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Discussion Starter #1
Being a guitar teacher I notice a lot of my student's lower to mid price electric guitars do not stay in tune very well even if they do not have a whammy and the student is not doing any bends. I notice this in many name brands including the Gibson Epiphones and Fender Squire Strats (particularly bad) although of course their higher priced guitars do not have this problem. There does not seem to be a problem with the tuning of similar priced classical or steel string acoustic guitars. What is causing the strings to go out of tune, why is this confined to electric guitars and are there any lower priced models that do not have this problem?
 

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Perhaps because of the higher cost of the electronics on these guitars as opposed to an acoustic, the companies cut costs by using lower quality tuning machines. I,ve played (and owned) a few low to mid priced Yamaha, Godin and Ibanez electrics with no tuning problems at all.

Tarl
 

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I'd say that it has to do with the neck being narrower and thinner on some cheap instruments, also the wood used was probably not well dried before making the guitar, i would say most of the problems are neck related. On some instruments the remedy could be as simple as tightening the neck bolts and tightening the tuners.
 

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It could be hastily notched saddles or nuts causing strings to bind, since the only major difference between an electric and an acoustic would be the bridges if the same quality of other parts was used for both.

All we can do is wild guess without having the guitars to inspect. You also may be observing a fluke since I have never heard this issue brought up before.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses. I doubt that the cost of the electronics has much to do with it as I have noticed this tendency in electrics costing up to $500 while even $100 acoustics don't seem to have the problem. The cheaper acoustics also have poor tuners with bad gear ratios but once they are in tune seem able to keep it. A poorly constructed or attached neck seems a definite possibility since even cheap acoustics have a much more solid neck construction than electrics. A poorly cut nut also seems possible but why would this be more common on an electric than an acoustic? Could the smaller electric strings be catching more on the nut than the bigger acoustic strings? I don't think this is a fluke because I have noticed it for some time now. That being said I have seen guitars of the same make which had the problem and others that did not. Anyone have other theories?
 

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tuning

It could also be the strings werent properly stretched after they were put on the guitar,or they weren't (spooled on the tuners) properly.
 

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Lester B. Flat said:
It could be hastily notched saddles or nuts causing strings to bind, since the only major difference between an electric and an acoustic would be the bridges if the same quality of other parts was used for both.

All we can do is wild guess without having the guitars to inspect. You also may be observing a fluke since I have never heard this issue brought up before.
I agree with your points and add (having set up copious sums of squires) that most of the wood they use is still practically green. the first thing I do is tighten the machine heads and bring the trem all the way down to the body.
 

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whoa!!! story time!!!


so i haven't played my ibanez in about 2 weeks. and i picked it up yesterday and all the string we're in tune, except the low e, it was a whole tone off, it was a D. It's got locking tuners so I dunno how one string got that off..


oh, and i didn't drop d it, that's just silly...
 

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green wood?

The Squier line of (Green) guitar bodies and necks aren't damp when they are shipped from Indonesia,I know the old Tale "These things don't stay in tune,,it must be the damp wood adjusting to the new digs" (Canada's climate).You sit on a ship for 2 weeks in a cold ,damp cargo hold and see how you adjust to the New Climate!
 

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cheap acoustic VS cheap electric, staying in tune.

Even green wood would dry out or stabilize after awhile. And it wouldn't change, except very slowly over a few hours.
This is a good question.
The neck joint and the tremolo seem to be the variables. Squier Bullets have a non-trem bridge, do they suffer from the same problem?
 

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Tuning

The bridge and whammy bar are cheap knock-offs (floyd-rose copies are the worst!!!). The student level stuff is often sold as is without being tweaked. The intonation and neck is quite often out.

Bogoboy
 

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let me ask you this: have you ever handed your best guitar over to a friend to play, and it comes back way out of whack? It happens to me all the time...guitars get used to their owner every bit as much as you get used to them. It's weird, but I can let my friend (an accomplished player) play any of my gits, and they always seem out of tune when he hands them back to me.

Does this happen to you? I think guitars respond to a certain extent to how they are most often played, and changes result in differences.

My point may be that students new to the guitar may simply not be consistent enough in the way they play to keep the guitar behaving the way it should.

I know it sounds weird, but I've been playing a long time, and I've noticed this a lot.

I'm positive it has a lot to do with the quality of the guitar, but as you get better on it, it performs better for you......am I nuts?
 

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hardcorelogo said:
I'm positive it has a lot to do with the quality of the guitar, but as you get better on it, it performs better for you......am I nuts?

Thats a real good point as well.
The player, because of his inconsistant picking or hammering away at the strings, causes the guitar to be out of tune more often on one or two strings and it becomes very noticeable.
A more experienced player has the whole set of six strings go slightly flat over an extended playing session and while the guitar is not technically in tune the strings are still in tune with one another.

Do any experienced players have a Squire as well as their main Axe, and keep the Squire tuned up with fresh strings and in spite of the similarities have tuning problems with the Squire?

Same house, same humidity, same playing style, same strings, same tuning...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The problems I am writing about have nothing to do with the player. One of the students is one of my more advanced students who primarily plays acoustic but certainly plays well and keeps the electric strung properly. The guitars in question go out of tune whether I am playing them or my students. This does not happen with other students' guitars. There is something wrong with the guitars in question and I am inclined to believe at the moment it has to do with the neck.
 

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MichaelMurray said:
The problems I am writing about have nothing to do with the player. One of the students is one of my more advanced students who primarily plays acoustic but certainly plays well and keeps the electric strung properly. The guitars in question go out of tune whether I am playing them or my students. This does not happen with other students' guitars. There is something wrong with the guitars in question and I am inclined to believe at the moment it has to do with the neck.
maybe a slight tightening of the truss rod could help stabilize the neck. Sometimes there is no tention on the truss rod at all on the cheapo's :D I keep my finger boards extremely flat, so usually there is some good tention on the rod using 10-46 strings. I usualy can go a couple weeks without tuning my guitars once the strings have streched well and are half dead.
 

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I have a bunch of guitars that had tuning problems. My Epiphone Les Paul Custom's tuning problem was solved with a set of Gotoh higher ratio tuners. Stays in tune all the time now. My CIJ '57 strat has stayed in tune since I got it, but that's probably due to the high quality from the start. I also had a squier strat, that would not stay in tune. I tightened the neck bolts and it stayed in tune a little better. I sold the guitar to a friend, but I'm going to put some better machineheads on it for him, and I hope it fixes the problem. It's properly set up and intonated, but sometime with really cheap guitars the cheap hardware can really cause problems.
 

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blame the nuts when guitars go out of tune. my ES-135 does that regularly before i finally fed up and got a bone nut installed...
 
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