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I have this guitar for a year already maybe little bit more and like 6 months ago it started doing weird things.

I always tuned guitar from high E to low E. But since something happened, when I tune it like that already tuned strings go out of tune when I'm already on low E string.

If I tune from low E to high E it all stays in tune.

This really is painful if you want to tune down to half or full step, the tuning process gets 20 mins long.

Why does this happen?

I have a fender electric guitar with normal tremolo bridge. Bridge has 3 springs.

Interestingly it does not go out of tune while using whammy.

  • When was the last time you changed your strings? – Shevliaskovic Dec 31 '14 at 9:55
  • like month ago. they are new i change strings every 2 months – Brsgamer Dec 31 '14 at 10:04
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You mentioned that you used to tune it from the high E (1st) string to the low E. Since you have a tremolo system, anytime that you change the tension on a string (by tuning it), the tremolo will move, as Bradd pointed out above (even if it moves just a tiny bit). When you arrive at the 6th string to tune it, that string will have the most effect on the tremolo, since it's the heaviest string, and it is affecting the lighter strings the most.

Continue tuning your guitar starting with the 6th string. Once that is close to tune, it will stay the most stable of all the strings. Continue with a "rough" tuning of the rest of the strings (just get them close), go back to the 6th and fine tune it, and then follow with the 5th, 4th, etc. Keep repeating this pattern until you're satisfied. The main point is that the thickest string will affect the rest of the strings the most, so tune that one first.

  • I'm glad I could help :) – Mark Dec 31 '14 at 16:12
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Changing the tuning on a Stratocaster is always a slow and painful process, unless you block the tremolo system. Small changes, like normal day-to-day tuning, simply return the bridge to balance and do not cause problems. However, changing to D tuning significantly changes string tension, which affects the balance of the bridge. Changing even one string down a tone (Drop D) will throw all of the other strings out of tune. This is normal. Floating bridges work best when you pick a tuning and stick to it.

If you really want to experiment with alternate turnings, I recommend freezing or at least decking the bridge. I did that to my Strat. Now I can only dive on the whammy bar, but it is much easier to retune.

You should not need to do that for ordinary tuning, however. If you are having problems even with day-to-day tuning, I suspect that the change of seasons or other environmental factors are throwing your guitar further out of tune than usual, so that you are experiencing retuning problems more often. If so, start tuning with the strings that change tension the most – in your case, that sounds like the low strings – or just deck the bridge like you would for drop tuning.

  • Szonye captures this, but to be explicit: my understanding is that as you tighten/loosen the widest-gauged strings on any guitar, the neck will bend the the most, throwing out of tune the narrower-gauged strings. – commonhare Dec 31 '14 at 10:28
  • @commonhare Thanks for the note! I was adding something similar to my answer as you wrote it. – Bradd Szonye Dec 31 '14 at 10:31
  • Yeah thanks normal retuning does not really bother me but and even dropping e to d is easy but really down tunning every string is hard to do – Brsgamer Dec 31 '14 at 11:32
  • I have done this on two guitars, a strat and a bitch. I literally cut the springs shorter and re-attached them. You can only whammy "down" but... I remove the whammy bar too, it's useless. – Jasmine Dec 31 '14 at 16:37
  • @brsgamer Here's how to freeze the whammy bar if you want to make this easier: music.stackexchange.com/questions/17290/… – Bradd Szonye Dec 31 '14 at 19:48
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After a while you can learn how much your strings need to be tuned beyond where you expect and can rapidly tune a floating bridge to a different tuning.

You can also speed the process up by using the whammy bar to stretch the strings.

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