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Thread: Guitar question. Help!

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    Default Guitar question. Help!

    I recently started learning guitar. I have been playing on my roommate's, but my parents had a little guitar at home (in addition to the one my father actually plays) that they recently shipped to me. It arrived today. The strings had been loosened for shipping and I just tuned it, but - here is the problem! - it won't hold a tuning. I strum a few chords and it is hopelessly flat again. Why is this happening? My mother said earlier that since it hasn't been played it a long time, it might need to be re-strung. Is that the issue? Does the problem I'm having have to do with the trauma of shipping? Will it go away on its own? I am pretty clueless when it comes to guitars and their idiosyncrasies and would be most grateful for any advice. Oh, and the problem isn't old age. This is a very new guitar and has hardly been played at all... maybe that's the problem?

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    Restring, it could be the strings slipping on the tuning screws. If that doesnt help then there are other things to explore.
    Its very easy to restring a guitar, but if you've never done it before, dont just start loosening strings or you might damage the neck.
    "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody." - Rousseau

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    I would take it in to a music store that deals in guitars, they'll be able to pinpoint the problem quickly. Changing the strings is probably a good idea but make sure you are using the right kind of strings for the guitar you own.

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    It has actually calmed down a bit now. I re-tuned it a couple times and it has stayed tuned a little longer each time. I think I will still change the strings because the tone is funny and I think it's because the strings are stiff, but I will get help from my roommate, since I've never done it before.

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    ^ When strings are brand new they tend to go out of tune constantly. It sounds like that might be the problem. This is why when I put new strings on a guitar I purposely pull, and stretch the strings a lot after tuning them (which will then throw them back out of tune) and then re-tune all of them. This seems to help tremendously.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdc View Post
    ^ When strings are brand new they tend to go out of tune constantly. It sounds like that might be the problem. This is why when I put new strings on a guitar I purposely pull, and stretch the strings a lot after tuning them (which will then throw them back out of tune) and then re-tune all of them. This seems to help tremendously.
    When my guitarist friend put on new strings, he didn't tune to a pitch-pipe. He tightened the G string enough to be playable, and tuned the other strings to it. After awhile playing alone he re-tuned higher; and then higher. Said it let him practice without constant re-tuning. All I know is I much preferred to hear him play rather than listen to him re-tune.
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    Yeah, change your strings. Is it a classical guitar (nylon strings ?)

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    It is a steel string acoustic.

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    Senior Member Lunasong's Avatar
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    I agree with tdc, take the guitar with you to the music store and they will be happy to help you select appropriate strings.
    There are on-line resources how to change the strings on the guitar once you get to that point. You won't have to ask your roommate for help (maybe just ask to borrow his tools if you don't have any).
    "To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse." Jack Daney

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    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meaghan View Post
    It has actually calmed down a bit now. I re-tuned it a couple times and it has stayed tuned a little longer each time. I think I will still change the strings because the tone is funny and I think it's because the strings are stiff, but I will get help from my roommate, since I've never done it before.
    This makes it sound like the strings just need to be stretched

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    Senior Member Meaghan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cnote11 View Post
    This makes it sound like the strings just need to be stretched
    Is that the thing to do if the strings have been sitting on an unplayed guitar for a very long time? Can I salvage these ones by stretching them, and get them to sound okay?

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    If you take it to a store just like that, the only thing they'll be happy to take is your money. I don't know why the strings would have been loosened for shipping because I've ordered at least four steel strings over the mail and they usually make it tuned or close to it. Anyway,...the strings not wanting to stay in tune is probably because your dad hooked you up with new strings and like mentioned above, new strings will de-tune quite a bit until they are settled in. I stretch each string once it is on and do a series of heavy strumming that loosens everyone up. I ask you to please pm me when you're ready to change up next so I can show you a good way. If you can, use at least .12 - .53 strings because the tone is perfect for steel string acoustic; if that is too much, don't use less than .11's.

    The fact that it started to stay in tune after more playing is good. That means you don't have loose or worn tuning machines. Remember, sometimes you might be in perfect tune upon restringing and then suddenly,...*phlank*...it loosens quickly and is completely off again. That just means that your end ball got stuck on the end pin and suddenly let go. There's a minor trick you employ to completely avoid this. Like I said, please pm me next time and I'll show you step by mini step how to string your ax.

    Great to see you're up and running!

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    What kv said.

    Play these strings until one of them breaks. After a couple days of playing and tuning, they should be fine.

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    I'd recommend what cnote11 said... it sounds like they just need to get used to being tightened up again after being slack. I always get this problem with a new electric string, what i'd do is tune it down slightly, then gently tug on the string outward from the neck.. then wind the string up a little bit, then do it again, wind it up a bit more, do it again and so on. This also helps make the string a bit more flexible for bending notes & plucking without it being too much of a problem on the tension of the string.

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    Senior Member Cnote11's Avatar
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    I wonder if she ever came to a conclusion on this issue.

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