Keeping Your Instrument ‘In-Tune’
Probably one of the most frustrating situations guitar players encounter is their instrument not staying ‘in-tune’.
The primary reason most guitars won’t hold tune is that players have not thoroughly stretched their strings after putting them on. After you put on new strings and tune your instrument up (or have purchased a new instrument and just got it home) tug on them just a bit.
When doing this, don’t go overboard –slight tugs will do the trick. Keep any pulling action away from your guitars nut (it could get damaged if you are not careful). Some players tug the strings side to side, other players use an up-down motion. For good string-stretching technique, try pushing the string with your thumb while you pull it in the opposite direction with your forefinger or middle finger.
Stretch the string a bit this way and re-tune it. Repeat for all strings. A great way to gauge your success and getting the slack out of each string is to use an electronic tuner in conjunction with this exercise. Put each string on, tune it to pitch, and then do the stretch example as noted above. You’ll see the string drastically fall ‘flat’ with the tuner. However with each stretch and re-tune, you will see the string get less and less ‘flat’ and eventually that string will stay in tune after a few good stretches.
Another great tip when restringing an instrument with a plastic nut is to use some #2 lead from a pencil in the grooves of the nut. This way, each string glides smoothly thru the nut with each string peg turn.
Use this string stretching technique on guitars, basses and ukuleles!
You’ll be amazed at the results and you’ll be in-tune!
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