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New Fender Blacktop Strat will not stay in tune


I received my Fender Blacktop Strat from sweetwater on thursday. It sounds great, and plays great. The only problem is that it will not stay in tune at all. I have stretched the strings each day since thursday and the tuning gets way way out of tune each time and it is not getting any better.
Last night I was tuning the guitar to a tuner and by the time I got to the high E the bottom E and A were way off again.
If I tune by harmonics listening to it it sounds better but it doesn't stay in tune for more than a few minutes. That's only if I don't bend the strings at all.
Forget about the tremolo bar it completely destroys everything.
Also if I play a bar chord on the second fret it sounds in tune but when I play it on the 8th or 9th fret it is out of tune.
Does this sound like there is something wrong with the guitar or is this line of fenders a cheap guitars with cheap parts?
So far I am pretty bummed out.
December 6, 2010 @01:14pm
R Whittington

Not to worry. Try tuning your two outside strings first (bigE, little e), then your A and B, then your D and G. After you go through about twice you'll be good. As for the other issue. It sounds like you need to set your intonation. You have a guitar tuner so you'll be able to do this. Here's a video that runs through the process.

The Blacktop guitars are actually really good values. I think you'll have much better success now.
December 6, 2010 @02:19pm

Thanks for the info. I'll give this a shot and see how it goes. Any idea what gauge strings ship on this guitar? 9's maybe?
December 6, 2010 @03:17pm
GM Reszel

You might also try flatting the bridge against the body. Tremolos come from Fender with the bridge floating off the body and after Sweetwater's evaluation process it will be shipped the same way.
A Fender trem is a tricky animal to make work and if you've not dealt with that I would recommend flatting as I mentioned. You will remove the back cover plate and tighten the two claw screws. You will tighten them enough that the bridge stays put against the body when the guitar is fully up to pitch and/or when you bend.
Believe it or not there's also a bit of an art to strecthing - don't forget to pull the strings taut at each saddle, then pull them taut and stretch behind the nut (watch the high E - I often get zealous and snap it)!
December 14, 2010 @01:11pm

Did you talk with the guitar luthiers at Sweetwater?
If it turns out something mechanical I'm sure Sweetwater will make it right
They are second to none (THE BEST) in the Industry when it comes to customer satisfaction
December 10, 2011 @01:57pm