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you won't sound your best when your guitar is out of tune

The Easy Guide To Tuning A Guitar

Playing the guitar is as exciting as it gets. But you won't sound your best when your guitar is out of tune. It’s the one thing that can break your guitar-playing skills, so it’s important to learn how to tune a guitar correctly.

Let’s walk through tuning a guitar to help you play better.

The Basics of Tuning the Guitar

You need to understand the basic rules of guitar tuning. The most popular tuning profile is the standard tuning, where the notes are tuned from thickest to thinnest—E, A, D, G, B, E.

Following this arrangement will make tuning easier for you. To help you memorize the sequence better, remember the mnemonics "Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears" and "Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie."

Tuning Your Guitar with an Electronic Tuner

Electronic tuners provide an accurate tuning of your guitar. They’re either microphone-based or clip-on, which you can easily attach to the guitar’s headstock and play each string.

Follow these steps when tuning your guitar:

  • Turn on the tuner and choose the setting for a particular string that you need to tune.

  • Pluck the string of your choice.

  • Take note of the tuner’s display if the note is sharp, flat, or in tune.

  • Turn the tuning pegs on the guitar neck to raise or lower the pitch. Stop turning when the note is already in tune.

  • Do the same for the other strings to tune them properly.

The other types of electronic tuners include vibration-based and pedal/plug-in tuners. Whichever electronic tuner you choose, make sure to tune your guitar properly.

Tuning Your Guitar with a Smartphone App

It’s okay if you haven’t bought an electronic tuner yet. You can download a guitar tuner app online!

The standard guitar tuning goes as usual, but this time, you need to turn on your phone’s microphone when using the app. This helps pick up sounds and determine if your guitar is out of tune. Follow the app’s instructions until every guitar string is in tune.

Tuning a Guitar with Another Instrument

It helps when you play an instrument other than the guitar. If you still don’t have your own tuner or a tuning app on your smartphone, you can use a piano or a keyboard to tune your electric or acoustic guitar.

Find the same notes on another instrument and compare them with the guitar strings. Like the guitar’s low E string, the same E note should match on the piano. Play the note on the piano for reference. Adjust your guitar string’s pitch until it sounds like the piano. Repeat the same process for other strings, too.

Tuning Your Guitar by Ear

Tuning your guitar using your ear is an important skill in your musical journey. It helps you tune your guitar without any instrument. This might seem daunting in the first few tries. But constant practice will train your ear to know the correct pitch.

Here’s how you can use your ear in guitar tuning:

  • Tune the thickest string or the low E string to the correct pitch. Use a tuning fork to get a closer pitch or a note from another instrument.

  • Repeat the process for the rest of the strings. Use the low E string’s fifth fret to tune the A string and the A string’s fifth fret to tune the D string.

  • Fine-tune each string by comparing the pitch of an open string to the lower string’s fretted note. Adjust the tuning pegs until you match the two pitches.

Tips to Keep Your Guitar Properly Tuned

Whether electric guitars or acoustic ones, you need to tune them regularly. Follow these tips to keep your guitar in tune:

  • Change the strings when they sound dull or out of tune. Old strings aren’t as elastic as the new ones, making your guitar sound bad.

  • Stretch the strings to stabilize them. Gently pull up each string or play them repeatedly with any random song, even if you’re just playing open strings.

  • Put your guitar inside a durable gig bag or guitar case when not in use. Temperature and humidity changes can affect the tuning quality.

  • Check your tuning before practices and performance. If even one string, like the G string, sounds off, take the time to tune your guitar.

  • Use locker tuners to give your tuning some stability. They clamp the strings at the tuning peg to avoid any slips and out-of-tune notes.

Begin Your Guitar Journey with Online Lessons

Learning guitar is a journey that will take you deeper into the instrument's techniques. Nowadays, there are many ways to learn guitar, including signing up for online lessons.

With online guitar lessons, you can choose a course that fits your skill level. From beginner to advanced, these courses teach you the basics and the art of self-expression through guitar. You’ll also learn to change guitar strings and get tutorials to sharpen your skills.

Parting Words

Learning how to tune a guitar is a skill that’s as important as playing the instrument. The main goal is ensuring that each string is tuned correctly, whether you use your ear, an app, or an electronic tuner to pull it off. Taking care of your guitar and tuning it regularly lets you create and play more amazing music in the future.


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