#1
i tried a tuner that is digital, and one that has a needle, both were new with new batteries. i was tuning each string open with a guitar pick, one at a time. and it would keep going back and forth saying it was in tune, to being a little too flat to being a little too sharp. it keep doing this when i wasn't turning the tuning peg, like it was possessed or something. 
what could be the problem?
or better yet, how can i get a tuner to work? 
thanks
begginer geetarest.
#2
Because the string tension is not constant, so the tuner is just picking up the minor variances in string tension. If you tune using 12th fret harmonics you will get more stable results from your tuner needle.
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#3
Bigbazz that makes sense. but i figure it would go down in tune and show on the tuner, not go up and down and back up without touching the tuning peg on it's own. unless the string is really doing that. seems like the pitch can't go up unless i make it by tuning it up higher. 
i'll try the 12th fret thing though. thanks. 
begginer geetarest.
#4
Another interesting bit is when you first hit a string, the string will bend against your pick/finger, before the tension there is high enough that it bends the pick back and slides off so that the string can resonate. That applied energy will cause the initial sound of the note to be slightly sharp, and the string will technically still be "bending" to a degree as the kinetic energy in the string moves it in waves.
#5
Tuning, and maintaining tuning is really a black art...

Tuning one string (changing the tension in one string) makes the tuning of the other strings change a little bit.
You can speed up reaching a balanced tuning by not tuning strings in order across the neck, but rather by doing opposed pairs of strings... tune the low and high E strings, then the A and B strings, then the D and G strings. Doing them in order across the neck means you will have to re-tune a few cycles through all the strings until the neck stops moving. Opposed string pair tuning produces smaller neck movements and requires less cycles of re-tuning.

Putting your hand on the neck changes the tuning a little.
If you tune open strings and don't have your hand on the neck, the tuning will change when you do...

If you lay the guitar on the floor or a table to tune it, then pick it up, strapping it on, and stand there holding it, it will change its tune a little.
You should always tune and adjust intonation with the guitar in playing position.

Playing it warms the strings, so their lengths expand, tension is decreased, and they go flat a little.
Never tune a cold guitar; when it warms from playing it will go flat and need re-tuning. Always tune the guitar when it is warm (the way it will be when you are playing it). A warm tuned guitar will sound a little sharp when picked up cold and first played - do not re-tune it - as you play it will warm up and slip back down into tune.
Start the habit to tune your guitar carefully after you are done playing (while it is warm) before putting it away - long term tuning stability is directly related to how much time the guitar spends being in tune (keeping the neck from moving). Every time you re-tune you are making the neck slowly adjust, which changes tuning... long term you want to tune as infrequently and minimally as possible and avoid tuning immediately before playing.

Bending a string causes the entire string length from tuning peg to tail piece/block to increase in tension, but releasing the bend traps a little of that increased string tension between the tuning peg and the nut, and between the bridge saddles and the tail piece/block, because of friction in the nut and over the saddles...
You can minimize the friction at the nut and saddles, but there will still be some.

Since that elevated tension was produced by a little movement of the string over the nut and saddles towards the middle of the string during the bend (but now can't move completely back outward after the bend) the string length between the nut and saddles is a little too long, relatively slack, so now a little flat.
This means if you bend strings, you need to tune your guitar so that strings that have been bent and released are in tune. This means maintaining the trapped tension mentioned above and tuning the "slack" condition to be in tune. You do this by tuning the strings, bending the strings, checking tuning of the strings, adjusting tuning of the strings, then bending, checking, adjusting, etc. making sure each check is of a just bent string, not an adjusted string. You have to do a bend after each adjustment before checking again.
If you dive your whammy bar when playing, your strings will need to be bent and released to go back into tune (or a firm up pull on the whammy).
If you just bend occasionally and have a whammy bar you can wiggle the bar about its neutral position to recover tuning.
Quote by reverb66
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#6
Quote by Will Lane
Another interesting bit is when you first hit a string, the string will bend against your pick/finger, before the tension there is high enough that it bends the pick back and slides off so that the string can resonate. That applied energy will cause the initial sound of the note to be slightly sharp, and the string will technically still be "bending" to a degree as the kinetic energy in the string moves it in waves.

i think i see what you mean. it's going by the vibration. 
Quote by PlusPaul
Tuning, and maintaining tuning is really a black art...


a constant battle the better your ear gets. thanks for the info. 
begginer geetarest.