Guitar Goes Sharp Overnight

Favedave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12
This is not a problem, I am merely curious. I have Gretsch 12 String Electromatic Hollow Body and a Vox Bobcat V90 bought in the last month.

When I play them for the first time each day, often a few strings are slightly sharp. (It was all in tune when I put it away.) I keep them in their HSC overnight, and in the same room as me, which doesn't vary in temperature much.

This also happened with a Casino Worn I had for a while.

BTW, all guitars were professionally set up and the action is perfect, the necks are not bowed or anything.

It's probably because I am just ignorant, but I thought the strings would go flat, not sharp. At least that's what happened with the classical guitar I played for years before switching to electric 6 months ago.

Again, this is so not a big deal as I tune it all the time anyway, but I just wanna learn. Thanks!
 

mretrain

Member
Messages
35
This is not a problem, I am merely curious. I have Gretsch 12 String Electromatic Hollow Body and a Vox Bobcat V90 bought in the last month.

When I play them for the first time each day, often a few strings are slightly sharp. (It was all in tune when I put it away.) I keep them in their HSC overnight, and in the same room as me, which doesn't vary in temperature much.

This also happened with a Casino Worn I had for a while.

BTW, all guitars were professionally set up and the action is perfect, the necks are not bowed or anything.

It's probably because I am just ignorant, but I thought the strings would go flat, not sharp. At least that's what happened with the classical guitar I played for years before switching to electric 6 months ago.

Again, this is so not a big deal as I tune it all the time anyway, but I just wanna learn. Thanks!
It could be temperature changes, but it’s interesting that they all go sharp rather than flat. When you put on new strings, do you stretch them thoroughly? And when you tune, do you lower the pitch and tune up into the note? I know this is basic stuff that you probably know very well since you played classical guitar for years, but it’s all I could think of.
 

rhinocaster

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24,406
When you play, the strings and neck warm up....when you stop, the strings cool off and that causes them to go sharp as they contract.

This would happen between sets at gigs as well. Next time, just take a few moments and run your hand up and down the neck to get a little friction going and you'll likely find that the strings are not sharp.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
4,631
When you play, the strings and neck warm up....when you stop, the strings cool off and that causes them to go sharp as they contract.

This would happen between sets at gigs as well. Next time, just take a few moments and run your hand up and down the neck to get a little friction going and you'll likely find that the strings are not sharp.
yep, normal operating conditions IME

That said, I have a '74-'75 Gibson Byrdland which suffers this sharpening at rest less than my stoptails and tune-o-matics. Whether it is the trapeze and/or the Kluson Seal-Fast, I do not know
 

Capstan Philips

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,476
Generally guitars seem to go a little flat when warm and a little sharp when cold.

My take is that, when not being played and/or left in a cool environment, both the neck and the strings contract, pulling more against each other, creating more tension, and raising pitch.
 
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OwenD

Member
Messages
12
I had that with my Greco, standard nut. I figured out that it was the strings sticking in the nut slots, so the portion of string past the nut was of a higher tension. Overnight the string tension would equalise through the nut and pull the string tighter, sending the tuning sharp. Solved it by getting the nut slots worked on by a tech.
 

Gclef

Member
Messages
4,796
I have a guitar or two that are always sharp when I pick them up.

I bend all the strings a bit, and they are pretty close to in tune.

Don't know why.

Don't care either
 
Messages
1,553
It's called nature. It cools down at night.

Cold guitars go sharp.

Warm guitars go flat like warm beer.

The best pedal you'll ever buy in your life is a tuner, especially if you layer tracks using different guitars.
 

fretwalker

Member
Messages
69
I started thinking of a wise-crack answer: with a 12-string expect to spend 95% of your time tuning and 5% playing.

But, since it's happening to multiple guitars it must be environmental. I think your room cools down at night enough to cause them to go sharp. Temp and humidity are the usual culprits.
 

Foster Zygote

Member
Messages
69
I don't have that problem. If the temperature and humidity change considerably, like after a storm moves through, I have to retune. But its quite common for me to pick up my guitars and find them still in near perfect tune from the day before. I think one possible culprit might be the string nut. If it's binding even just a little bit, when you tune up to pitch, the string will have slightly more tension between the nut and tuner than between the bridge and nut. Over night, this tension can slowly equalize, pulling the string between the bridge and nut a cent or two sharp. Try some lubricant in the nut slots and/or file them slightly wider and see if that has any effect. It might not, but in my experience, that's always resulted in better tuning stability.
 

aynirar27

Meka Hiney Ho
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
33,449
Maybe the pegs move a little taking it in and it of the case. Try leaving them out overnight and see if anything changes
 

edward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,535
Don't discount the influence of relative humidity along with temp changes. I know my hygrometer vaies between morning and evening, so I always shoot for an average. Fwiw, temp swing are very slight in the guitar room but RH varies more, and this is where the tuning seems to change, IME.

Edward
 

Gurn

Member
Messages
1,754
I started thinking of a wise-crack answer: with a 12-string expect to spend 95% of your time tuning and 5% playing...

One more reason I hate 12-strings.

But this made me wonder: What if Henry J's G-Force Robo tuners were put on 12-strings?

Would the robos explode or would they be able to tame the beast?
Or would the beast devour the batteries & grind up the gears?

Alas Henry J, you're no longer @ Gibson to give us the answer.
 
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Ron Kirn

Vendor
Messages
8,357
make sure there is at least SOME tension on the truss rod.. some will leave it relatively loose if it's not needed to produce the desired bow in the neck... The wood's fibers have a spring like effect when the strings are tuned.. the compress under tension.. but can "pushback" when it's left alone.. adding a "crack" of truss tension can control the effect to some degree

r
 

EasTXan

Member
Messages
982
Here in the balmy TX gulf coast, it's not just Temps but humidity swings. My Teles seem to be unaffected as much as my Ibanez with a set maple neck, which goes pretty sharp overnight when humidity peaks.
 

EasTXan

Member
Messages
982
make sure there is at least SOME tension on the truss rod.. some will leave it relatively loose if it's not needed to produce the desired bow in the neck... The wood's fibers have a spring like effect when the strings are tuned.. the compress under tension.. but can "pushback" when it's left alone.. adding a "crack" of truss tension can control the effect to some degree

r
Thanks Ron, I need to try that on the Ibanez mentioned above. It was setup perfectly when I got it years ago and have never checked to see if I can take some slack out of it!
 




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