Hipshot Xtender tuning stability question

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Liko, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    I just invested in a BT7 to go on my MIM Fender Jazz. Between new pickups, control rewiring, new bridge and D-Tuner, it's pretty riced at this point; there's not a lot more I can do to it and still call it the same bass.

    The new tuner installed without a hitch, but there is a slight problem; if I tune the E-string perfectly, then toggle the lever back and forth, it ends up significantly sharp. After this first toggle, both notes are now sharp. I've tightened the tuning gear and the key adjuster as much as I feel comfortable doing, with no real change in behavior.

    Now, if I tune flat at first, toggling the lever puts the string in tune at both notes, so that's an acceptable workaround if I can be relatively certain the string will stay in tune (I'm not holding my breath). But, it's still really weird that even when tuning up into the note, downtuning and uptuning results in a higher pitch. If anything, I'd expect the machine not to hold pitch, and to end up flat after retuning.

    Anyone have insight on this? Do I have things put together too tight, or too loose? Did I get a bad one? Does the tuner just need to break in a little so it will move more freely when toggled?
  2. StevieMac


    Mar 17, 2005
    Vancouver, BC
    Take a look at this:

    Personally unless it's a quick mid-song switch I pull up on the e string pulling it away from the fret board while I flip the lever and that seems to help ensure the pitch will be correct. Works for me...
  3. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    So, basically, this is expected behavior due to the nut creating a tension imbalance on the tuner vs fretboard side of the string, and my "workaround" is exactly what the founder of the company that makes them says to do about it. Good to know.
  4. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Friction. Did you put graphite in the nut slot?
    Liko likes this.
  5. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    This, too.

    In fact, once I learned of this trick (so simple, can’t believe I didn’t know about it until recently), I take a pencil and “write” in the all of the fret slots between string changes.

    Yes, there is a little bit of a tuning procedure with the D Tuner. Observe it carefully as shown in the video and the other suggestions here and you’ll have no problems with it.
  6. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    I did indeed, one of the first things I tried when I noticed this behavior. It improved the behavior but still left the note a bit sharp after toggling the tuner. Now that I know it just kinda happens, I just account for it, no worries.
    Geri O likes this.
  7. Geri O

    Geri O Endorsing Artist, Mike Lull Guitars and Basses Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2013
    Florence, MS
    I don’t know why that happens, but yes, I noticed that the string still returns to normal position just slightly sharp, even with the graphite treatment. There is the way to deal with it, as we’ve seen in the video.

    The graphite practice is just a good habit to use, regardless.
  8. Sascha Erni

    Sascha Erni Making things go whoomp, whoomp since 1994 Supporting Member

    1) Put graphite in the nut slot.
    2) Tune slightly flat (non-dropped).
    3) Wiggle the lever a couple of times up and down.
    4) The E should stay correctly tuned.
    5) If what you drop to is off now, adjust, then start at No.2
    6) Once it’s close enough in both (or all three) positions of your xtender, don’t retune the string, no matter whether dropped or not. Or start again at No. 2.

    I have xtenders on all my basses, and once I’m through with the 2-4 thing, it stays in tune. I use roundwounds, I don’t know whether flats or tapewounds would behave differently. But the important thing is, after you twiddled with tuning, to go 2) and start from there until everything is set up correctly.
    scott sinner and BritFunk like this.