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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Hallmark 65 Custom Tuning Problems

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So I ordered a Hallmark 65 Custom about a month or so ago. I love almost everything about this guitar but I seem to have some tuning problems.

When I first received the guitar, it wouldn't stay in tune after engaging the vibrato arm. So I changed strings, this seemed to work for a bit. I put some NYXL strings on, things seemed to be in perfect intonation and returned to pitch.

Now, I'm having the same problems as when the guitar arrived. It doesn't return to pitch very well and the intonation seems to have drifted. Other than changing strings, I haven't messed with it.

If any Hallmark owners have experienced the same issue, what did you do to resolve it?

This would be my favorite guitar if I can fix this issue.

I don't know if a tech in my area that has worked on these types of guitars.

IME it sounds like the nut isn't really well detailed ..before taking it to a shop just try some nut lube ;it sure helps my guitars . I'm not sure brand makes much difference so any good commercially available nut lube will probably do it ...Big Bend Nut sauce , I use Dunlop brand in a small syringe , or others . Low cost and certainly worth a try . Just put a small drop under all contact points @nut and bridge saddles , wipe off excess after the strings are seated .

I bought the same guitar a few years ago and had the same problem. I narrowed it down to the tremolo not going back to neutral. I figured out that the two posts holding the bridge in place weren't anchored well. Anytime I'd use the tremolo bar,the bridge would move a tiny bit...making it all go out of tune. I sold the guitar and vowed never to buy another Hallmark again. I would have thought the guitar would have at least been tested for tuning issues before shipping.
Nope.

Gellert (my first name)

Guitarist for The Fintastics

https://www.facebook.com/TheFintastics

There's no nut on a Hallmark 65 so the problem is most likely the metal/plastic string guide. The strings can get caught up in the edges and not let the guitar return to pitch.

One more possibility - I have had the wrap at the ball end loosen, leading to detuning and eventually complete failure. Happened a couple of times before I started soldering the wraps on the unwound strings which completely solved the issue.

Have you contacted Bob Shade? Personally, I've never experienced a tuning problem. I can dive bomb my C65 and it always comes back perfectly in tune. It can even sit untouched for weeks in changing weather and not go out of tune. Very reliable guitar.

Last edited: Jun 12, 2022 05:18:25

I need to contact Bob again. Everything I read about the Hallmarks before purchasing it was that it had great tuning stability. Hopefully, I’ll get this worked out because it is otherwise my favorite to play.

symbiotic wrote:

One more possibility - I have had the wrap at the ball end loosen, leading to detuning and eventually complete failure. Happened a couple of times before I started soldering the wraps on the unwound strings which completely solved the issue.

This stuff right here.
I do find it odd that Bob ships the guitars with strings he recommends against, but yeah. Reinforced balls for the win.

Last edited: Jun 13, 2022 10:23:25

This is NOT normal for a Hallmark. I own two and they both have extremely stable tuning.

Definitely get in touch with Bob Shade.

Cranium wrote:

symbiotic wrote:

One more possibility - I have had the wrap at the ball end loosen, leading to detuning and eventually complete failure. Happened a couple of times before I started soldering the wraps on the unwound strings which completely solved the issue.

This stuff right here.
I do find it odd that Bob ships the guitars with strings he recommends against, but yeah. Reinforced balls for the win.

My Hallmark 65 Custom came new with GHS Reinforced Boomers.
I think there was even a tag with the guitar indicating it had Reinforced Boomers.
No tuning issues with my 65 Custom either...but I'm pretty light with the vibrato bar (most vintage style vibratos were not designed for dive bombs anyway).
As far as the tuning issues are concerned, pretty much all the possible culprits have been mentioned in previous posts but I'll throw my 2 cents in.... Make sure all your strings are properly seated in the roller saddles in the bridge. I have actually seen strings seated beside the roller and not seated in the roller (happened to me after a string change). Also, while I've never experienced this myself, check the roller saddles that they are rolling freely and not stuck.

D'Addario high E strings have unraveled on several guitars, but only these strings. I found that a little superglue placed on the wrap around the ball end prevents unraveling.

The Insanitizers! http://www.insanitizers.com

I'm going to try another string change to see if that is the problem. I'm going to try a set of D'Addario XT and then Stringjoy's Signature series.

My vibrato use is light. No divebombing here. Smile

I'll send Bob another email just so he knows I'm testing it out.

Thanks for everyone's input. I'm open to any other ideas that haven't been mentioned as well.

Are you all still using the stock 10 gauge on your Hallmarks or did you move up?

InkEye wrote:

Are you all still using the stock 10 gauge on your Hallmarks or did you move up?

I've used .010s and .011s (roundwound) and .011s (flatwound) on both of my Hallmarks, and they all worked out fine, requiring minimal adjustments.

I'm currently using EB Rock'n'Roll pure nickel .010s on both.

Last edited: Jun 16, 2022 15:53:29

Okay. A little update on my tuning woes. I'm trying out some new strings to see if the NYXLs had gone bad earlier than expected.

I replaced the NYXL strings with Stringjoy's Balanced Tension 10s.

So far, so good but time will tell. I didn't get a month out of the NYXL strings with light vibrato use.

I'm with Squid. Any vibrato use (even light, over time) can unravel the strings. I think it's the tailpiece design. Get a quirky guitar, get a quirky feature. Smile s If they're going flat, watch for that (it rhymes!)

Bango has a Swept Wing that he loves but it needs a little extra care, Bob recommends reinforced strings which Bango is not shelling out for, other recommendations are superglue or soldering the winds.

As a trial, next string change superglue the winds next to the ball end and see if it helps. On normal guitars the nut is usually the problem, on these, it could also be that weird unwinding thing.

Bango Rilla!


The GO-GO Rillas
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