No matter whether you play an acoustic or an electric guitar, it’s unlikely to sound very good unless it’s in tune. But just how do you tune a guitar? If you’re not sure exactly how to do it, this blog will give you a couple of different methods. And best of all, it’s quite easy.
While there is more than one way to tune a guitar, most songs are played using a standard tuning and that’s what we’ll be looking at here. From the thickest to the thinnest strings, you should tune your guitar to the following notes: E – A – D – G – B – E. If you have trouble remembering the order of the notes, perhaps the following saying will help you: Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie. If you’re tuning a bass guitar with 4 strings, you’ll only need the first four notes: E – A – D – G.
Two methods for tuning your guitar
Essentially, there are two ways to tune your guitar: by ear or with the help of a tuner.
Method 1: tuning your guitar by ear
Tuning your guitar by ear takes a little practice and there is more than one way to do it. The best way is to use something like a tuning fork or tuning pipes to get a reference pitch, although these days, you can also use an app on your phone or tablet. Now that you know which notes to tune each string to, all you have to do is play the relevant reference pitch, pluck the appropriate string and tighten or loosen it using the tuning pegs found at the end of the headstock until the pitch and the string sound the same. You’ll need to tune each string in turn and once you’re done, it’s worth checking them again to see if they need any final adjustments.
It’s also possible to tune a guitar to itself, but using this method means you might not be in tune with other instruments or music if you want to play along. To tune a guitar to itself, you can use the following method. Press the thickest E string down at the fifth fret and tune the A string below to the same note. Then press the A string down at the fifth fret and tune the D string below to the same note. Then press the D string down at the fifth fret and tune the G string below to the same note. When it comes to the G string, you need to press it down at the fourth fret and tune the B string below to the same note. Lastly, press the B string down at the fifth fret to tune the thinnest E string. Again, it’s worth checking all the notes once you’re done to see if they need any final adjustments. The guitar should now be in tune with itself, which known as relative tuning.
Method 2: tuning your guitar with a tuner
The easiest and most accurate way to tune your guitar is by using a tuner, of course, and this is the method we recommend. A clip-on tuner is particularly handy. This simply clips on to your instrument and as soon as you pluck a string, it’ll show you which note is being played. If the note isn’t at the correct pitch, it’ll also indicate whether you need to tighten or loosen the string to make it perfect. Tighten or loosen the string by turning the relevant tuning peg until the tuner shows that the note is just right. There are also tuners that use a built-in microphone to detect notes, while you can connect your guitar to some other tuners using an instrument cable. Whatever tuner you use, the tuning process is virtually the same.
We hope this blog has given you a better idea of how easy it can be to tune a guitar. There are other factors that you should be aware of too, however, as things like temperature and humidity can affect an instrument’s tuning. You’ll probably find it more difficult to tune an instrument with new strings on it at first as well, but the strings will stay in tune better after a short period of time. Any adjustments made to the neck or the bridge can also affect an instrument’s tuning. It’s good practice to check your instrument’s tuning every time you play.
My Tuner isn’t Responding!
When your tuner has stopped working properly, meaning it’s become less responsive or less accurate, it’s probably time to swap out the battery for a fresh one – even if the display still lights up. Find fresh batteries here.