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Thread: Guitar tuning going down on stage... why?

  1. #16

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    Now composite material guitars like Parkers handle temperature/humidity much better. Then again me thinks they sound sterile compared with a wood with specific characteristics.

  2. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ksandvik View Post
    Now composite material guitars like Parkers handle temperature/humidity much better. Then again me thinks they sound sterile compared with a wood with specific characteristics.
    I never was a fan, but they went out of business, sadly.

  3. #18

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    From my experience anyway temperature is the biggest factor, humidity secondary. If you go to a colder room, the guitar wood contracts so the tuning goes flat (strings get looser as the neck gets shorter). If you go into a hotter environment the strings go sharp because the wood expands and puts more tension on the strings. So, I'd guess your house is warmer than the places you play if your tuning is flatter at the gigs. This is all normal.

    I used to have band practice in a room with a space heater in the dead of winter and the room temperature would go up and down. The room temp would constantly fluctuate between cold and hot as the space heater kicked on and then off. I would notice the tuning on the guitar going out before I would physically sense the temperature change. Guitars are essentially large thermometers.

    And yes, handling the guitar can warm it up which will cause it go sharper if the room is colder.

  4. #19

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    I'm chiming in late (and have very few posts here) but this is my 2c:

    You should never expect to travel with your guitar to anywhere and expect it to be playably in tune when you get it out of the case. I've owned 60 different guitars of all different levels, price points, construction methods, etc. and gigged the entire time and I can't think of a single instance where I took out my guitar (which was placed in the case in-tune) at a gig and checked the tuning to find it was good to go. That's never happened.

    So many factors involved - different temperatures, humidity levels, sometimes altitude, sometimes a bumpy drive - that contribute to this. You just come to accept the inevitability.

    Tuning up is just part of the stage setup process, along with warming up your amp and plugging in your pedalboard. It's the same for everyone.
    Devils of Belgrade:

  5. #20

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    Maybe that'll be the next iteration in guitar technology ... heated/cooled strings

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sosomething View Post
    Tuning up is just part of the stage setup process,
    That's why I'm extremely curious to find out what pro techs like Maddi (John Petrucci tech) does. If a Dream Theater concert starts with a 20 min song, and playing along with a keyboard (which is always in pitch), John certainly won't stop the song to tune the guitar...

    So what's the trick? Leave the guitar in a warm pillow for 30 mins before the concert?

  7. #22

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    Concerning most bands with guitar techs, I've seen them place the guitars on stage to compensate for the temperature/humidity, not taking them in from some other location and keeping them in hard cases just before use. It helps to have brand new strings in place that are stretched out and so on, lubrication on the nut and so forth. Even so, I've been in concerts where the newly grabbed guitar goes out of tune in two minutes. That's life and nothing to worry about.

  8. #23

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    Agreed. It's all because of the climate in the room (which can change while you are a on stage). There no perfect way to deal with this, but here's what I do. I bring my gear in, tune it, and let it get climatized to the room for at least 30-60 minutes before the show. Then I tune again before I take the stage. It's not always perfect, but it generally works.

    If you have safe place to put your gear before the show, it works better if you leave it out of the case for a while. The case will insulate it from the conditions, so it won't get climatized as well or as fast.
    My Gear:
    JP BFR
    Luke 2 Black
    Majesty Tiger Eye


    "You don't just sit on the couch and miraculously get better. Learning guitar takes hours of practice. You have to put in the time." - John Petrucci

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