Do Guitars Come Tuned?


So, you just ordered your first guitar. While you’re waiting for it to come by your door, you may wonder about the question from the headline.

Do guitars come tuned on arrival?

Guitars mostly don’t come tuned. There’s a high chance you’ll have to tune your guitar once it arrives. There are a few reasons why is that so.

Why Guitars Don’t Come Tuned?

Let’s go through main reasons of why the most of guitars don’t come tuned on arrival.

1. Tuning Pegs Turn Around In Box

Tuning pegs, those little knobs installed on a guitar’s headstock, are used to wind the strings tight or loose. That way the tuning of most guitars is performed.

When you order the guitar from the internet, it will travel in a box (or in a case) from the store right to your door. It is almost impossible to prevent accidental turning of tuning pegs on a guitar headstock.

With each moving, whether it’s in clockwise or counterclockwise direction, the strings on your guitar will move away from it’s initial pitch. Therefore, your guitar will arrive detuned.

2. Humidity and Temperature

While the guitar you’ve ordered is on the way from the store to your residence, it will experience various humidity and temperature issues along the way.

How can humidity and temperature affect tuning of a guitar? It’s physics. When the temperature rises, materials tend to expand. Strings are no exceptions to this natural law.

When temperature gets higher, the strings extend themselves. Longer the string is, more loose it becomes on a guitar. Loosened strings have a lower pitch. This goes the other way around, as well.

When temperature drops, the strings shorten themselves, causing the pitch get higher than usual.

With all these temperature changes taking place on the way, it is inevitable for a guitar to arrive detuned at your place.

Humidity plays a part, also. Low humidity can cause a wood shrinkage, as high humidity can cause a widening of wood. That can alter the initial tuning on a guitar if not monitored carefully.

But, temperature is the more affecting factor, of course.

3. Purposely Loosened Strings

Some guitar manufacturers purposely loosen the strings before they dispatch a guitar from the store. It is sometimes done due to safety reasons, but keep that in mind, also.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve covered main reasons of why guitars don’t come tuned, let me address some additional related questions to this topic.

Do New Guitars Go Out Of Tune Quickly?

New guitars do, indeed, go out of tune quick. Why is that so? Well, it’s not so much because the guitar is new, as it’s because the strings are new.

When you put new strings on a guitar, it takes some time to accommodate. New strings, therefore, have to be stretched few times, before you proceed to tune them.

Of course, the guitar itself can play a significant factor in tuning stability. Guitars that have been played on for some time, and played on regularly, usually have more tuning stability than brand new guitars.

It’s because of the playing that takes place. Playing guitar causes strings to vibrate, in other words, to produce frequencies. When you’re playing your guitar for some time, those frequencies and vibrations will slightly change the internal structure of the wooden body of your guitar.

Guitars, over time, tend to resonate better with strings. They tend to develop certain level of tuning stability and resonance when you play regularly.

Is It Bad To Leave Your Guitar Tuned?

It’s not bad to leave a guitar tuned. You may have issues about leaving your guitar tuned, because you may think that the tension exerted by strings on a neck will bend your guitar’s neck over time.

Trust me, there’s no need to worry about it. Guitars are designed to withhold the tension of strings. Acoustic and electric guitars have a built in truss rod. Truss rod is located inside the neck of the guitar.

It has the role of providing the counter tension for the tension exerted by strings. So, there’s really no reason to worry about it.

I recommend you to read the article from this site about similar concern:

Should I Untune My Guitar After Playing?

There’s no need for untuning a guitar after playing. There’s no any danger whatsoever in leaving a guitar tuned. Therefore, it really makes no sense to detune a guitar after each playing session.

That just takes so much energy, without any reasonable goal to achieve.

Why Does My Guitar Go Out Of Tune So Fast?

If you’re experiencing tuning issues, take a look at the possible reasons that are causing those problems.

There are reasons that cause a guitar to go out of tune fast. Old strings, improper tuning and the low quality of a guitar.

1. Your Strings Are Old

Every now and then, you need to replace the existing strings on your guitar with new ones. Strings are not eternal, in fact they are pretty expendable.

Over time they’ll accumulate rust, sweat and dirt onto themselves, which will almost certainly affect their tuning stability.

For more information about it, I highly recommend you to read this article.

2. Strings Aren’t Properly Tuned

Sometimes, strings just aren’t properly tuned in the first place. If you’re a beginner, you certainly have undeveloped sense of hearing pitches.

Therefore, I strongly advise you to use a guitar tuner every time you start tuning your strings.

Guitar tuners are great and helpful, and there are many guitar tuner apps you can download on your phone for free. For more information, check this article.

3. Your Guitar Is Lousy

Sometimes, the problem of tuning instability lies in the guitar itself. Maybe the guitar you’re playing is damaged in some sense. Maybe the guitar has been poorly maintained through the years.

There are many potential reasons for this. Check if there’s anything wrong with your guitar. If you’re a beginner, it’s perhaps the best for you to take your guitar to the expert examination at guitar centers and shops.

Guitar experts will surely know what to do about it.

Final Words

If this article provided a valuable information and insight to you, about this topic, I’m more than happy about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!

Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles from this site about various guitar topics and issues!

Cheers, and rock on!

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