Say you are new to playing guitar and you have changed your guitar strings and tuned it correctly. After playing it for a few minutes, you will see that the tuning is all over the place. Often new strings need some time to stabilize the tuning. But how long do new guitar strings take to settle?
The duration for settling depends on the strings and the type of guitar you are using. Generally, stainless steel string takes about 1-2 hours of continuous playing to be stable. Nylon strings on classical guitar may take up to 48 hours, depending on your playing routine.
For in-depth information about this topic and how the time can vary on acoustic vs. electric, or nylon string guitar, follow this post!
- 1. Why Do Guitar Strings Need Time To Settle?
- 2. String Types
- 3. Time Needed To Settle The New Strings
- 4. Quicker Ways To Stabilize The Strings
- 5. Guitar Types And Tuning Stability
- 6. Summing Up
Why Do Guitar Strings Need Time To Settle?
If you are a new guitar player, you must’ve faced or been facing this problem after installing a fresh set of strings. Your guitar might not just sound the same even after you’ve tuned it.
This happens because strings have some elastic property. Tuning a string will stretch it. Also, the friction with the tuning pegs takes some moment to adjust.
If you got a performance or a session playing tomorrow and want to replace old strings, you should know that the new strings won’t deliver correct sounds right away.
The time needed to settle the tuning depends on the strings you have installed on your guitar. There are five types of strings you can find.
You can see except for the nylon string, all the other types of strings are metal. So, they all act almost in the same way when newly installed on guitars. Nylon strings are less elastic than steel strings. That’s why you’ll see a difference.
Time Needed To Settle The New Strings
After installing new strings on a guitar, you’ll find the strings going flat for some time. The reason is simple.
Those strings have been coiled up and kept inside the package until they were suddenly installed on guitars and tensed up with tuning. So, those need some time to adjust. You can adjust the strings in a faster manner by continuously playing after you’ve put on a new set of strings.
Time Needed For Metal Strings
After installing the metal strings, play the guitar continuously for about 1-2 hours. If you keep re-tuning them constantly, the strings are going to get adjusted at their new placement. By playing, we mean strumming the chords and playing some solos, and bending the strings.
Another settlement can be by wearing out the initial brightness of the sound. Some people don’t prefer those new strings strumming with sparkling highs.
New strings will have this bright tone out of the box for about 7-10 days. Some players prefer it, and some don’t. Eventually, the bright sound of the strings will fade out. If you consider this as settling, you have to play the guitar for about a week regularly.
Time Needed For Nylon Strings
Nylon Strings are made from Nylon material, and they have more elasticity than typical steel strings used in acoustic guitars and electric guitars.
Nylon Strings are more sensitive to changes in temperature. Typically, newly installed nylon strings take up to 2 days to settle. So, you have to play the nylon string guitar extensively for 1-2 days, and the tuning will start to stabilize.
Quicker Ways To Stabilize The Strings
Playing new strings may feel jarring due to the tuning instability. But some hacks can reduce the time needed to settle the new guitar strings.
Stretching the Strings Manually
To reduce the tuning instability of new strings, you can stretch them with your hands on the fretboard. You should tighten the strings just enough to slide the fingers under the strings and stretch them with both hands.
This will help the strings to be stretched enough so that that it doesn’t distort much when tuned to scale.
Stretch Near The Saddle And Nut
While you are pulling the string, you may also consider pulling them near the guitar’s nut and saddle. This will also help the strings to get stabilized quickly.
Guitar Types And Tuning Stability
If you use an acoustic guitar or a nylon string guitar, then the tuning stability will depend on the tuning keys and nuts mostly. With high-quality tuning pegs and a good graphite nut, you can keep the tuning composure better.
For electric guitars, a fixed bridge guitar will stay more in tune than a guitar with a tremolo system. Tuning stability also depends on the tuning pegs and the nut used. The angle of the headstock also affects the tuning stability. The flatter the angle, the more stability.
That’s why Les Paul-style guitars seem to lose the tuning frequently and need retuning. If you use a Floyd Rose system with a floating bridge, it will come with a locking tuner on the nut. It has the highest stability in terms of tuning.
But if you install strings on your Floyd rose guitar, make sure to manually stretch the strings so that they can’t stretch anymore.
So, if you read the article all the way, you should have learned the answer to – how long do new guitar strings take to settle. Many factors in a guitar will affect the tuning, like the tuning pegs, angle of the headstock, the saddle, the nut. Also, temperature changes can flatten or sharpen the pitch.
So, our recommendation will be to change the guitar strings at least two days before you have any performance or recording to do. If you don’t want new strings’ bright and metallic tone, you have to wait for a week. Within this time, the guitar string will sound darker and mellower in terms of tonality.