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I bought a GB&A guitar almost an year ago. I play guitar mostly on the weekends. Recently I noted that my guitar bridge has got lifted off the body a bit. So I took it to the Guitar Shop. The owner of the shop suggested me that I should keep the guitar untuned if I am not using/playing it. I just want to know, should I tune the guitar only when I want to play it and de-tune it when not in use?

Also, If I tune, De-tune the guitar too often, won't it cause a problem to the nuts?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Generally, with a guitar in good condition, no. The only time I've detuned a guitar was when shipping one via air, where it might be in an unpressurized baggage compartment. I think the strings should be kept at pitch - but you should check and adjust them if they are getting sharp (which can happen with temperature and humidity changes.)

If you play a guitar that is in good condition regularly, you should notice any issues as they develop and address them before they get too serious. I would think once a week would be often enough to adjust the tuning and notice if any problems were developing.

I suppose that if you are storing it for long periods and you aren't playing it regularly, detuning might be a reasonable precaution. I would think in that case that tuning the strings down as much as one-whole step might be reasonable, but I wouldn't leave them totally slack.

I don't think you need to worry at all about the nut. That should be a non-issue.

EDIT: On the other hand, if there is a structural issue with the guitar, it may well make sense to detune the guitar and keep it that way - until you get it repaired but detuning the strings is not a good alternative to getting the guitar repaired. In your specific example, the bridge could still come off completely when you tune up the strings and possibly injure you or someone else, and cause more damage to the guitar.

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But then how do I take care of lifted bridge issue? Is lifted bridge normal in acoustic guitars? –  Pravin Patil Oct 25 '11 at 4:38
    
The bridge shouldn't lift. I have had three of my acoustics, including one 12 string, with steel strings on for years. I can only assume it has not been glued down correctly. Once it is properly done, and has solidified, having the strings back on should not cause issues. –  Dr Mayhem Oct 25 '11 at 8:52
    
The bridge should not be doing that, even with the guitar tuned up. Having the guitar tuned down too much for too long as actually worse for the guitar, as the neck needs to be under that constant tension. –  MGZero Oct 25 '11 at 13:55
1  
Baggage compartments are almost always pressurized (although, the plane is pressurized to like 8000ft, not sea level). If you think about it, it's easier to pressurize a tube than half a tube. –  yossarian Oct 25 '11 at 15:44

No. You shouldn't have to do that on a guitar that's made well. The fact that the bridge is coming up is indicative of an issue with the guitar itself and not the tuning / strings. You should try and get the bridge fixed, in general.

However, a quick google of GB&A guitars shows that they are very cheap acoustic guitars (~$70). I would not expect these guitars to be made well at that price. You could try detuning to help with the issue, it may or may not work, but assuming money is an issue it could be worth trying. I would suggest detuning a whole step or two so that there's still some tension on the strings. When you tune back up, do it slowly so that you don't exert sudden pressure on the guitar or strings (this might make them more likely to break). Also make sure that the strings are wound well at the top peg.

This is really a work around and I would not expect this guitar to be with you for life. The long term solution may be a new guitar, unfortunately. Hopefully you can make this one work long enough to decide if you really want to put the money in to the hobby.

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Thanks you very much for the answer. –  Pravin Patil Oct 26 '11 at 9:58

You shouldn't worry . The only time you have to un-tune your guitar is when you travel overseas and you need to put your guitar to fly with you . It's okay . Use heavy gauge strings or buy a new one . I strongly suggest you buy a new one and use heavy gauge strings .

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