String tuning when striking a string.

Jeremy M

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Hey guys, just a quick overall question here. Is it normal for a guitar string to start out 'sharp' when plucked then come down to pitch? The harder my strings are plucked, the further out of tune it goes, but eventually comes down into tune.

Is this normal for guitars? Or can it be fixed with a decent setup? Thanks!
 

Thumpalumpacus

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Yes, it's a bit of physics, but it shouldn't be very noticeable. If it is, you might be smackin' 'em too hard.
 

AngryHatter

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How hard are you pulling the string?
What gauge strings?
It may happen (yeah, my tuner might see it) but if you notice it, something is wrong.
 

BluesRock

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Try tuning using the neck pickup with the tone rolled all the way off. The tuner should settle on the note much quicker.
 

Blackegg

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Many of mine have done this to a small extent and some never have. My Martin is dead on all the time, even if it's sat for a while, while the Gibson seems to do it, but like already stated, it almost immediately comes into tune and only the tuner picks it up...I can't hear it at all.
 

ed1996

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It usually only does that when I pick really hard.
 

Birdseyeview

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Your post raises 2 points for me:
Always tune up to 'in-tune', not down. The tuners are held in position under tension, and the tension is greatest (static) when tuned up to the note not down to 'in-tune'. Think going from flat to 'in-tune', not sharp down to 'in-tune'.
If you strike/attack a note very lightly while tuning, then play aggressively shortly there after, you may very well pull the string slightly flat. If you tune a string with light picking, and then strike/attack it at your normal picking pressure, you will be able to minimize stretch & movement of the tuner (nut friction) to give you solid tuning that lasts. So, tune, then play the string at normal pick attack, then re-tune.
I got all this from a GIT instructor years ago, and it never fails me.
 

Leumas

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What they all said. Let the ringing note settle for a second, that should be your baseline.
 

ant_riv

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+1 on what has been said already.

As to why it goes sharp, think about what occurs. When you strike the string you are slightly or greatly bending it, depending on how hard you strike the string. Once the initial pull from striking the string is released, the string vibrates from it's stable position.

So yes it will go sharp initially.

To minimize this effect, strike the string over the 12th fret when you are tuning an open string. As this is the center point of the string, the pull of striking will more closely match the elliptic of the string when it is vibrating. This will lessen the note going sharp. Of course, this is still dependent on how hard you pluck the string.

I hope this helps!

Best wishes to you!
 

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