Why Do Guitars Go Out Of Tune?5 min read

Music Sep 24, 2021
Guitar Tuning



Why Do Guitars Go Out Of Tune?5 min read

When we listen to live Guitars some Guitarists produce the best music while some really sound awkward or the Guitars sound really odd. Do you know the reason? If you are a beginner, learning to play the Guitar be cautious about the Tuning of Your Guitar. Most of the budding guitarists do not tune their guitar every time they practice. This can diminish their progress as a guitarist and it can also cause them to have poor aural skills which lead to poor confidence in playing the Guitar. Having the proper tuning of your guitar is very important during this stage of your guitar learning. It will help you learn how to play smoothly and effectively. Having this technique will help you avoid getting used to playing out of tune also to avoid embarrassing situations too!

Know why tuning the Guitar is important

It can be frustrating to play with a guitar that won’t stay in tune. Getting your guitar in tune is very important for playing well. It helps keep it in tune and produces consistent playing. There are a variety of factors that can affect your guitar’s tuning.  Fortunately, there are a number of common causes of tuning problems that can be easily solved.

Here are a few underlying causes and resolutions.

Climate that changes everything

 Humidity and temperature can also affect the tuning of a guitar. High humidity levels can cause the wooden components of the guitar to expand, which could result in a flat tuning. Under ideal conditions, the humidity and temperature will cause the components of your guitar to contract, which means the tuning will go sharp. Keep a check on the climate and always keep your Guitar in the Guitar case to avoid contact with humidity and the air.

Pretty Old Strings:

When it comes to guitar strings, they will eventually sound worse as they get older. This is because as they get weaker, they become harder to fret.

You can change your strings once they start displaying the following conditions.

  • Dull sound & lack of sustain
  • Poor tuning
  • Difficulty to fret
  • Grimy or dirty appearance 
  • String breakages

New Strings that are not Stretched well

Most of the time, guitarists don’t realize that stretching in new strings is important. When they first start playing, they tend to tire themselves out if they are not stretched well.

Every time you buy a new set of strings for your guitar:

  • Tune the string to pitch
  • Place your index and middle fingers underneath the string at the 12th fret and pull upwards
  • Re tune the string to pitch (it almost certainly will have gone flat)
  • Repeat the process at the fifth fret
  • Continue to stretch the string until there is no noticeable tuning difference after stretching
  • Repeat the entire process for the other strings

The Intonation

One of the many reasons for Guitar to go out of tune is when the intonation of the guitar doesn’t sound right, then it should be tuned properly. That is most probably when the open strings are in tune but the fretted notes are out of tune, it’s likely that you have poor intonation.

Here are a few tips to resolve it:

  • Tune an open string to the proper pitch using a goo tuner
  • Play a fretted note on a string at the 12th fret, and if it is sharp, the bridge saddle should be moved away from the head-stock. If the note is flat, then the bridge saddle should be moved toward the headstock. If it is angled, then adjust the bridge saddle screw.
  • Repeat the process until there is no noticeable difference in tuning between the open string and the fretted note
  • Do the same thing with all the other strings

Guitars going Nuts because of the Nuts!

A loose nut can also cause a Guitar to malfunction. This issue can also cause it to go out of tune when it gets bent. If the cut-out nut is too narrow, it prevents the string from freely moving. If the nut is still causing problems, try using a pencil to grease the slots with graphite. This will help keep the problem from happening again.

The Quality Matters

The quality of your guitar string is also very important to the longevity of your guitar. For instance, if your guitar has a built-in tuner, it should always be tuned to the correct tuning tone.  Also in most cases, it is not uncommon for guitar techs to see that the string is bent or twisted right out of the box. When it comes to string size, note the size of the guitar you bought. Doing so will help you determine the proper fit for the instrument. You might also want to consider an adjustment to the bridge or the intonation adjustments. So checking the quality of the Strings and position is equally important.

Keep a check on the Pickup Height and the Bridge

Sometimes, a pickup height or bridge issue can cause tuning difficulties. If it does, try loosening the screws on the bridge to see if they have worked themselves loose. Also, try playing with a pickup magnet that is a little high to prevent it from pulling out the strings.

Poor Techniques

If you still sound out of tune after trying various techniques, it’s likely due to your own technique. There are a few common causes of this issue that can affect your guitar. Over-tension or under-tension can also cause poor string bending. Using the Whammy bar frequently can also cause some tuning stability issues in some cases.

Also, consider consulting a Professional Guitar Luthier for help if needed. Getting your Guitar tuned is equally important when you start your Guitar lessons. Always check if the Guitar is tuned well before even starting your warm-up exercises. So a well-tuned guitar will make playing more enjoyable. It will also sound better and be more durable. Having fun with the guitar will make it much easier to learn.

Aside from improving your guitar’s sound quality, tuning also helps train your ear to hear the right notes. It’s also a great way to fall in love with the instrument. Learning to play music is one of the greatest things a person can experience.

Get ready to groove!


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