Guitar Tuning

All you need to know about Guitar Tuning

Guitar Tuning

Here you find everything about Guitar Tuning you ever need to know.

How Often Should I Tune my Guitar?

Every single time you pick it up. Guitars (particularly cheaper ones) tend to go out of tune quickly. Make sure it’s in tune when you begin to play it, and check the tuning frequently while you’re practicing, as the act of playing the guitar can cause it to go out of tune.

How Long Does Guitar Tuning Take?

At first, it may take you five minutes or more to get your instrument in tune, but the more familiar you are with tuning, the more quickly you’ll be able to do it. Many guitarists can get their instrument roughly in tune in about 30 seconds.

Start By Tuning The 6th String

Even though you could use the following tuning method without first tuning your 6th string, we are going to tune the guitar to standard pitch in this lesson. The 6th string is the thickest string, and sounds the lowest. Try to hear if the 6th string on your guitar sounds higher or lower than the note you are hearing below. Then try match your guitar to the note you are hearing. As you are listening to the 2 notes, try and hear the “crashing” sound that comes from the notes being out of tune. The closer you are to being in tune, the further away the notes will crash.

To raise the pitch of a string, turn the tuning pegs that face up counter clockwise. If the tuning pegs face down then turn clockwise. Reverse the direction to lower the pitch. Never turn the tuning pegs unless the note is ringing. Otherwise, you will have no idea how far to turn the tuning peg!

Here’s the low E as MIDI File, listen to it by downloading it or playing it right in the browser: Low E midi tune

Once you have your 6th string in tune, you are going to tune the rest of the strings from there.
Play the note on the 6th string, 5th fret. Listen to the note, then try and tune the 5th string until it matches that pitch (A).

If you use your left hand to tune the string, you will have to remember what the note you are aiming for sounds like. This is difficult for many beginning guitar player, so here is an option that may help. Use your right hand to tune, therefore you will be hearing both notes at the same time as you are tuning. This will let you here the “crashing” of the two notes together. As you get closer to being in tune the crashing will get further away, until it stops and you are in tune.

Use the same method to tune the rest of the strings. The only string that is different is the 3rd string. On the 3rd string you are going to play the 4th fret instead of the 5th to tune the 2nd string open.

As tablature it would look like this:

Basic Guitar Tuning

Basics of Guitar Tuning by using the piano

Of course this assumes that the piano is in tune. Sometimes trying to tune to a piano that has not been tuned in years can do more harm than good.

This is what you should look after when playing the guitar, especially if you have played another instrument. Music for the guitar sounds an octave lower than where it is written. If you try and tune the guitar to the piano thinking that they are exactly the same, you will break all of your strings. You would be trying to tune the guitar an octave higher than where it should be.

Guitar Tuning by using an electric tuner

Using an electronic tuner is a great way to make sure you are always in tune. These tuners are small, inexpensive, run on batteries, and fit in your guitar case. Every player should own one since they assure you of being tuned to concert pitch. Most electronic tuners have built-in microphones for tuning acoustic instruments and a jack so you can plug in an electric. In noisy situations, these can be lifesavers.

Using an electronic tuner is the quickest and most accurate way to tune your guitar. Electronic tuners are small battery-run devices that indicate whether or not your guitar is in tune.

1) Plug the guitar into the tuner, then pluck a string and watch the indicator.
2) Check the indicator – a flashing light and/or a meter. It will tell you how close you are to the right pitch and whether you are sharp or flat.
3) Adjust your tuning accordingly by turning the string’s tuning key.
4) Repeat this procedure for all six strings of the guitar.

Right, it’s just as easy as that and it won’t get more difficult. Tuning your guitar by using an electric tuner is probably the easiest approach but it doesn’t train your ear!

Tuning down a half step!

Many popular bands and guitar players tune their guitars down a half step. Sometimes this is done to accommodate a singer. Other guitarists tune down to get a deeper/heavier sound. Of course, using an electronic tuner is the easiest and fastest way to tune down, but you can also do it quickly and easily by ear. Here’s how:

Tune the open 6th string down a half step to this note (Eb.) The 6th string will not be the same exact pitch as the fretted note on the 5th string, it will actually be an octave lower. The 6th string will sound lower (in pitch) than the 5th string, but they will still both be Eb notes. If you have ever tuned your high E string (open 1st string) to your low E string (open 6th string) you have used this technique (the E strings are 2 octaves apart.) Listen carefully and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Once you have your open 6th string tuned down to Eb, then continue to tune the guitar as you normally would.

Guitar Tuning Tips!

Often, new guitarists have a very hard time tuning their guitar. Learning to listen to pitches very closely, then fine-tune them, is a skill that takes practice. In teaching situations, I’ve found some students can’t easily listen to two notes, and identify which is higher, or which is lower – they only know they don’t sound the same. If you’re having a similar problem, try this:

Listen to, and play the first note. While the note is still ringing, try humming that note. Continue to play the note, until you’ve managed to match the pitch with your voice. Next, play the second note, and again, hum that note. Repeat this – playing and humming the first note, then follow that by playing and humming the second note. Now, try humming the first note, and without stopping, moving to the second note. Did your voice go down, or up? If it went down, then the second note is lower. If it went up, the second note is higher. Now, make the adjustment to the second note, until they both sound the same.

This may seem like a silly exercise, but it does often help. Soon, you’ll be able to recognize the difference in pitches without humming them.

And always tune up to the correct pitch (C# to D, for example) instead of down (Eb to D). This keeps tension on the string and holds the pitch longer. Tuning down to a pitch can leave your string loose and it will probably go flat.

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