I have an acoustic guitar that's currently strung with .012 gauge strings. I'd like to change that to lighter strings (around .010) and lower the action a bit. (This is my secondary acoustic, and I'd like to differentiate it from my main ax a bit more.)

One of the obstacles facing me is that this guitar tends to get thrown out of tune by heavy strumming, sometimes lasting only a song before it needs to be retuned. Will this tendency continue with lighter strings, or possibly worsen?

I'm planning to work on increasing the angle of the strings at the nut (by winding the stings differently) in an attempt to help the tuning problems. But is there anything else I can do while upgrading the guitar's setup?

The guitar is a Seagull "Grand" parlor acoustic.

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1 Answer 1


When you change string gauge, it's often necessary to adjust the truss rod to compensate for the change in tension.

You can get away without doing this if you don't mind some minor intonation issues but it sounds as if you are exacting enough to care.

If the instrument won't stay in tune, then either you're not tensioning the strings properly after fitting them, or you have faulty machine heads.

It sounds like now is a good time to take the instrument to a guitar tech for some maintenance. If it's not been serviced for so long that it won't stay in tune, there are likely to be other servicing jobs.

A service every 2 years is reasonable for a well played guitar. You can expect to see some fret wear in that time, for example.

  • What would you say constitutes a service? This guitar has no intonation adjustment, so tuning initially may be fun, with lighter strings.Having done just this on several guitars (including a parlour) it should work out o.k.Agree with pre-tensioning of strings,several times for a couple of days !The pegs on the bridge may also not be as tight as neccessary.
    – Tim
    Jul 14, 2013 at 11:34
  • Pre-tensioning: Is this stretching the strings out and letting them settle? Or something else? Jul 14, 2013 at 22:49
  • I mean stretching them lots once they are on, and seemingly up to pitch. Maybe re-tensioning is a better word.I must have been influenced by the term 'pre-bend' which HAS to be a misnomer.
    – Tim
    Jul 15, 2013 at 6:15
  • Tensioning: tune, then put your fingers underneath each string and give it a good tug away from the body. It will go flat. Retune and repeat until it doesn't go flat.
    – slim
    Jul 15, 2013 at 9:20
  • A good service will include lots of things - clean, fix any worn frets, (search online, lots of guitar techs describe in detail what they do) but what's important to you here is checking the machine heads (repair or replace) and getting the truss rod adjusted right (which is the only way intonation can be influenced in the absence of an adjustable bridge).
    – slim
    Jul 15, 2013 at 9:26

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