tutorials

Tune Your Guitar

Tutorials > Acoustic & Eletric Guitar - Beginner

submited by Donkey Fly

Tune Your Guitar By Aaron Hetherington (Donkey Fly)



Tuning a guitar is the single most important concept for a beginning guitarist to learn. At the same time it is often their first stumbling block. If your guitar is not in tune, you will never sound good. Rather than having your friends tune your guitar for you all the time you should learn how to do it for yourself. This lesson contains instructions for a beginner to tune a 6 string guitar to standard tuning.

What you should know right away is that tuning a guitar is the single most important concept for a beginning guitarist to learn. At the same time it is often their first stumbling block. If your guitar is not in tune, you will never sound good. Rather than having your friends tune your guitar for you all the time you should learn how to do it for yourself.

To begin there are some important things to keep in mind when tuning your guitar:
You should get into the habit of tuning your guitar everytime you pick it up.

Always "tune up." You want to increase the tension of the string until it reaches the desired tone. If you go too far, loosen the string tension and tune up again.

The goal of tuning is to put your strings in tune with each other. In "standard tuning" your strings should be tuned to the following notes (low-to-high): EADGBe.

The easiest way to tune your guitar is to buy an electronic tuner. These are small devices that you can either plug your guitar lead into (of course with the other end in the guitar also) or you can use the built in microphone . These are often about 15 to 20 pounds, you can get them from all music shops around. If you are at a live perfrormance these are real handy. But just because you ahve one of these doesn't mean you should not learn the basics of tuning by ear.

The first thing you need to do when tuning your guitar is get a reference pitch. You should start with the low E string, also known as the sixth string. You can get a reference pitch by using another guitar that is in tune, a piano, a tuning fork, an electronic tuner or even a midi file on your computer.

Your goal is to tune your sixth string to sound exactly like the low E sound. To do this, play the pitch, then slowly adjust the tuning peg of your sixth string until the pitch of your guitar sounds exactly like the file. Remeber to tune up by increasing the string tension. If you tune too far give the string a lot of slack and start the process again. It is best if you eliminate all other noise from your area. That means turn off radios and anything else that may distract your ears. Once your sixth string is tuned to E you are ready to tune the other strings.

Next you are going to tune the fifth string A. To do that you must match the tone of the 6th string with the tone of the 5th. This is done by playing the same note on each string, one after the other. Place your the index or middle finger of your left hand just behind the 5th fret of the 6th string. Using your right hand play the 6th string at the 5th fret. Immediately after play the 5th string open - that is, no fingers on any fret. Listen to the two tones. As the two notes are still ringing use your right hand to adjust the 5th string's tuning peg. Remeber to tune up. Once both strings sound exactly the same your fifth string is in tune. The first thing you need to do when tuning your guitar is get a reference pitch. You should start with the low E string, also known as the sixth string. You can get a reference pitch by using another guitar that is in tune, a piano, a tuning fork, an electronic tuner or even a midi file on your computer.

Your goal is to tune your sixth string to sound exactly like the low E sound. To do this, play the pitch, then slowly adjust the tuning peg of your sixth string until the pitch of your guitar sounds exactly like the file. Remeber to tune up by increasing the string tension. If you tune too far give the string a lot of slack and start the process again. It is best if you eliminate all other noise from your area. That means turn off radios and anything else that may distract your ears. Once your sixth string is tuned to E you are ready to tune the other strings.

Next you are going to tune the fifth string A. To do that you must match the tone of the 6th string with the tone of the 5th. This is done by playing the same note on each string, one after the other. Place your the index or middle finger of your left hand just behind the 5th fret of the 6th string. Using your right hand play the 6th string at the 5th fret. Immediately after play the 5th string open - that is, no fingers on any fret. Listen to the two tones. As the two notes are still ringing use your right hand to adjust the 5th string's tuning peg. Remeber to tune up. Once both strings sound exactly the same your fifth string is in tune. The first thing you need to do when tuning your guitar is get a reference pitch. You should start with the low E string, also known as the sixth string. You can get a reference pitch by using another guitar that is in tune, a piano, a tuning fork, an electronic tuner or even a midi file on your computer.

Your goal is to tune your sixth string to sound exactly like the low E sound. To do this, play the pitch, then slowly adjust the tuning peg of your sixth string until the pitch of your guitar sounds exactly like the file. Remeber to tune up by increasing the string tension. If you tune too far give the string a lot of slack and start the process again. It is best if you eliminate all other noise from your area. That means turn off radios and anything else that may distract your ears. Once your sixth string is tuned to E you are ready to tune the other strings.

Next you are going to tune the fifth string A. To do that you must match the tone of the 6th string with the tone of the 5th. This is done by playing the same note on each string, one after the other. Place your the index or middle finger of your left hand just behind the 5th fret of the 6th string. Using your right hand play the 6th string at the 5th fret. Immediately after play the 5th string open - that is, no fingers on any fret. Listen to the two tones. As the two notes are still ringing use your right hand to adjust the 5th string's tuning peg. Remeber to tune up. Once both strings sound exactly the same your fifth string is in tune.

You are going to do the same to tune the 4th and 3rd strings. Once the 5th string sounds good, fret it at the 5th fret, and play the 4th string open. Adjust the 4th string's tuning peg to match the notes. Keep going to tune the 3rd string: fret the 4th string on the 5th fret, and play the 3rd string open, and match the notes. When it comes time to tune the 2nd string, you have to fret the 3rd string on the 4th fret (not the 5th), and play the second string open, and adjust the 2nd string's tuning peg. Tune the first string by fretting the 2nd string at the 5th fret, and play the first string open. Match the two tones, and you're done.

If you are really new to playing music you may have problems hearing if the sounds actually match. New guitarists tend to break a lot strings by tuning too far because they just don't know. There are ways to avoid this.

As mentioned earlier, the best way to make tuning really easy and painless is to buy an electronic tuner.

I hope this helps.

Aaron

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