Tuning and Maintenance

Tuning your guitar

Guitars, like any string instruments can go really out of tune. They can easily be so out of tune that the wrong notes come out when you play. This really doesn't help. It is important to keep your guitar in tune by tuning it every time you start to play.

I would suggest using an electric tuner. Advanced musicians turn their noses up at these devices but I think they are invaluable, particularly for young students who can not confidently hear if they are in tune. Some tuners work by hearing the note you play and assuming that you wish to be tuned to the nearest correct note. This is fine if the guitar is only a little out of tune, but it may tune you to the wrong note if you are a long way out of tune. You will find that these tuners tell you what note they are tuning to so you can check to see if it has got it right!

Alternatively, buy a 'guitar tuner' rather than a standard electric tuner. These lets you choose which string you are tuning. Just remember to tell the tuner the correct string.

You will find that you have fewer tuning problems if you tune every time you play and make sure no one fiddles with the machine heads (tuning pegs).

Changing Guitar Strings

Guitarists have a wide range of views as to how often strings should be changed. Some guitarists will change their bass strings every week. Other guitarists leave their strings on until they snap! New strings certainly sound better; they sound clear and bright, and they are more in tune when you move higher up the neck.

You can make your strings last longer by only playing with dry, clean hands. I would reconmend watching the following clip if you wish to learn how to change your own strings.

Guitar Maintenance

Guitars need very little looking after. Student guitars are particularly tough. However, her are some tips:

  • Keep your guitar safe, somewhere where it will not be knocked over or stepped on.
  • Do not leave your guitar in sunlight, near radiators or anywhere uncomfortably cold.
  • Do not get your guitar wet.
  • Do not (significantly) over tighten the machine heads.
  • Do not keep your footstall in the case with the guitar!