I currently play a classical guitar that I have borrowed, and it has some tuning issues that I have never really had to deal with before. The intonation seems fine action is also okay. Also, once I get it in tune, it stays pretty stable. But I have two primary issues:

  • The nylon strings are very sensitive to tightening. I swear sometimes I barely touch the tuner and it immediately is about 20 cents higher.

  • The wound strings have a slightly different problem. Sometimes when I am tuning they can't decide what note they want to be. They start out on a certain pitch and then jump up slightly in pitch about 10 cents or so. After I have fumbled enough with the tuners, this problem goes away and I get stable notes.

I am not so sure if I am maybe doing something wrong, since I had never had this kind of trouble with guitars in the past. I always tune up to a note, never down, and when I slacken my strings I always stretch them a bit.

Can issues with the nut or tuning heads cause something like this? Has anyone had an issue like this before and was able to fix it?

  • That describes most classical guitars I've ever played. The strings are supple and slip out of tune easily. The tuning knobs are often of poor quality, which doesn't help the situation. – Grey Jul 12 '14 at 16:42
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you just have the knobs "tightness" (dunno a better word) adjusted? – Lee White Jul 12 '14 at 16:45
  • @Grey hmmm. I used to play a Washburn for years with absolutely no issues. I figured for that reason there might be something I could do to help this one. – Tim Seguine Jul 12 '14 at 16:46
  • @Lee do you mean tightening the screws on the little gears that go through the pegs? – Tim Seguine Jul 12 '14 at 16:48
  • @LeeWhite Tension? – Grey Jul 12 '14 at 16:48

It may be cheap strings, cheap machine heads, cheap guitar. Good for tuning UP rather than DOWN, Maybe the strings themselves have never been stretched properly. I've been given guitars to tune with 6 month old strings, and until the strings get a real good pulling to stretch them and bed them into the bobbins on the machine heads, they would always be going out of tune or untunable.About 3 turns on the bobbins is o.k., too many means the strings bind into each other, too few means they may slip round. Neither much good.Or - the strings may just be past their best.

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  • Well cheap strings I can rule out, that was the first thing I did. This has just been something that annoys me the more I play this guitar. I guess I am probably fitting into either or both of the cheap guitar or cheap machine heads columns. – Tim Seguine Jul 12 '14 at 16:53

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