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Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:01 pm

zenguitar wrote:... Acoustic instruments in particular are sensitive to large swings in heat and humidity, and air-con and central heating exacerbate those swings...

Thank you, that was the only thing I wanted to convey to people. Good to hear that someone else is on that too. The rest has merit too, of course, but it was just that tiny thing.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby shufflebeat » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:03 pm

zenguitar wrote:It might be worth taking a moment to step back and disentangle a few things that are at risk of being conflated here.

Fair points. I think I'm done here.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:09 pm

shufflebeat wrote:I've been tuning between standard and Drop D for 30 years and don't have this issue. The only rational explanation is that your instruments are haunted.

And I've been doing the same thing for 40 years, and thus, my experience should have more preferential interpretation over yours? Since the amount of time is greater? :crazy:

No, I've been doing this: I DELIBERATELY undercut the drop to more than exactly down to D, a bit flat say by 3-4 cents flat. This is not detected as "out of tune" if I don't play octaves. It can even play well with pianos. Then during the song it will gradually creep up to more than 3-4 cents sharp but never end on "out of tune" as it will become when its 10-15 cent sharp. But of course, I do turn it down way low below C# from under almost down to a C before I turn it up to D again. So just to give merit that always tune DOWN below the target pitch first, and then turn up.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:24 pm

OK, as for giving credit to Zenguitars post, and very valid inclusions of factors that can play role, I'll ask you that owns any acoustic guitar, with a nut, to proceed with the following nit picking tuning test, and it's a bit long winded but so it is (I've posted this some years back before, and some readers turned perplexed and said "wow, never thought of this before!"):

1. Bring out the most accurate tuner you have in your arsenal. Strobe or whatever.
2. With as fresh strings as possible (new ones preferably) tune up so the tuner show 0 cents deviation (none at all) in all readings on all open strings. Make sure they stay there and touch up after a while if they slack.
3. Now: PRESS down the first fret on the G string, as you would be supposed to play a G#. Press like you would play it BUT DON'T PLAY IT!
4. Now, play the OPEN A-string instead, or E-string, take a good look at what your tuner is showing for that open string. Not exaclty right on anymore? :o
5. Do this for all open string. Some, like high E and so on doesn't move at all, so some strings deviate from right on pitch and some not.
6. This is due to the nut, that you induce increased press on the nut, and moves ALL of the nut down a bit due to the wood underneath it, the glue is fleixble in spite of drying up, or that the nut is made of material that is too soft.

This is why they invent methods like Earvana nut, BFTS, True Temperament frets, yada yada yada. To shove down or throats...they do not help.

Especially nylon string guitars suffers from this, no matter how cheap or high-end. If the nut was cut in 6 individual nuts one for each string you would have no problems. But that would be kind of unwieldy, say if a string snapped, and that bit fell out from the slot.

You can do the above test again, with a capo on the first fret, and use the "open" strings then, and come back here. Same phenomenon will not happen. Also, zero fretted guitars does not suffer from this phenomenon.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:07 am

merlyn wrote:... It takes overnight I find for strings to really settle. This is why it is inadvisable to change strings immediately before a gig. :)
See there, I am not alone, and yet people retunes to drop tunings between songs and alternate tunings during a gig. I agree completely, and this my experience too.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby blinddrew » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:15 am

I tried your experiment above Honch and i'm afraid I can't corroborate it. Maybe my tuner isn't accurate enough or maybe it's just that guitar (but it's the only one with newish strings), but i got no measurable or audible deviation in the non-fretted note.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:56 am

blinddrew wrote:I tried your experiment above Honch and i'm afraid I can't corroborate it. Maybe my tuner isn't accurate enough or maybe it's just that guitar (but it's the only one with newish strings), but i got no measurable or audible deviation in the non-fretted note.

On electric guitars, or acoustics? Do you own any nylon string acoustics? Or - arhem - any Gibson SG ? ;)

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 2&start=15

reply from another user to that one:

"OK, I tried on all my guitars. But I didn't use a tuner, I used my ears with my ear on the body. None of my guitars had a change to the open A string save two:

1) guitar which is a 1970s American Strat with a hard tail. This instrument has heavy strings and high action so you push pretty hard on that G#. I can hear the A string go slightly flat. Cool! Never thought of that.

2) Altimira Gypsy Jazz M01F with Bigtone bridge/piezo pickup. This also has high tension heavy strings, I can make the open A go flat by pressing hard on the G# of the G string.

None of my other guitars had any pitch change that I could discern though doing the same thing.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:06 pm

From the same poster, at that topic thread, later on, which is relevant to this topic, so, this OP are not alone on this one, and I still stand by my stance that "acoustic instruments in particular.." as Zenguitar put it:

"The acoustics give me the most grief, but they also have the least amount of intonation adjustments. The Altamira seems to change its intonation with the weather. So I am always adapting a bit consciously when I play it. "
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:19 pm

blinddrew wrote:I tried your experiment above Honch and i'm afraid I can't corroborate it. Maybe my tuner isn't accurate enough or maybe it's just that guitar (but it's the only one with newish strings), but i got no measurable or audible deviation in the non-fretted note.
I mean, I do believe you, it's not that.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby blinddrew » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:51 pm

I just tried it on one of my acoustics as it's the only one with remotely new strings. If I have a mo later I'll try a couple of other guitars - I'll try an electric, a nylon and a hollow-body electric.
I don't own an SG! :) Horrible looking guitars in my opinion. ;)
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:47 pm

Honch wrote:
merlyn wrote:... It takes overnight I find for strings to really settle. This is why it is inadvisable to change strings immediately before a gig. :)
See there, I am not alone, and yet people retunes to drop tunings between songs and alternate tunings during a gig. I agree completely, and this my experience too.

Yeah it's a very bad idea to put new strings just before a gig or recording. If one need different tunings, the best is to bring different guitars. I don't even like the sound of new strings on most steel strings acoustic guitars! :)
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:47 pm

blinddrew wrote:I don't own an SG! :) Horrible looking guitars in my opinion. ;)

Blasphemy! :bouncy:
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby blinddrew » Sun Aug 30, 2020 5:02 pm

blinddrew wrote:I just tried it on one of my acoustics as it's the only one with remotely new strings. If I have a mo later I'll try a couple of other guitars - I'll try an electric, a nylon and a hollow-body electric.
I don't own an SG! :) Horrible looking guitars in my opinion. ;)
Well that was a nice excuse to fish out some lesser used guitars (other than breaking a string on the nylon - that might be a first for me) but I'm afraid I can't replicate your experiment on any of them - even playing an E7 doesn't show any deviation with the D string for example. But I don't have a stroboscopic tuner to play with.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Dynamic Mike » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:53 am

blinddrew wrote:
blinddrew wrote:I just tried it on one of my acoustics as it's the only one with remotely new strings. If I have a mo later I'll try a couple of other guitars - I'll try an electric, a nylon and a hollow-body electric.
I don't own an SG! :) Horrible looking guitars in my opinion. ;)
Well that was a nice excuse to fish out some lesser used guitars (other than breaking a string on the nylon - that might be a first for me) but I'm afraid I can't replicate your experiment on any of them - even playing an E7 doesn't show any deviation with the D string for example. But I don't have a stroboscopic tuner to play with.
I'm not allowed an SG in the house because my wife says they remind her of beetles.

Regarding the tuning issues, if you need a stroboscopic tuner to determine whether you have a problem, you don't have a problem. At least not with the guitar anyway.
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Re: Acoustic guitars constantly going out of tune

Postby Honch » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:20 am

OK, nuff of the SG bickering. While I have noobjections to the looks of SG, it's the one guitar with hardtail that "keeps in tune" just as bad (or good) as a floating tremolo guitar. I have had always problems with this "first fret" experiments. Ok, if that doesn't work, how is the open A string on your acoustic when:

Pressing down a regular full open A major chord with three fingers pressed down on the 2nd fret on D,G,B strings? read the open a string ?

Ok, let's keep it to all acoustic for now, but 9 out of 10 SGs (Gibson) has this phenomenon due to it's to feeble/faint/thin build all around. If it was like 1 mm thicker all around, some problems would've been mitigiated in the intonation department. And keeping in tune department.
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