Learning to tune a guitar can be challenging for most beginner guitar players. You can tune your instrument by turning the pegs that change the pitch of the strings. Tightening the strings will produce a higher pitch, whereas loosening them will lower the pitch.
Your guitar will produce a crisp sound only if you tune it every time you play. However, if your guitar doesn’t sound right even while playing the correct notes, it may have gone out of tune. Though it’s natural for the tuning to change over time, there is likely to be a problem if you experience a more drastic change.
Tuning stability issues is quite frustrating, especially if you can’t identify the problem. Here are some of the most common reasons why your guitar won’t stay in tune.
Climatic factors like humidity and temperature disrupt your guitar’s tuning. For instance, heat and greater humidity levels cause the strings of your guitar and wooden components to expand. This will cause the tuning to be flatter.
On the other hand, a cold environment and lower humidity levels lead to contraction. This will lead to sharper tuning. So if the climate conditions for your guitar are not ideal, you should adjust your guitar’s tuning more often.
According to experienced guitarists, the older the guitar, the better it will sound. However, the strings of an aging guitar will sound worse. That’s because they become stiff and harder to fret. This means that fretted notes will sound sharper. You can consider changing your strings if they appear dirty, are poorly tuned, or sound dull.
The Guitar’s Nut Requires Servicing
A low-quality nut in your guitar often causes tuning problems, even in high-end instruments. The nut is a small metal strip in contact with the strings before they wind up around their corresponding tuning pegs.
Most often, manufacturers opt for a cheap nut made of low-quality plastic material. Moreover, the nut may not be lubricated or spaced properly. As a result, the strings may either get caught or fail to fit right in the tiny grooves.
You can use some elbow grease for lubrication or file the nut so that the strings can fit better. Some players might replace the nut with a more effective one if the material originally used has a poor quality.
An Issue with the Guitar’s Bridge
If your guitar doesn’t stay in tune, there may be a problem at the bridge, where all the strings come into contact with the instrument. The saddles and bridge pins on acoustic guitars might be made of poor materials, affecting the guitar’s tone. Dealing with tuning problems in electric guitars can be more complicated as they have different types of bridges.
Problems with Tuning Pegs
Tuning issues may also be associated with the pegs because this is where all the tunings are done. However, tuning instability because of the pegs doesn’t involve a mechanical problem. Loose pegs can be problematic only in one or two strings.
These problems exist because of the way strings are wrapped around the tuners. The strings are often coiled only a few times, while other guitars have strings coiled too many times. Without any balance, your guitar is likely to go out of tune.
Some guitars have poor-quality machine heads that can’t lock in place. The solution to this issue is installing a higher-quality set of machine heads.
New Strings Need Stretching
Most guitarists are unaware of stretching in the new strings. Once you restring your instrument, the strings are likely to stretch themselves over a week. This means they can easily go flat. You can resolve this issue by stretching the strings yourself. Here’s what you need to do:
- Tune your string to achieve the accurate pitch
- Put your middle fingers and index finger under the string at the twelfth fret and pull up.
- Retune your string
- Follow the same method with the fifth fret
- Try stretching the string until there’s no tuning difference following stretching
- Carry out the same procedure for the rest of the strings
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About the Author
The author is a famous song producer who started his career as a music teacher. He started playing the guitar at the age of thirteen. Later, he enrolled himself in a music school where he learned to play the guitar. He’s currently a leading song producer admired by many aspiring guitarists in the music industry.