Have you ever had trouble getting your guitar exactly in tune, even with an electronic tuner? Or maybe you are able to tune your guitar, but then after only a few minutes your guitar is out of tune again. Is your guitar out of tune after you bend a string? This video guitar lesson will help you fix a very common guitar tuning problem.
Fixing Guitar Tuning Problems Caused by the Nut
(Video Guitar Lesson)
There are a lot of reasons you could be having guitar tuning problems. You could have bad machine heads, old guitar strings, or new strings that are just not stretched out enough. Your guitar could need the intonation, action, or neck adjusted. But what I’m going to show you in this lesson is a solution to an often overlooked guitar tuning problem.
Your Guitar Tuning Problem is that Pesky Nut
As you are tuning your guitar, each string is moving through a slot in the nut. If the string doesn’t move smoothly and freely through that slot, it will build up tension on one side or the other. As a result you may encounter the following issue.
You are tuning a string up with your electronic tuner, and you are starting to get close to being in tune. Then you hear a “ping” or a “chink” sound coming from your guitar. And all of the sudden you are too high. So you start to back the string down slowly and “ping” you are too low again. You can never seem to get the string exactly in tune.
You will also find that if you are playing some lead guitar stuff and bending strings, your guitar might go out of tune for the same reason. By bending a string, you are pulling it through the slot in the nut slightly. Then when you let the bend down, the guitar string will either not slip back through that slot the same amount, or even go too far.
The Guitar Tuning Problem Solution
So the solution to help the guitar string move freely through the slot in the nut is to use graphite from a pencil as a lubricant. If you put pencil lead in the grooves of the nut, that’s going to help your guitar stay in tune much more than if you didn’t. I would suggest doing this every time you change your strings.
A Pile of Powdered Graphite
I guess you could probably go out and buy some powdered graphite for this, but if you have a pencil, a piece of paper, and a razor blade…that is really all you need. I just take a piece of paper and fold it over, then take a razor blade and shave of some graphite from a pencil into a pile at the edge of the paper in the corner.
Putting the Graphite in the Groove
Set your guitar down on the floor or on a table. You may want to put a towel under the area of the nut so that you don’t get graphite on your nice white carpet.
Loosen all of the strings on your guitar enough so that you can move them off to the side and out of the slots in the nut.
Take your paper with your pile of graphite and fill up each of the grooves in the nut. Don’t be afraid of using too much, any excess will fall away.
Then put the strings back in the grooves, and tune your guitar back up. You can just blow away any extra graphite that is still hanging out around your nut at that point.
One Guitar Tuning Issue Solved
Like I mentioned, this is not the only reason why your guitar is not staying in tune, but it is a big one to be aware of….and now you have a solution for this guitar tuning problem.