I have an Epiphone ES-339. When I tune it, the strings sound fine, then when begin to play a song, the G string sounds out of tune. I only have an issue with that one string and all of them are brand new. I've done some reading and heard things about the bridge, truss rod and saddle but I'm really not sure what the problem is. Any help is much appreciated, thanks.

  • 3
    It's the kind of issue that could be diagnosed in seconds... if we had the guitar to test. Over the interweb, not so simple.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 2, 2019 at 18:29
  • It's possible that there's gunk in the fret slot binding the string. You could try cleaning that with thin cotton string string or some such, adding a tiny dab of an appropriate lubricant, and then living with the problem. Some guitars do that. The Gibson/epi headstock design is more prone to it than most. You could try taking it to a tech, but he'll just tell you you're imagining it (one actually told me my tuner was broken). If it renders the guitar unplayable, sell the guitar. Apr 2, 2019 at 19:16
  • 1
    To understand your problem better: does the string actually go out of tune, i.e., when you check the tuning of the open string after playing a bit, is it out of tune, or does the problem only arise with fretted notes? If it's the former, it could be the Gibson-specific headstock issues, and you might have to file your nut or apply some lubricant. If it's the latter: is it worse with the first few frets, or toward the higher frets? If it's the higher frets, it's likely an intonation problem; with the first frets, it could be the nut. Apr 3, 2019 at 7:19

3 Answers 3


Very difficult to diagnose without at least some pics, but it could be the intonation of that G string. If that saddle is not in the right position, that string will always play out of tune - unless it's played open. Try tuning using the 12th fret instead of open.

But, better still, check the 12th fret harmonic against 12th fret fretted note. If they're the same, and the string isn't too high above the fingerboard, it's off to a good luthier. Unless you are bending that string in your playing.

Of course, you have checked that the string is still in tune open after playing??


The "G" string seems to be the first string to go out of tune. All my guitars do it under heavy blues style playing. just continue to stretch out the strings, pull them up from the fretboard, tune, play, repeat. once the string tension calms down you'll have less of a problem holding tune.


Here are some troubleshooting ideas. If the G string sounds out of tune when played open: The string is slipping on the capstan of the tuning machine-check the winding; maybe there is a problem with the wire loop at the ball end of the string (rare, it usually just breaks)- replace the string; worn/broken gear in the tuning machine- time for a new tuning machine; string binding in nut slot or bridge saddle then slipping-lightly lubricate at the binding point.

If the G string sounds out of tune when you're playing chords or fretted notes: as Tim says, check the intonation and shift the bridge saddle; check your frets for 'scalloping'(low spots caused by strings gouging out the top of the frets)- time for a fret dress or re fret; G string saddle set too high (unlikely, unless you've been messing with bridge/saddles); neck twist (unlikely, because the other strings would be affected too); excessive neck bow (unlikely, because other strings would be affected too).

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