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To Detune Or Not To Detune


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Does anyone know the correct method to storing a Gibson Les Paul Custom, If it is in the case and going to sit for weeks at a time is it best to leave it detuned or does it really make any difference? I have a number of guitars and I dont play the Les Paul all that much because I like it so it sits more than being played.

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I keep my guitars tuned to concert pitch at all times. I have guitars that I've owned for over 40 years, and I have guitars that are 60-70 years old. NEVER had a neck problem.


It's my engineering opinion that the truss rod is designed to counteract the tension of the strings, and therefore creates an "equilibrium", holding the neck in proper position with "action" and "reaction", as explained by "Newton's third law of motion", one of the basic principles of physics.

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I too, have several guitars that are over 40 years old (one is 62 years old...My '54 Gibson J-160E)

and it's neck is as straight and true, as it's ever been, and has needed little to no "maintenance"

over that entire time. It has as good (and low) "action" as any of my solid bodied electric's.

They have all been stored tuned to concert pitch.


Guitars stored, for a length of time, will go out of tune, to varying degrees, anyway. They're wood,

and wood is effected by humidity, and temperature. But, as long as it's stored in a humidity & temperature

stable environment, you shouldn't have to worry about them, beyond re-tuning, several times, until they

become "stable" at pitch, again.




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Too little too late probably, but I leave all guitars set to standard tuning, no matter what.

Long term life in the case, hanging on the wall ready to play, or whatever.


Never had a problem with the necks, and sometimes I am wonderfully surprised to pull a guitar out of the case after a few months in there and discover that it is still perfectly in tune!!


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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that detuning is employed when transporting guitars over distances, like putting them on a plane or such.

This is in fact done rather often. It's a double-edged sword though. The truss-rod would also have to be loosened appropriately, and it would have to be well documented to match the most likely setting with the subsequent readjustment. Otherwise it may take significant period until the adjustment will be solid again. Some guitars would call for lots more efforts, for instance Floyd Rose-equipped instruments.


I never tuned any guitar or bass flat before shipment. There have been only road transports though. Until now I didn't encounter any problem. One of the Gibson SG basses I bought via web arrived tuned three steps flat which brought down tension about 30%. All the other instruments including another SG bass came properly tuned.


I was asking five retailers before they shipped valuable and in three cases even irreplaceable instruments to me. There have been lots of Gibsons among them, most of them with mahogany neck. The dealers told me that damages in transit are extremely seldom here. Over the years several dozens of packets and parcels containing other musical gear, mainly electronic equipment, also arrived in good order. I have definitely no reason for any complaint about shipment.

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