Five Ways to Get Your Guitar Back in Tune

5 Guitar Tuning Tips That Will Save You Money

If you are having difficulty keeping your guitar in tune, it does not necessarily mean that it’s time to replace your beloved axe. There is a good chance that your intonation problems can be solved at home or inexpensively at your local music store. Here are five ways that you can quickly and easily fix the most common tuning issues.

#1 Old Strings

When was the last time you cleaned or replaced your strings? Over time, the dirt and oils from your hands make their way into the strings. This added grime can cause the strings to vibrate unevenly and lose their elasticity. In addition, strings simply lose their tone after a period of time due to wear and tear. They simply can’t vibrate as consistently as they did when they were fresh out of the package. Your local music store has string-cleaning products that can help prolong the life of your strings. A better idea is to replace your strings every six months or so. Replace them more often if you play regularly.

#2 The Bridge

The bridge is where most intonation problems occur. Luckily, this also has an effective solution. Whether your guitar has a fixed bridge or an adjustable one, in theory, intonation is the ability of a guitar to play in tune at every fret. With a little learning and practice, you can learn how to adjust the bridge so your guitar stays in tune. Of course, you can always rely on a local guitar repair shop to do it for you, too.

#3 The Nut

The nut is the slotted piece at the first fret where the strings sit on the way to the tuning machines. If any of the slots on the nut are not the proper depth and width, the strings won’t rest on them properly, which can make them fret improperly and make a buzzing sound. An alternative to fixing or replacing the nut is to use graphite powder or grease, generally available at music stores. This ensures that the strings move freely when bent or tuned. This secret helps keep your guitar in tune.

#4 Using a Capo

If you are not careful when putting a capo on, it can cause harsh buzzing in some of the strings. To prevent intonation problems from use of a capo, place it straight onto the strings and tighten it slowly and carefully, making sure not to bend or distort the strings. With practice, intonation problems involving your capo can be eliminated.

#5 The Tremolo Arm

The tremolo arm, or “whammy bar,” can be a useful effect for your style of playing. The drawback to using a tremolo arm, particularly on a less expensive guitar, is the stretching effect it has on the strings. Even one good “wah” on occasion can stretch the strings and make them less playable as time goes on, so be mindful. Many more expensive guitar models manage to maintain their pitch no matter how many times the tremolo bar is used. This is achieved by a locking nut which clamps down on the strings, allowing them to return to their proper pitch.

With a bit of knowledge and practice you can reduce or eliminate tuning problems and get back to playing your music without buzzing or other annoying sounds clouding up your tunes.