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I have an acoustic guitar and I always leave it tuned over night until someone told me that it ruins the strings and the neck of the guitar. Is that true and should I leave it tuned overnight?

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    Also, be skeptical of anything that friend says about guitars from now on. – Todd Wilcox Aug 26 '15 at 2:15
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    Here's a great idea to destroy your guitars ability to keep in tune. Keep increasing and decreasing the tension on the neck . Or, to produce a similar effect. Hold the body and violently push the neck forwards and backwards. (p.s. Don't do this, but that's the kind of damage constant loss of tension will have) – AJFaraday Aug 26 '15 at 14:27
  • @ToddWilcox: Or about physics in general. – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 26 '15 at 17:51
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I leave all ten of my acoustic guitars tuned all the time. In most cases it is not a problem to leave your guitar under the full tension of standard tuning for days or even weeks at a time.

However, if you know you will be storing a guitar for an extended period of time (months) without playing it or changing the strings, it is probably a good idea to de-tune or reduce the tension on the strings. Even with the truss rod compensating, constant tension over an extended period of time can in fact warp the neck, particularly if atmospheric conditions (temperature and humidity) are not ideal.

I have a Yamaha FG-110 that I left stored in it's case in a closet for years without loosening the strings and the neck warped beyond the truss rod's adjustment range and the guitar became unplayable.

Keep in mind that the truss rod exerts tension on the neck as well so if you remove much tension from the strings you should also loosen the truss rod to remove that tension - thereby leaving the guitar in a neutral state with zero tension. This is for long term storage only. Temperature and humidity levels must also be optimized and monitored for long term storage of guitars.

But tuning and detuning daily could potentially exert excess wear on the tuning gears and all the moving of the neck back and forth could weaken the neck like bending a stick back and forth until it breaks. Tightening and loosening the strings daily might also exert extra stress on the strings and damage them or reduce their life.

So to your friend, it's possible that detuning the guitar and re-tuning every day could do more damage to the guitar and strings than simply leaving them in a constant state of tension.

I don't know any guitarist who make a habit of detuning their everyday guitar's every night. I'm not going to do it. And I don't think you should either.

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    Interesting, i have left a guitar in tune for months and it was fine at the end, in fact still in tune. Not years though, but having read this I might dig out my old electric from under the bed and detune it if it's not too late! I always thought that the neck / truss rod / strings were in balance, so leaving it very detuned would actually be pretty bad too, as the neck would be settling backwards? – Whelkaholism Aug 26 '15 at 9:24
  • @Whelkaholism When you de-tune a guitar - you remove the stress from the strings but if you de-tune too much, you might also want to adjust the truss rod to remove tension there as well. In a neutral state with no external stress being exerted, the neck will still move a little due to changes in humidity. But in the absence of any tension, it will move less. Electric guitars are less susceptible to neck movement from string tension because the strings are generally lighter gauge and the body to which the neck is fastened is stronger and more stable. Will add truss rod to answer. – Rockin Cowboy Aug 26 '15 at 13:36
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    If you are leaving the instrument for a long time, you absolutely need to leave it tuned, or detune and loosen the truss rod. The truss rod provides pressure to counter the strings. Remove the strings, and the truss rod is still putting out that counter pressure. The guitar is designed to be strung all the time, so I wouldn't do anything else without first talking to a good guitar luthier. – Karen Aug 26 '15 at 13:48
  • If you store an instrument in the roof space (a bad idea) then detune it. This is because there will be extremes of temperature. You might even come back to find the bridge detached in the case of a classical guitar. If you store it a room with an even indoor temperature then leave it tuned. – chasly from UK Aug 27 '15 at 15:06
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Imagine what chaos there would be in a guitar shop close to closing time every day! And even worse at opening time! Just smile sweetly at your friend, and let him carry on wrecking his guitar and wasting his time, but realise that actually you know far better and leave your guitar in tune for the next day. I've done it with about 20+ guitars for 50+ years, no problems. It wasn't April 1st that he mentioned it, was it?

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Leave it tuned, not only will the strings thank you for allowing them to 'settle in' to their proper tension (think of repeatedly bending a coat-hanger to break it) but the machine head gears will also not suffer as much slippage in the long run. The wood and glue is also better off staying under tension. The only time where all the strings should be removed or totally loosened is during major repairs.

When replacing all the strings, do it one at a time

It is advisable to loosen all the strings by no more than a half a turn or so (enough so that when picked they still barely carry a note but still are tight.) when you will be changing altitude quickly. Think flying; in an airplane and the instrument is not carried in the cabin, this is due to rapid atmospheric pressure changes.

If you have to store your guitar for any length of time (months or more) loosen the strings as above and make sure that it is in a climate controlled environment.

When tuning your guitar use an electronic tuner, a tuning fork, or some other reference tone until you have some practice. It's very easy to gradually allow the guitar itself to rise in pitch, therefore over tightening all the strings and stressing out the entire guitar.

hope this helps!

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Yes you can leave your guitar tuned over night and it is what most if not all guitarist do. The neck of your guitar should be able to take being in tune for a period of time and the tension put on it and if not, there are more serious issues with your guitar.

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Your friend has heard something about old-fashioned longbows which must be unstrung after use.

A yew bow will deform if it is left for a long time under full tension. Thus it becomes less useful as a bow.

When it comes to guitars, they are designed to be under tension. In fact (depending on the type of instrument) the neck may form a reverse curve when the strings are removed.

Unless you intend using your guitar to shoot arrows, I recommend keeping the strings under tension.

Longbow - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Yes you can.

Actually periodically (day by day) tune and detune the guitar hundred times a year and thousand times by its lifecycle may harm your neck way with much greater possibility than leaving it alone. Tuning and detuning is always a kind of stress for the neck you do not want to do this unnecessary thousand times.

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