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My Epiphone Les Paul Tribute Plus came with Grover locking Rotomatic tuners. These tuners work phenomenally well. They stay perfectly in tune no matter how much I bend and beat on the strings- and adjustments are smooth and accurate.
On the Rotomatics, you just insert the string, and give it a wind, and an inner-cam rotates, locking the string into place under the string’s own tension. I always feel a little uncertain when changing strings on these because the process is a bit different from other tuners. Here are the instructions from Grover:
1. Turn tip of string post until it clicks into place. This aligns string post holes.
2. Note string hole is off center. Turn knob to rotate post until string hole is positioned away from knob. Thread string up through bottom of hole and pull firmly. See drawing.
3. Turn to begin tuning. At first, only inner “Locking Cam” is turning, securely locking the string. Once the string is locked, outer post will turn.
4. Bring string to pitch.
A carpenter once showed me a great trick with a toothpick. One of our doors was sagging, because the screws in the hinges were loose, and couldn’t be tightened. With a glint in his eye, he pulled out a handful of toothpicks from his pocket, saying “my secret weapon”. After removing the loose screws for the hinge, he stuffed a few toothpicks in each hole, cut them off flush, and then re-tightened the screws in the holes. Presto chango- it was all nice and tight. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best!
In this video, I apply this simple trick to the tuners on my Epiphone Riviera P93. Some of these screws have been loose since day one – the kind of loose where no matter how much you try to tighten the screw, it just spins freely in the hole. The wood fibers in the hole are stripped out and no longer gripping the screw threads. One simple toothpick, inserted in each hole and cut off flush, just like that carpenter had shown me- and now the screws go in nice and tight. The soft wood of the toothpick makes the perfect filler. No glue necessary.
That same carpenter also shared these fine words of wisdom: “Caulk and paint are what a painter ain’t”, but that’s a story for another day
My new Epi Les Paul Tribute Plus arrived yesterday for my birthday, and it’s a beauty! These things are hard to find- none of the local stores have inventory, and every online retailer is backordered. I managed to get Guitar Center’s last one in the country(!) – from the store in Tonawanda, New York. The store manager there was great- sent me some pics, played it for me to confirm it was all good, gave me a great July 4th discount, and shipped it over for free. Thanks Chip!
Cosmetically, it’s really nice. Clean, well-defined flamed maple top and cream bindings. The cherryburst finish looks near-perfect- with rich warm coloring- not the bright overexposed yellow in the pictures at Guitar Center’s website. The Grover locking tuners feel fantastically smooth, and the switch, knobs and jack all seem good. And after some quick adjustments, it plays pretty well (but still needs some fine tuning).
The ’57 Classic pickups sound really dynamic, rich and beautiful – they’re warm when played gently, and crank when spanked. Love em. There’s quite a range of sounds with the push/pull series/parallel switching on the tone knobs. When a tone knob is pulled, the humbucker’s two coils are wired in parallel giving a lighter, brighter, thinner sound, somewhat reminiscent of a single coil (though different). It’s completely different from the ultra-thick and heavy series-humbucker sound (knob pushed in). This is a really versatile setup: a total of 8 different sounds using the 3 switches, not to mention the variations you can get by adjusting the volume knobs in the middle switch position.