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My guitar won't stay in tune.

I tune each string perfectly with my electronic tuner - but as soon as I start to play they're all out of tune again. Grrrr!!!!

We really can't be specific without seeing the guitar.

This can be caused by a number of factors, but it sounds like it all would indicate that your guitar is in need of a good "set up". That's when we go over your entire guitar and check, adjust, repair and calibrate each component. Guitars, like cars or any mechanical thing, can get out of whack now and then. If you have a tremolo guitar this is especially true. Perhaps it may need some repairs to the machine heads, nut, neck or bridge, too.

Keeping a guitar in tune should be easy so long as three factors are working for you.

1) That the nut is cut properly with no "pinching" of the strings.

2) The intonation is set reasonably close or the guitar won't get in tune to start with.

3) The strings should be wound on properly with only about 3 wraps around each post, with the windings concentric - not overlapping, and well stretched in so they aren't stretching while you're playing it.

The last item is probably the most important for staying in tune. String pinch in the nut can be checked simply by detuning the string a bit and lifting each string out of the nut. If it "pops" out, that's no good. It should have free play in the nut slot. Intonation is very important and generally needs to be set by an experienced person. This is true for all guitars.

It is also important to have good quality tuning machines. We often see guitars with old, sloppy or loose tuners that are responsible for tuning problems. Repair may be possible and sometimes they can even be re-built but often replacement with new, tight machines is the best cure. The better tuners have the adjustment screw in the top of the key and a sealed, permanently lubricated cast housing. Locking units such as Sperzel are great for guaranteed performance.