Why am I going sharp?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Old Deaf Roadie, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Holic

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    I started hanging the guitars I play the most from wall hooks about a year ago. I do not know if it is the effects of gravity, or something else unrelated, but these guitars have a tendency to trend toward sharp as they hang. The peculiar thing is that all the strings are in tune with each other, but the result is as if I had tuned a half cent up. The trend toward sharp is not occurring as I play, only when hanging on the wall hooks. It does not occur on cased instruments.

    Any insight as to what is happening here? Am I missing something simple & obvious? I had a medical episode a few years ago that affects my memory & reasoning abilities sometimes and not recognizing the obvious is a thing with me, so please be kind in your replies...
     
  2. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm thinking tempature change.
     
  3. ASATKat

    ASATKat Tele-Afflicted

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    That always happens acoustic or electric, my G&L solidbody has to be tuned everytime.
     
  4. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    Does the tuning return to where you had them when they are taken off the wall and you play them for awhile?

    Are we talking acoustics, or electrics?
     
  5. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Gravity bends the neck straighter and longer.
     
  6. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Holic

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    My guess. It's a little colder up on the wall than in your hands. Is it an exterior wall on the other side?
     
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  7. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    ... he said, flatly.
     
  8. Shuster

    Shuster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You're too tightly strung, loosen up a bit, and unwind;)
     
  9. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    A5E2F17A-1AC0-4401-8FD7-9EB15641B690.jpeg

    Temperature of my fingertips.


    68DBE0B6-C4BE-4D4A-A669-3D2B9E8DCEE7.jpeg

    Ambient temperature in my house.


    As you play, your fingers warm up the strings and the strings expand (lengthen). As your guitar hangs, the strings cool to ambient temperature and contract (shorten) and therefore go sharp.
     
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  10. 440mhz

    440mhz TDPRI Member

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    It's also why it's recommended to tune your guitar in the playing position.
     
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  11. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep, if there's any relief in your necks gravity will flatten them out, leaving you a bit sharp.
     
  12. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    If this were the cause, how could anyone ever hang a guitar without having to do a setup each time after retrieving the guitar? You would continually be adjusting your guitars action. The slight pull of gravity will not overcome the truss rod.
     
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  13. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Holic

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    Both electric & acoustic. I have not tried playing to see if it returns naturally. They stay in tune for a couple days, but if left hanging for a few days, they will be sharp.
     
  14. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    Mine all go slightly sharp with climate conditions if there is much change.
    If I'm not sure if a particular guitar will be played for a week or more
    detune down 2-3 cents. That eliminates some tuning time a bit on next play.
     
  15. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    If you look up the coefficient of thermal expansion of metals you will find a lot of, often incomprehensible, info on the topic. The simple explanation is that variations of a few degrees, often unnoticable to ourselves, will cause strings to expand or contract. You warm the strings when you play and hold the guitar, which is also when you tune it, you then hang the guitar and it cools down slightly, the strings contract and go sharp. My guitars do the same thing in winter, in summer they tend to go flat. Because the strings are fairly similar in diameter, at least the cores of the wound strings are, they seem to all seem to go flat or sharp by the same amount. That's my theory anyway.:)
     
  16. pixeljammer

    pixeljammer Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    This happens to my guitars, and they're on stands. I think it's temperature.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    So you keep loosening the strings and then they tighten themselves up again?

    Very strange.

    If the temp tightens the strings and you loosen them, the temp can't keep making them tighter and tighter while the room doesn't get hotter and hotter.
    If the neck straightens out a little from hanging, it can't keep getting straighter and straighter without getting back bowed.

    I'd call it gremlins, have a nice cbd product and relax, if that's appropriate.

    Wait, if you always tune up to pitch then there can sometimes be a little more tension on the tuner side of the nut, which can pull the note sharp after a while. That's about all I've got though.
     
  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Wait a few months and your guitars will be going flat.

    Seasonal temperature and humidity changes.

    You may notice the 'rosewood' fingerboard guitars are bending around more than the maple fingerboard guitars you have - due to dissimilar wood and lack of fretboard finish to retard expansion/shrinkage of the the necks.

    .
     
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  19. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Mine have been going sharp on stands and laying flat in cases lately. It's been getting cold at night and the days have been just mild. My guitars often go sharp If I don't touch them for a few months. You would think they would go flat due to string tension but the opposite happens.
    I often get lazy and just tune by ear so maybe they creep up over time due to that and I only notice next time I grab one and put a tuner on it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  20. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    You should try simply walking from one room to another with an old Neapolitan mandolin. You wouldn't worry about your guitar tuning shifting slightly any more.
     
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