8 Reasons Why Your Guitar Is Out of Tune

One of the frustrating issues guitarists at any level face is their guitars that won’t stay in tune. If you have ever wondered why your guitar goes out of tune despite being tuned regularly, this article will answer for you.

Below are eight common reasons your guitar won’t stay in tune. 

1. The Climate

The climate has a great influence on the strings
The climate has a great influence on the strings

Your guitar strings are sensitive to temperature and humidity, so the climate has a significant impact on the tuning of a guitar. The strings will expand when it’s warm which makes the strings sound flat, while in cold weather they will contract to result in a sharper sound.

2. Old Strings

Old strings can make your guitar go out of tune. Over time, strings can slowly deteriorate and lose their capability to hold tension, making them feel brittle and more difficult to fret. That will make some notes sound sharp.

3. Do Not Stretch The Strings

Improperly stretching the strings when you restring a guitar can cause the guitar to go out of tune. New strings should be stretched for a few minutes before they achieve the ability to hold the desired tension.

4. The Capo

Wrong clamping capo can lead to out-of-tune sound

A poorly placed capo can pull on your guitar strings incorrectly and then cause them to sound out of tune. If you use a capo on your guitar, ensure you clamp it on correctly. 

5. The Intonation

If a guitar doesn’t have the right intonation, its strings will not produce a tune properly. Poor intonation can be dealt with by tweaking the truss rod that runs down the center of the guitar’s neck. You may also have to adjust the height of the bridge or the nut to achieve ideal action.

6. The Tuning Pegs

Your tuning pegs can become loose over time and won’t hold a tuning. Using a screwdriver to tighten them frequently will ensure the tuning pegs are attached enough to the headstock and keep you sounding right.

7. The Nut

The guitar goes out of tune if the strings aren't in their nut grooves.
The guitar goes out of tune if the strings aren’t in their nut grooves.

Each string moves through a slot in the nut at the top of the fretboard, and if your strings are not moving through that slot smoothly, the result is uneven tension. If the strings don’t sit in those grooves along the nut’s front edge as they move down the fretboard, you’ll be out of tune throughout the neck. If the nut is cut too narrow, it can cause pinching of the string, which causes problems when tuning. It can cause your strings to break prematurely if it’s not flat. Filing down the nut can prevent this particular issue.

8. The Tremolo

Every time you press the tremolo arm, the strings get a little slack, and if they are wound improperly around the tuning pegs, your guitar will not sound right. The same goes for when you pull on the vibrato, as it will raise the pitch in the strings. This eventually relates to the nut, as the strings’ movement can cause them to change position in the nut and influence the way they retune to pitch.

Click here to download the Guitar Tunio – Guitar tuner app. You can get it for free on the App Store and Play Store. And if you’d like to learn more about your guitar and tuning, visit our blog. 

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