Troubleshooting guitar problems

This article is inspired by a recent problem I had with my guitar, and the steps I had to take to fix the problem. It will be continually updated.

Guitar won’t stay in tune
The main reason a guitar will not stay in tune is because you need to allow the strings to “break in” and get used to being stretched out. You may need to tune your guitar well over 10 times before the strings are used to being stretched and stay put in the correct tuning. Another reason is because a guitar will have cheap tuners (the device on the head). Bad tuners will not be stable and may allow strings to unwind.

How to fix:
First tune your guitar 10-20 times to see if it will finally stay in tune. If not then you may need to tighten the screws on the tuners to make sure nothing is loose. If this doesn’t fix the problem then you may need to switch tuners. Take the guitar to a repair shop and have them switch to more sturdy tuners.

Guitar tuning peg doesn’t work properly
If you turn the tuning pegs on the guitar and either nothing happens or a string becomes loose instead of winding tighter then you may have a problem with your tuners. There is a screw with wedges (tuning key bushing) that turns as you twist the tuners on the head of the guitar. Over time these screws may wear out and become unable to turn as you twist the tuners.

How to fix:
You will either need to replace the worn out screw or replace the entire tuning device. When I had this problem and inquired about how to fix it I was told I couldn’t buy the screw itself and instead had to buy a whole new tuning machine device and replace the whole thing! Obviously this doesn’t sound like the best thing to do considering it is just one screw that I needed to replace, so I found a replacement screw and switched it. To do this I loosened the string where the bad tuner was. There is a small screw in the middle of the worn out screw that keeps it from falling off. Remove this screw and save it. With pliers I pulled out the worn out screw (which was pretty tricky to do) and when putting the new one I turned the tuner as I pressed down on the new screw until it snapped into place. I put the little screw back in the middle where it belongs. This was very tricky to do, so it is up to you to decide what you will do. Finding a replacement screw may be hard, so what you can do is purchase a new inexpensive tuning device but just take out one of the screws and replace it with the one thats worn out. Keep the rest in case you have the same problem with another screw. If you do this try to compare to see if the screws match the ones on your guitar.

String pops out
It is common for strings to pop out of their binding areas either while restringing, tuning, or at any other random time. Note this is not the same as a string breaking, but instead it will simply pop out intact.

How to fix:
Strings will pop out of position from either the tuning pegs or the bridge. You must knot the ends correctly or else this will be a recurring problem. On the tuning peg end you may want to put the string twice through the hole. Another option would be to twirl the end of the string around itself. On the bridge end twirl the end of the string around itself tightly and as you turn the tuning peg see that the wrapping doesn’t undo itself. Once the string is tight the wrapping will stay in place.

Leave a Reply