With self-isolation and social distancing, there’s been many a guitar retrieved from many a cupboard over the past few weeks. Some are former pride and joys, others are almost-untouched presents of Christmases past, but most of them are likely in need of a re-string.
Many of you won’t have restrung a guitar for a long time, or ever, and you may well be having problems getting your guitar to stay in tune, so we’ve put together some tips that may save you a lot of frustration.
We do a lot of servicing & "restrings" at Concept Music (& I mean a LOT!) & almost every day someone comes in with their guitar telling us "it keeps going out of tune!” and asking us if can perhaps change the machine heads "because they are slipping & need replacing". In fact this is never the case. In 40 years I've never seen a slipping machine head cause a tuning problem! A tuner may break or strip or fail completely from time to time but that's different - if they're broken or worn you won't even be able to get the string up to pitch in the first place, but if you can get it up to pitch then it's not slipping. Trust me.
While there are a number of things that can cause a guitar to go out of tune, by far the most common reason is that it has been restrung with far too many windings of the string around the post. If your guitar looks like the picture above then your guitar will NEVER stay in tune - you need to take them off & redo them. NOW! Strung like that and your tuning will never be stable as the string cannot be properly bedded in & stretched. And don't be confused or fooled by how long a new string is when you take it out of the packet... it is not necessary to try and use it all. Quite the contrary!
What you are aiming for is something like the image below... where the wound strings go around the post 2 or 3 times at the most & the plain strings 3 or 4 (yes, that’s all!). Make sure they do not bunch up or cross over each other & make sure the windings go down the post as this will also help keep some downwards pressure on the string in the nut slot. If you do this & give your new strings a bit of a 'stretch' you'll never have a problem with the pitch continually going flat again.
Still not sure? We’ve put together a video to show you the process from start to finish. If you follow this, and are still having problems, then when all of this madness is over you might want to bring her in for a service and re-string.
For now though, watch the vid for how we suggest you re-string your steel string acoustic guitar.