Is “tune once and done” a myth?

Guithartic

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2021
1,910
Jacksonville, FL
I see on various forums people mention tuning their guitar and it staying in tune for weeks or month. Comments like, “I just tune it once and never have to tune it again until I change the strings.” I’m thinking these people don’t have a Snark or tuner pedal to check, and they just think the guitar is in tune. I have several Fender American Strats and Teles, and a Gibson Les Paul Standard ’50s. I find that after every 4 or 5 songs, even if the guitar sounds ok, I’ll check the tuning with a Snark, and at least 1 usually 2 strings will need a slight adjustment. Is this tune-once-and-done a myth?
 

kdines

Strat-Talker
Dec 12, 2019
117
San Diego
Changes in temperature are guaranteed to shift the tuning. I always give it a quick check before playing each evening - part of the ritual.
 

SeventySevenStrat

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 30, 2021
90
England
Depends on how long you think "tune-once-and-done" applies for, and how accurately you need to be in tune.

If you're hoping for less than a tenth of a cent out after 10 years it's never going to happen, but with a Floyd Rose and a well set up guitar you can stay reasonably in tune for days. I've had Floyded guitars sat in cases for years that haven't been too far out.
 

RadioFM74

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 5, 2016
1,750
Italy and Switzerland
Hey! Yes, taken literally it's a myth. Some guitars tend to hold tuning better than others (teles vs strats being a case in point) but
a) it's a generalization … a guitar holds tune well if tuners are good, bridge too, strings are good, nut is well cut and lubricated… you can't just say "teles hold their tuning"
b) even guitars that hold generally tuning well still needs getting tuned. That's why even teles have tuning gears ;D
 

dirocyn

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 20, 2018
7,007
Murfreesboro, TN
Even pianos don't stay in tune forever. Temperature shift, humidity, and moving the instrument can throw it out of tune. Mom's piano gets tuned twice a year.

All guitars need the tuning checked when you start playing. Every time. It the nut and saddles are ok and the temp is stable and the guitar is structurally sound and the strings are broken in, it will stay in tune for hours. If a guitar goes out of tune during a single song, IMO that's a problem. Usually the nut.

I have a p-bass that was in tune with a tuner, when it had been in a case for a year. When I start playing it, I still check. Sometimes it needs a little adjustment.

I played acoustic yesterday, hadn't touched it in probably 4 days. Both plain strings were a couple cents flat, and the wound strings were dead on. I was surprised it was that close, I have been opening the windows.
 

Odysseus

Strat-O-Master
Dec 16, 2012
688
Lisbon, Portugal
It's about as real as the Loch Ness Monster. Presumably it could happen in an environment that was fully temperature- and humidity-controlled, with all atmospheric variabilities removed. (I'm sure Michael Jackson could have kept his in tune in his bubble) But in the real world where these things are in constant flux, the materials will expand and contract. Wood will expand and contract at a different rate to the strings, wound strings expand and contract at different rates to unwound strings, etc. etc.
 

Jason D

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 30, 2016
2,746
Fulton MO
I love it when sellers list a guitar and one of the big features they list is that it has been tuned. Stupid.
 


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