My main guitar I like to use a lot is a Gibson SG Special worn brown. I have had it 4 close to 7 years now, and I love it. Only problem is, if I want to play leads with it I can't do too much bending with out getting a string horribly out of tune. Its not all my strings, its e, b, and g. They'll even be out of tune when I return the next day after being put away tuned.

I change strings just about once a month, and I use Ernie Balls regular slinky: 10-13-17-26-36-46

Any ideas as to why e, b, and g are so prone to going out of tune? Or suggestions as to how to improve them?

Thanks to anyone who can offer advice and insight to my issue.

4 Answers 4


The typical items that cause problems like this are:

  • loose machine heads
  • worn nut grooves
  • temperature fluctuations
  • loose or worn bridge pieces

Check these out first.

Also, taking care of your strings after playing can help a lot.

  • Absolutely and I would think that the tuning machine heads are most likely to blame Aug 7, 2013 at 18:19
  • That Was my initial thought and I was going to replace them, and I asked on thegearpage.net on recommendations for machine heads, and a majority of the people who posted told me it would not solve my problem. The temp and humidity are fairly consistent from day to day. I find it to be kind of embarrassing that my $50 walmart guitar stays in tune much longer with less care. What is the best way to look for worn nut grooves? Is it an obvious thing if I look at it? Thanks for your help!
    – Joe W
    Aug 13, 2013 at 15:52

Also, strings can get temporarily stuck in the nut. You can notice this if the string does not seem to be tuning, then hear a squeak and the pitch is drastically different (compared to a small adjustment). If this is the case you could try cleaning out the nut grooves or if it is exceptionally bad they should be filed down a bit to accommodate the gauge. This could also be an indication that the guitar was designed for a lighter gauge but your guitar should be fine. If this is the problem and you need to perform before getting it repaired, you can try tugging on the strings a little bit to un-stick them from the nut.


Possibly it's the way you wind the strings onto the posts in the machine heads. Only use 2 to 4 turns, as if there are loads, the strings will bind against themselves,and loosen under more strain.Also you need to stretch each string, from new, till it stays in tune.Without this, it'll take days to settle.

You could also check that the neck is sitting snug in the body pocket, although I suspect it's a through neck, so this won't help.


Have you tried using a lighter gauge? .009 for e instead of 0.010, etc... and maybe tighten your tuners, they could be loose...

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