I've built four cbgs. Three of them are completely built by me, while the fourth has a neck from delta groove. Two of them have a fender strat scale length, while the other two have a 24.5 inch scale length.
All of them play in tune while I use the slide...except...when the string starts to bend downward. If I lose the slide, and try to play holding down the notes...everything is out of tune.
However, if I go back to slide, and play softly without causing any string bend, the tuning is fine.
I've tried everything I can think of...and im lost! (And very discouraged)
If anyone knows what I am doing wrong, I would greatly appreciate the advice.
Well crap. That's why it is good to do fretless for awhile. Well, how high are the strings off the fret board? Getting a git to both slide and finger well is not always easy. I like that distance to be a quarter inch string to fret - at the 12th fret. And the thickness of one to two dimes at the first fret.
I wonder if you are near Rob Ingram. Good guy in S central or SW Missouri - could probably help you out. Could contact him through CBN. Wichita Sam is down that way too. Same story.
Oh, Wayfinder is from your neck of the woods maybe too.
The strings will all go sharp as you bend them. That means bending down (pushing with a slide) or bending sideways with a finger.
You should notice that if you are very light with your slide, the tuning stays.
So, what can you do to make things playable?
1. Practice and develop your slide technique. You need very little down pressure to make the strings ring. No need to press down much.
2. Check your string action height. With higher action, you can press hard with the slide without touching the frets or fret board, but, of course, you have the strings go sharp. High action is also why strings to out of tune when you finger a note. Look at lowering the action on all strings. With good slide technique, you don't need all that clearance. Look to lowering the action down to around 0.090" at the 12th fret and down to around 0.03~0.050" at the first fret. The lower action will stay in tune better when you finger a string and will make you use a lighter slide hand.
3. Consider going to heavier strings. There is a lot of range in string diameters that will work. Heavier strings will need to be more taught to reach pitch, but this means you slide will not depress them as much, so you stay in tune better. Check the Gitty site for string options. There is a big range to choose from for any tuning you choose.
Heavier strings, practice with you slide pressure and lower action will all help you to stay in tune when you play. It's easier than it might sound. So, don't give up. Just go for it.
I second tom's comment, pressing the strings down to the fret increases the tension, thus they go sharp. that's why commercial acoustic guitars have an angled saddle, to compensate for the extra stretch. when playing slide on a git with a compensated bridge/saddle, your ear or tuner will show you the note is not directly above the fret, just a hair past it.
Yup on giving us a couple photos.
Here is one of the guitars...
Another one. Thanks, guys!
This belongs in the last post...
This is a video of me playing one of the guitars. I'm playing slide...so, I don't know if you can tell much from the video.
Slide sounds good JohnMan. Looking at the pics, I'd say you have to adjust the action quite a bit lower if you want those fretted notes to be in tune.
I'll definitely be doing some adjusting over the next couple of days. I did wonder a lot about the height, but...
I bought a good quality CBG some years ago up in St. Louis... The strings were thin/soft, like electric guitar... and the action has always been pretty high on it. But, the notes have always rung tried and true. I've owned this for 4 years now, and there has been no tuning problems whatsoever.
Anyway... The next step for me is to lower the strings. I'll keep working on it and will let you all know how it goes. Thanks!