Author Topic: String change - guitar out of tune  (Read 438 times)

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Offline Loefgren

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String change - guitar out of tune
« on: May 29, 2020, 09:07:39 am »
Hello, I put on a new sets of GHS Vintage Bronze on my acoustic a few days ago. After the change the guitar has pretty bad intonation. Especially on the A string, but all strings seems to be a problem.

I never had a problem before when changing strings. The intonation of the guitar is usually pretty good.

The new strings has a slight gauge difference compared to the 11's I used earler. These have 11-50, I have always used 11-52 earlier.

Very annoying, everything I play sounds awful. Its like I made a mistake and put on the bridge upside down or put on the strings in wrong order, but I have checked and it looks good… The strings are going off very soon, and I will put on D'addarios or Ernies instead.

Could that small gauge difference really be a problem? The difference is so small it really shouldn't be a problem? Any idea what the problem is?
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Offline Loefgren

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Re: String change - guitar out of tune
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2020, 09:16:52 am »
I tune the guitar and strings in open position sounds good, but if I fret a C chord the C note on the A string is pretty bad out of tune (sharp).
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Offline Rossco01

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Re: String change - guitar out of tune
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 09:25:54 am »
I usually check intonation by fretting the strings at the twelfth fret Johan. So check open string and then fret at the 12th and check again. Have to admit I've never noticed this when moving between different gauges of string.
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Offline stitch101

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Re: String change - guitar out of tune
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 03:39:28 pm »
I tune the guitar and strings in open position sounds good, but if I fret a C chord the C note on the A string is pretty bad out of tune (sharp).

You could be pressing to hard and maki g the string sharp.
It's a small gauge change but could be enough to need a lighter touch.

Offline CT

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Re: String change - guitar out of tune
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2020, 05:03:27 pm »
I would need to see the bridge, nut, and string winds on the tuners. It would also be a good idea to hear the open notes and notes at the 12th fret. Then hear you playing. It's possible that the strings aren't playing well with your nut slots, some nut lube might help. I put a little dash from a pencil in the nut when I change strings.

If it were me, I would do what a tech would probably do. That would be to start over and check the setup all together and replace with a tried and true brand of strings. At this point, I wouldn't rule out that you got a factory reject set of strings.

Offline RexDX

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Re: String change - guitar out of tune
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2020, 05:07:40 pm »
Edit: I'm an idiot- just saw you mentioned it's an acoustic in the first line. Oops!
Acoustics can be very fiddly to get good intonation on compared to electrics. Definitely make sure the nut is lubed and check your bridge orientation again just in case. How long has the guitar had strings on it under tension? It could have been that removing all the strings put the neck out of alignment in which case a small adjustment to the action might fix things. How badly is the intonation off at the 12th fret? Like a whole half-step? I have a classical acoustic where the bridge does indeed fit upside down - a mistake a made repeatedly back in my drinking days. Double check everything and let us know what kind of guitar/bridge you're dealing with!

I'll leave my original post below on the off chance it helps someone but you can disregard.

All best.

......

It would be helpful to know what kind of guitar you're using.

I'm assuming it's an electric. To check the intonation tune the open strings to pitch then fret them at the 12th fret and see how off your tuning is. Then it's just a matter of adjusting the bridge saddles with a screwdriver. This is significantly easier with the strings on on a Fender-type guitar but also possible just more fiddly with Gibson-types. Your bridge height may also have gotten out of whack in which case the Gibson is easier to adjust as all you need to do is turn the screws on the bridge posts. If a fender-type, you may need to adjust the springs on the floating bridge/tremolo.

My money is on your saddles getting moved when you put the new strings on. In a perfect world you'd have a picture of the guitar before you put the strings on and could compare the saddles positioning before and after. The bridge moving is unlikely on a Gibson but if you do indeed have a Fender-type, the change in string tension from the new gauges (no matter how small) may be enough to tug or loosen the floating bridge and throw your intonation off.

Fear not though. These are all easy fixes and I'd be happy to walk you through it if you give some more info on the kind of guitar. Just remember: string gauges (rather, string TENSION) matters a lot. Whenever I switch gauges I do a full setup afterwards. It's not as minor a change as many people thing especially going from say, 9s to 11s. In your case it's a minor change but seems to have been enough to shake things up.

Let us know! Cheers.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2020, 05:23:56 pm by RexDX »

Offline Loefgren

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Re: String change - guitar out of tune
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2020, 07:20:49 am »
Thanks Rossco, stitch, CT and RexDX! The GHS strings are still on. After some playing time I think they sound better, maybe they needed to be stretched out and played for a while. The intonation is ok, but my feeling is they go out of tune very quickly though, compared to D'addarios and Ernies which I usually use. I need to re-tune very often.

I think stitch may be right in his comment, these strings require a softer touch and I have a tendency to bend them out of tune, especially on bar chords.  I will probably keep the strings on for a couple of weeks more, but overall I don't like them, no more GHS strings for me.
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Offline Loefgren

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Re: String change - guitar out of tune
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2020, 07:48:44 am »
The GHS strings were replaced yesterday, I put on D'addario Phosphor Bronze instead. Big difference they sound and feel so much better. The sound is much fuller and more balanced. Stays in tune much better. Felt like the tension was much less on the GHS string. They were easy to fret, but the overall feeling was just bad. Maybe its just a matter of preference, but for sure I prefer the D'addarios.
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