#1
Hello everyone,

I have recently purchased an HSS MIM Stratocaster, and ever since I started playing it, I've noticed that it becomes out of tune VERY quickly. I will tune it up, then play a few chords, and then I will check with a guitar tuner to see if the strings are in tune, and I will find that they aren't! How can I fix this? Thanks!

#3
How old are the strings? I'd start by giving it a new set of strings and a setup while you're at it.
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#4
Also do a quick search. It seems that a lot of people are struggling to keep there guitars in tune at the moment
#5
deck the trem, stretch the strings, and make sure that they are wrapped around the post at least twice.

read the stickey on the top of the forum regarding setups. that should help as well.
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#6
stretch the strings, and of course if they are new they won't stay in tune. give it a week.
maybe get it set up, not an expert on that so i can't really tell you if it's gonna help much but there's that.
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#7
First, as stated before, make sure you have plenty of wraps around the post. Second, are you resting your hand on the bridge? Third, are you tuning in the playing position? Last, is this your first tremolo guitar? Trems can wreak havoc when tuning. The springs on the trem counter the strings' tension. When you add tension to a string, it removes tension from others, causing them to go flat. Whichever string you tune first will be most affected, because it will lose the most tension. When I tune a trem guitar, I tune and retune and retune and retune and retune...until zero tuning adjustments are needed.

I have a couple of guitars, but I'm a bassist first. I HATE changing strings on my trem guitar because of the trem springs.
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#8
are the strings going out of tune sharp or flat?
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#9
Since its a Strat, tighten the neck screws.
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#10
it's the truss rod. you need a new one. at the end of the day you will see that it's always the truss rod -every time.
#11
Just a comment on "plenty of wraps" - this can also lead to instability as the wraps gradually tighten. I only aim to wind about 1 1/4"of string around the post, and yank it hard to seat it once up to tune, then tune again. A small number of wraps, with a good crimp at the end of the string to hook firmly into the tuner post hole, works well. Crimping the string before cutting is also a good idea, as it prevents any possibility of the the winding unravelling.
#12
Are you using the whammy as this will cause a MIM Strat to lose tuning. It could be this or new strings need stretching or the trem is lifting even after putting on new strings of the same gauge - it seems to happen a lot and you will find others have had the same prob if you search this forum. Indeed my MIM Strat SSS configuration had the trem lifting problem and the only way I could cure it was to buy extra springs to stop the trem moving. My Strat is now rock solid and it generally hardly ever needs tuning from week to week it is that good.
#13
Quote by Tony Done
Just a comment on "plenty of wraps" - this can also lead to instability as the wraps gradually tighten. I only aim to wind about 1 1/4"of string around the post, and yank it hard to seat it once up to tune, then tune again. A small number of wraps, with a good crimp at the end of the string to hook firmly into the tuner post hole, works well. Crimping the string before cutting is also a good idea, as it prevents any possibility of the the winding unravelling.

+1

1 or 2 wraps on the bass strings and maybe 3 or 4 on the unwound strings is enough to keep them in place; any more than that will cause tuning problems.

The bridge is probably the first thing to adjust. Vintage-style synchronised trems aren't great in a floating setup, so decking it is a good call.

I'd say about 60% of the time chronic tuning issues are the fault of the nut and/or string trees. The nut can have the slots enlarged (if necessary) to allow for free movement of the strings (or be replaced with something like Tusq), while string trees can be replaced for a couple quid/bucks with something like a Dynaguide. Lots of options out there.
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#14
I very much agree with not too many wraps. I did that for years, then found instructions somewhere for stringing a guitar, it said to cut the strings about 1½" past the tuner post, leave a "tag end" about ½" sticking out the tuner peg, and you should end up with about 2 wraps.

That works quite well, I've been doing it for 20 years, and I can pick up my strat right now and it's probably still in tune from a gig last weekend.

What I usually end up with looks about like this

IMGP68640 by Paleo Pete, on Flickr

That's about the most wraps I ever have and I rarely have tuning problems, only when the room temperature changes. A 2° change in temp can throw the guitar out of tune. I've played in bars where I had an A/C vent directly above me and it sucks, every time the thing comes on I'm out of tune in under a minute.

I also put my first wrap above the tag end, and the rest below it, letting it help pinch the string in place, it holds very well. Make sure you get a good angle against the tuner post on the first wrap, you don't want a curve there that can slip as you play and retune.

With a floating tremolo, the guitar should still stay in tune unless you hit the whammy bar, then the strings bind in the nut slots and don't come back to the same spot, leaving them sharp. Some graphite from a #2 pencil can help, widening the nut slots can help, but the only thing that will cure it entirely is a locking nut. Jeff Beck uses those.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Feb 21, 2016,