Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?

Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often? Do you have a guitar or ukulele that never seems to keep itself in tune? Usually the problem can be pretty simple to solve if you know what to look for. Most problems with tuning are due to one of these four factors:
Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?

Properly installed guitar strings have only two or three winds around the tuning pegs, and DO NOT overlap.

New Strings
New strings stretch, and take time before they can hold a tuning. You can expect steel strings to need playing for about an hour or so before they’ll finally settle in. Unfortunately nylon strings (common on almost all ukuleles and classical style guitars) can take several days or even a week or so before they can consistently hold tuning. You can expedite this by stretching your new strings; click here for a tool that may work well for you.


Old Strings
Over time, strings tend to loose their capability of holding tension. You should change your strings at least every few months. A telltale sign that you need to change your strings, outside of the fact that they go out of tune, is that the instrument starts to sound dull (this is especially true with steel stringed instruments, in which the strings will also look dirty over time). You can use a string cleaner to keep your strings clean and your instrument’s tone bright.


Improper Installation
Guitar and ukulele strings should not overlap themselves at the tuning peg. This overlap can cause the instrument to loose tuning as it’s being played. The image below shows properly installed strings. Strings require only two or three winds around the tuning peg, and should never overlap. To accomplish this, follow these steps when changing strings:
  • Put the new string through the hole in the peg and pull so that the string is taut
  • Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?

    Sometimes a tuning peg will cause tuning problems if this screw loosens up.

    Back it off about an inch and a half, and bend it up at the hold

  • Wind the string. It should then wind about 2 to three winds before reaching tune.
Loose Tuning Pegs

Occasionally a guitar or ukulele tuning peg will loosen, causing it to turn and de-tune on it’s own. When this happens, the string will quickly loose tuning. Often with this issue, all that’s needed is to tighten the peg (the screw is on the back of the neck). If this doesn’t work, then the internals of the tuning peg may be an issue, and a replacement is needed (fortunately, replacement tuning pegs are reasonably priced.


So, the next time that you ask yourself “Why does my guitar or ukulele go out of tune so often?”, check these relatively simple things, and more often than not you can fix the problem yourself!
NHTunes is proud to offer real-time online guitar and ukulele lessons for adults of all skill levels, whether a complete beginner, or a skilled musician who is looking to learn! We strive to make the online lesson experience as fun and productive as in-person lessons, minus the drive time! Our instructors have years of experience teaching students of all ages and skill levels how to play the guitar & the ukulele. Learn without leaving your home! And getting started is easy:
1) Schedule a single lesson below (our half hour lessons are just $29.50).
2) You will be contacted by a studio representative with a link for your lesson.  
3) After your first lesson, if you find the the lessons and your instructor to be a great fit and would like to continue with your online guitar and ukulele lessons, you can schedule your next lesson with your instructor.
Get started TODAY with your guitar or ukulele lessons with the professionals at NHTunes Music Studio!

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