guitartuner's Blog

Tuning a Guitar - Strategies for Tuning a Guitar by Ear

Categories: Blog April 14, 2015 @ 1:11 PM 0 Comments      

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Tuning an acoustic guitar can be tough at first. We've all been there at some point. Going rushing home from your store with my first guitar, keen to obtain playing, but then realising which i had no idea how to go about tuning it. It could be incredibly frustrating and there is a strong temptation for your beginner guitarist to read over the importance of good guitar tuning.

Tuning an acoustic guitar is a fundamentally important skill for everyone to get to grips with when needs to learn guitar. It is extremely often the first challenge that most people face since they begin their musical journey, but if you fail at this first hurdle there is every chance that you could give up on learning guitar altogether. It doesn't matter how good your playing is, if the guitar is out of tune, it's sure to sound terrible.

One option is to get your guitar teacher or a friend to tune your guitar for you. This is fine as a quick fix to get you started however it is not a satisfactory solution to the problem because, and this will be no surprise to you, guitars walk out tune! They can go out of tune as you play them or as environmental factors change. If you are relying on someone else to tune playing the guitar for you, what do you do when they are not there to help?

Guitars may go out of tune for almost any number of reasons. Tuning pegs could be accidentally knocked, temperature changes can cause expansion and contraction from the different component elements of your guitar, which has an influence on the tension of the strings and thus on the tuning.

Unless you learn how to tune playing the guitar correctly, your playing will not sound good. So what can you do about it?

Well, I'm going to give you foolproof instructions regarding how to tune your guitar the right way.

To begin with, you need to make sure that your 6th string is properly in tune. The 6th string may be the thickest string on your guitar and ought to be tuned to E. This can be achieved in any number of ways. In case you are playing with other musicians, the best way is to get one of them, including the pianist, to play the note E to enable you to tune your 6th string with it.

Being in tune using the other musicians inside your band is very important. If you are all slightly from tune relative to each other, even if each individual guitar is correctly tuned in accordance with its own 6th string, the result will be a discordant cacophony. This is never a good result.

Yet another way would be to use an electronic tuner, pitch pipe or tuning fork to make certain your 6th string is in tune. However, this relies on the other members of your band also finding yourself in tune with the pitch pipe etc. As mentioned, make sure you and your fellow musicians are all in tune relative to each other.

Once you've got your 6th string correctly in sync, you can tune another strings relative to it. You are doing this by playing the 5th fret of the 6th string and using that as the reference note for tuning outdoors 5th string. You do the same for the 4th string (5th fret of the 5th string should be the same as the open 4th string) etc all the way across the guitar fretboard. There's one exception to the, and that is the 2nd string, which has to be tuned to the 4th fret from the 3rd string.

When you have carried out this process carefully, it is wise to go back to the beginning and double-check each string remains in tune. This is because sometimes, as you adjust the tension of the strings further across the guitar fretboard, you are able to alter the tension from the previous strings as a result of small movements with the neck resulting from the changing forces exerted through the strings.

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