No one wants to have a guitar that won’t stay in tune long enough to play an entire song. The longer the guitar stays in tune, the better! When playing your guitar, you will always want to set up your guitar and play in a way that allows your guitar to stay in tune as long as possible. To keep a guitar in tune, you should also be attentive enough to minimize the total time and effort you will spend tuning and instead have more time playing with less effort.
There are various factors that can either make your tuning easy or difficult, however focusing on what makes it easy or straightforward is always the best approach. The following are the simplest ways to keep your guitar in tune longer so you can spend more time playing and less time tuning. All of these suggestions will work with any guitar – from the beginner entry level cheaper models up to high end pro guitars.
Install the strings correctly
It can actually be quite surprising how many experienced guitarists don’t get string installation correct. It does take a little practice. For both acoustic and electric guitars, the process is the same at the headstock. You want to make sure that the strings are wound correctly around them – just a few times being careful not to overlap them on the post. At the bridge, it is going to depend on the type of guitar. Acoustic guitars have wooden or plastic pegs that are pulled out.
The ball end of the string is placed in the hole and the peg is pushed back in on top of it to keep it secure. For electric guitars, it can be a little different depending on the type of bridge involved. Some electrics require the strings to be threaded through the back of the body and layed over the bridge’s saddles. Others have tremolo systems where the string is locked into the bridge. If it is your first time restringing your electric, the best way to figure this part out is to make note of how the old strings were removed from the bridge – this should tell you exactly what you need to do when you are installing new strings.
Ensure the guitar strings do not get old
Guitar strings have a specific lifespan and after that specified period they will get old and stop functioning as well as before. They might appear clean but once they start to sound a bit duller than they did when they were first installed, you will know that it is time to replace them. They may also reach a point where they will no longer intonate, making it difficult to stay in tune longer or as long as you are used to.
If you have your guitar correctly set and feel this happening, then it is time to make changes because it implies that the strings are worn out and you need to make a replacement. Personally, if you are playing your guitar everyday, I would recommend changing strings every two weeks or so. In order to also make sure that your tuning is stable, you should also make sure that the new strings are of the same gauge as the strings currently installed. This will ensure that the guitar’s setup does not need to be adjusted.
Accurately set up your guitar
When your guitar is not set up correctly, you will also have various other aspects that can impact tuning. For instance, when the frets are uneven or the neck is inaccurately adjusted, there will be intonation problems. How will this happen? When you turn the tuners (we recommend locking ones like these Fender locking tuner recommendations here, the strings can easily hang up at bridge or nut which can lead to the string’s pitch getting stuck and quickly jump unexpectedly.
The easiest way to know if this is a problem is if you hear “pinging” at the guitar nut when you are tuning your guitar up. Another way is if you notice slipping of the strings on the tuning post. Also, ensure that the bridge and the saddle are correctly adjusted. This is where the guitar’s general intonation is situated; therefore, you are paving the way to having a longer tune with the perfect guitar set up. If you find it hard to set up the guitar on your own, find an expert in guitar repair and ask them to help you set up the instrument.
Watch your playing techniques
This is another thing that determines a lot while playing guitar – being aware of the fretting hand technique you use because this shows how long you can stay in tune. Trying not to bend a string while playing it – either when playing single notes or full chords. A lot of beginners suffer from this issue but with some practice, it is easy to correct.
You want to make sure that you are pressing down on the string but not bending it at the same time – which will pull the notes out of tune. Another common issue that can happen with tuning while playing guitar is when you strum too hard. Sure, sometimes, especially in rock and roll, you need to strum hard – just make sure that you are aware that if you do it too hard, it can knock things out of tune.
Every guitar player understands the benefits of staying in tune longer. It takes your attention and carefulness to know what you are required to do in case of anything. From the physical setup of the guitar to the playing skills you have, understanding the various ways to keep your guitar in tune longer will help you correct any issue that prevents you from achieving your playing objectives. Every small detail is crucial in ensuring success; if you do everything and still don’t get better, find a professional or expert to identify the main problem.