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Guitar Won't Stay in Tune

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Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 12
Topic starter  


I have a Squier Strat (one of the beginner's electric guitars) that all of a sudden won't seem to stay in tune. The strings most affected are b and g. The room it stays in does see some temperature changes, say thirty degrees between highs and lows (highs in upper 80'sf and lows in the lower 50'sf). It has been in these conditions for awhile but just now won't stay in tune. Do you think this could be my problem? It would be difficult to move it to a better location, but would keeping it in a case help? Thank you for any suggestions.


Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342

Temperature fluctuations don't help, but how old are the strings? What I find is that the first sign of strings being as dead as a dodo is they stop holding tune.

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Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1630

Alan is spot on about the Strings. I am familiar with that guitar also, and have at least two of them, 3 incluing a Squier 51, but it has no trem. Your neck and trem are the most sensitive areas (besides strings) to those cryogenic changes. Instead of fooling with them, try the route with new strings, and don't expect a miracle till they 'break in' too, for a few days?

And if the guitar is kept in cool conditions, it can even respond to the heat from your hand on the neck, and go out of tune.

And yes, if you can, keep the guitar in a case, even a gig bag (I do) to keep the surface air and changes of of it directly. :)

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Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 848

Well I find that as the strings go south, its almost always the G first, then the B... well sence those are your problem strings... I realy gotta vote you just need strings.. Have you changed them latly? ever??

Next... How quickly is it going out of tune, and how much?? If you have to tweek a tuner or two every time you play...well thats normal. Now if it goes out during pratice/playing time... thats diferent. Are you hard on the Trem bar?? That will throw things out quicker...

A case will help the changes from temp, and other eviro issues... but wont stop it. I have my LP, and my Resonator in cases... and they still need a tune tweeking before I play.

Paul B

Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1497

Temperature does affect strings. And it seems that older strings are affected more severely.

Strings stretch in warmer temperatures and shrink in colder temperatures. Want to see a dramatic illustration. Notice how much sag the power and telephone lines have in the summer (take a picture) and then compare the same span in the winter when it's cold out. Longer spans of cable are more dramatic.

Does it stay in tune fairly well during a playing session?

Things that keep a guitar in tune include:

  • Not too many windings on the tuner
  • Neatly wound on the tuner
  • Put some pencil lead graphite in the grooves of the nut when changing strings
  • Put some 'chap stick' under the string tree if your guitar has one (This suggested to me by a Kramer technician)
  • Always tune from flat up to pitch
  • I would never expect my guitar to stay in tune from day to day. On the other hand, if the temperature didn't change drastically, I wouldn't expect it to be out very far. I tune up the guitar before I play it, every time.

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    Illustrious Member
    Joined: 20 years ago
    Posts: 5480

    I would never expect my guitar to stay in tune from day to day. On the other hand, if the temperature didn't change drastically, I wouldn't expect it to be out very far. I tune up the guitar before I play it, every time.
    +1 I don't care how old the strings are or what time of year it is. Play guitar, means tuning it first for me. Not a hard task. Just a few minutes at the most, and also serves as a good warm up time for tube amps when you start playing them. :)

    "I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin