Turning Tips: It’ll take 5 minutes to read and save you more…
Tip 1. Make sure that you loosen all of the strings enough so that there is less tension on the bridge. The bridge will sink down little by little. Loosen until the bridge is flush with the body.
Mistake 1. I didn’t realize that when you get every string in tune on the way up (in pitch) to high E, all of the ones that you’d just tuned, get flattened (this is because the tension gets distributed more evenly on the bridge, and takes pressure off the Low E).
Tip 2. Tighten the springs on the back side of the guitar to tune easier.
Mistake 2. My springs were so loose on the back that every time I tuned up to high E, the bridge lifted and made everything quite flat. The springs in the back anchor the tension on the bridge to the body, the tighter they are, the less the bridge will move when you tighten your strings – this limits movement of your whammy bar, however (not enough for me to notice).
Tip 3. Tune in this order:
Low E (1)
High E (6)
Mistake 3. I did not know that staggering the tuning made things that much easier… it does.
Tip 4. Repeat the tuning procedure 3-5 times.
Mistake 4. I didn’t have the patience to do this, and ended up getting frustrated, sitting there wasting time by perpetually tuning and un-tuning the guitar without realizing that I WAS getting that much closer to on-tune.
Tip 5. Keep the fine-tuning screws ¾ of the way out, not half. You want them looser, sticking further out.
Mistake 5. I tuned with the fine screws half-way out (or a little less), locked the bridge, and brought the guitar to perfect tune. HOWEVER, as the strings loosened (as they are prone to do), I needed to retighten them, which meant bringing the fine-tuners in tighter, and tighter, until the guitar was painfully close to being spot-on… but slightly flat.
Tip 6. Stretch that shit.
Mistake 6. See mistake 5.