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Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

My teacher has recommended me to buy some Graphite (stuff you use to lube keys or something like that) and put it all over the nut of the guitar to help with my tuning problem.He says too that I should put some sort of oil into the machine heads little holes but I forgot what he said to use!I was wondering what do you guys use to get it oily in there? I mean my guitar tuning sucks! I can tune it and then play a few of licks on the same string and it will be like a half step out already. Also, how often do you guys replace strings? I haven't replaced them for 3 months and thats about how long I usually wait to change them.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5840

First of all, I wouldn't recommend putting anything into the holes of the tuners, they're supposed to be lubricated for life. Adding lubrication will make them even more slippery and more likely to go out of tune.
Many tuners have a small screw, at the end of the tuning key. You can tighten this to get more resistance (and less slippage) into the tuner - try that first.
As for your nut and bridge saddles, use a piece of graphite or get graphite powder from a hardware store. Just be careful, it makes an awful mess, if you get it over your guitar. Many people say to use a pencil.
As for replacing strings, I do that when they sound like they need it.

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Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 441

If you instructor suggested that you oil your tuners, he probably had good reason. They are probably sticking or too resistant to turning. I am assuming he checked them over, and since he is teaching he must have a fair bit of experience. Either way a little oil or grease won't hurt. I would use a drop of clear oil (sewing maching oil, air compressor oil, vegatable oil or a dab of vasaline inserted with a toothpick or needle.

Your guitar going out of tune that fast is a problem which could be related to your tuners, but could be due to a different reason as well. I had a guitar that was falling out of tune due to the tuners. It was rather obvious that was the cause and I replaced them.

Get a second opinion from an experienced player if necessary.

Good luck



Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 225

Re. the graphite if you don't already know this, pencil lead is graphite. I keep a soft lead pencil handy (a good old #2 pencil is fine but if you happen to be at an art store you could get a "B" hardness lead) and when I change my strings I use it to put some graphite into each nut slot.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4921

Only sealed tuners are lubricated for life - unsealed tuners do need lubrication once in a while. Sometimes it's hard to tell, because the casings of some unsealed tuners (especially from Asia) are designed to look like sealed tuners.

Max' list about covers it - thin clear oil or vaseline.

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Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

Sometimes when doing a bend the noise fades out fast with a squeal.Is this because of the dirty frets?

Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3709

Non sealed tuners need lubrication. That's why the hole is there.

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Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 518

If there's a hole in the back of the tuner or if the tuner back is open put one or two drops of light weight machine oil on the capstan. (that's the part of the gear that is connected to the tuning key) Don't use any more than this. Turn the machine so that the oil is distributed onto all parts evenly and wipe off excess.

A soft lead pencil is ideal for lubing nuts, sharpen the pencil and roll the tip into the slots, then put on your strings. if you hear a "ping" when you tighten up the strings, then maybe the string slots might have to be widened a little bit.

Dirty frets doesn't usally cause the tone you are describing, it sounds more like the string is "fretting out", either your action is too low, or you have a tight radius on the fret board, or a fret higher up on the fret board is too high.

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