I start reading all over the internet about how it has issues staying in tune. So yeah I'm just going to return this to Guitar Center and be done with PRS until I can swing the cost of an American made one. The PRS that made my mouth water and want to own one wasn't an SE, and this is what I get for being cheap (if you can call spending $700-$800 being cheap)?

  10. #10
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    I've never owned an SE electric. but, I've read so many posts about owners of both SE's and USA models that it appears that the Nut and the pickups are the major sticking points. Everyone describes the nut as inferior and the pickups to be somewhat less quality than the US counterparts. that being said...almost everyone who has changed the nut and upgraded the pickups seems to think that the modified SE is very close to USA quality.

  11. #11
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    If the guitar is properly set up, you should not have any tuning issues. Please keep in mind the bridge does float on 6 fulcrum screws and uses the string tension and spring tension to maintain that balance, so tuning will not be as stable as with a Stoptail Bridge, but it will be stable. Also, while the US nut is of higher quality, the SE nuts are not "poor quality" in any way.

  12. #12
    PRS Addiction CoreyT's Avatar
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    I have bought four SEs so far (three for me, one for my son) and I have no tuning issues.
    My dealer sets them up when I buy them, but I also only run 9 - 42 Cobalts on them if that helps.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Jon van derlim's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback folks, it is interesting to hear different views, I had a long conversation with the tech in the shop and he feels that the problem might be that I haven't fully stretched the strings in, he has given me a few tips and asked me to give it a bit of time over the weekend and if its no better bring it in on Monday and they will look at it again.

    He did also state that the nut upgrade is something they would always recommend as the "tusk" nut is far better than the stock SE nut.

    Shawn & CoryT, this is my initial impression of the custom 24, the model I tried in the shop was stable enough and the web / mag reviews I have poured over in the past months never record poor tuning stability as an issue.

    I will give it a little more time, stretch in the strings purposefully and see how I get on.

    If no joy I will return it to the shop

    docbennett, I will say there is nothing wrong with the Pickups- they are ace
    PRS SE Custom 24 in Royal Blue
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon van derlim View Post

    He did also state that the nut upgrade is something they would always recommend as the "tusk" nut is far better than the stock SE nut.
    It's actually TUSQ, it's a faux ivory you see it alot on acoustics http://www.graphtech.com/products.html?CategoryID=1 ripping the existing nut off is a really nasty job without damaging the guitar, and although I doubt you would ever need a warranty repair it may affect the warranty to perform any unauthorised mods. (just mentioning cos i got caught out once with a pedal (they worked out I had opened it up)).

    Try contacting PRS UK http://www.headlinemusic.co.uk/ see if they can help.

  15. #15
    Junior Member Jon van derlim's Avatar
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    Yeah, TUSQ thats the stuff- I wouldn't do it myself I would get the Techs to do it, if they mess it up its their problem.

    To be fair I did the one on my tele with no problem at all- I suppose its how ham fisted you are?

    OMG have you seen the price of spares on the Headline music site- truss rod cover, 22.00 ??????
    PRS SE Custom 24 in Royal Blue
    Fender Mustang III V2
    Fender Squier Telecaster in Butterscotch Blond
    Stagg Electro Acoustic

  16. #16
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    if you are paying 8000 for a guitar 22 is nothing

  17. #17
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    I suspect the SE nuts are of decent materials, it's the QC on the cutting of the slots that seems to be off sometimes. If the slots just need widening then there's probably no need to swap the nut but any other issues then it may as well be swapped for a Black Graphtech Tusq XL or US PRS nut.

    I had major issues with the nut / tuning on my SE C24 and that had to be swapped (For a Tusq one) but once that was installed and I did a full setup / string change / stretch it's been perfectly fine. It will still go out a bit if I go overboard with the trem but that's to be expected and not a fault. For normal trem use and string bending the tuning is now very stable. Still got the stock tuners too.

    You could try some Big Bends Nut Sauce or pencil graphite in the slots to help things along. Check the bridge and make sure it's level on both sides and parallel to the top (Around 1/16th" but may be a touch higher on the SE's). Also check the 5 screws on the bridge. They should all be level with each other with the heads sitting above the surface. If anything looks out take it back to a tech. Also make sure the screws on the end of the tuning pegs aren't loose.

    Hopefully, with new strings stretched in and the guitar setup the tuning should be pretty stable.
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  18. #18
    I went in over the weekend to return my guitar and explained why and they said they'll waive the $66 setup fee. So let's see if filing out the nut slots on the PRS SE nut will resolve the issue. I own an ESP and a Schecter both made in (I believe) the same Korean factory as the PRS SE C24 and both have Floyd Rose trems on them, and I can ride these things pretty darn hard and only require a few minor adjustments from the fine tuning heads to get them back in tune. One of the reasons I wanted the PRS is to have something in between a stop-tail and a Floyd Rose, so hopefully this thing will stay in tune when I get it back. I'll post an update in about a week.

  19. #19
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    My SE "O" still has the stock nut, I had to widen the slots but it works just fine.... even with heavy trem use.

  20. #20
    Hoping that will be the case with mine, too, after the nut slots are widened. But I honestly can't believe they don't do something about this if so many people are having issues. Everything you read on here about them is "Great guitar, you just have to swap out the nut or file out the existing one."

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