Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to Tune a Guitar - The Easy Way

      

Many players use their digital tuners as a crutch and never really learn how to tune their instrument without one. What will you do if you misplace your tuner or are handed a guitar and asked to jam along?
Tuning your guitar is a painless process since the invention of digital tuners. However some guitar instructors still prefer to teach their students how to tune a guitar using traditional methods, or rather by ear. It is important to be able to tune a guitar without the use of a tuner. For example, what if you were at a friends house and were asked to jam along on an old acoustic guitar that looked like it hadn't been played, let alone tuned, in a year or more and to make matters worse nobody has a tuner. The following method will show you how to tune a guitar quickly and easily so you can be confident that you are in tune.

Unlike digital tuners that usually only allow you to tune your guitar in standard tuning, learning how to tune a guitar by ear will let you effortlessly match lower tunings which sometimes are desired for a fuller, deeper acoustic sound. To begin you will need to first tune the sixth string to a note played by another guitar, a key on the piano, or the fourth string on a bass guitar. Once the first note is established the rest is a piece of cake.

As you may have guessed your second step is to tune the fifth and adjacent string. You can do so by playing the fifth fret on the sixth string and tuning the fifth string until both pitches sound the same. Do the same for the fourth, third, and first strings. But wait a minute! You forgot... The second string I know. The reason I omitted it above is because in order to tune the second string you will need to play the forth fret on the third string and tune to that pitch.

Let's review how to tune a guitar. Get your starting pitch from another player, instrument, or favorite recording. Tune all other adjacent strings by matching the pitch at the fifth fret on the previously "in tune" string, except for the second string. Remember to use the fourth fret on the third string to get your second string pitch. That's it! Now you know how to tune an acoustic guitar the easy way. Let's jam!

25 comments:

  1. awesome i have lots of friends who play the guitar this is quality information

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  2. Ahhh but the digital tuner is so much quicker

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  3. I really wish I had another acoustic - I have a tendency to break them, gone through 3 so far.. still have my original Ibanez I got when i turned 14 though, only thing I've had to do to it was change the strings, put some super slinkies on it

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  4. Yeah that's true but you wont always have a tuner on you :P

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  5. i don't know. i just have really bad ears.

    i just downloaded a digital tuner on my phone. but if you have more guitar advice... ill be following.

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  6. Learning how to play guitar is still on my to do list. Would be fucking epic to just jam out the Holy Wars solos when ever I feel the need.

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  7. Dude I'm so glad I found you, I always wanted to actually learn to play on the guitar. I've got one from my friend it's a Fender Squier. I'm nearing my third X so I don't intend to be a rockstar, just some basictunes and riffs, you know having fun, mostly for myself

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  8. I use a digital tuner and fine tune with harmonics

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  9. i would definitely go digital. The human ear is only "so good." I think they can do this for free for you in alot of the big corporate music stores like Guitar City.

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  10. Eddy Ate Dynamite, Good Bye Eddie.

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  11. As a beginner I've been using AP Tuner to tune my guitar, but after some time I just realized that it takes too much time to get up from bed and grab the microphone so I learned how do to it "by ear"- just tune until you get resonance. Of course I need E sound from tuning fork or any other source.

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  12. Every Awesome Dick Gets Boobs Excited.

    that's the mnemonic device i created when i was eleven for the notes of standard tuning. haha.

    but seriously, tuning by ear is an invaluable skill to have as a guitarist. everyone should put some serious effort into learning how.

    Great post, man!

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  13. I learnt to tune first by ear, then i learnt how to use a tuner and i do fine with both

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  14. This is so relevant to my interests, is: just learning guitar
    Cheers!

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  15. My biggest problem with tuning my guitar is that I can't do it by ear so i always have to have some reference. One day I'm going to learn by ear. One day, haha.

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  16. I just bought some new strings for my guitar, but i use only the power chords also dont have a tuner. I hope i wont need all strings to tune it.

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  17. cool guitars are awesome, especially electric


    add me back

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  18. I'll reread this as soon as I get a guitar, man

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  19. There is little else more annoying than some frat bro playing a guitar that is way out of tune

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  20. i agree that people lean on electronic tuners way too much - keep spreading the good info

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  21. Ah, doing it the old school way!

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  22. i love old school stuff, thats the way people became who they are today!

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