Tuning your guitar is an important skill to learn early on, because let’s face it, nobody sounds good playing an out-of-tune instrument.
There are actually *several* different ways to tune a guitar. Let’s go through them:
1. Using A Tuner
The most common way to tune a guitar is to use a Tuner, which is just a little electronic device that “listens” to your strings and tells you what note you’re playing. You have to turn the tuning pegs on the guitar until the strings are all turned to the correct tightness.
Here is a video which takes you through the process, quick and easy:
Video coming very soon!
2. Using An App on Your Smartphone, or Another Instrument
Since just about everyone has a smartphone, there are a myriad of free apps available to help you tune your guitar. This can be even more handy than using a separate tuner because everyone has their phone near them. The only drawback is that these apps may only give you notes for Standard Tuning (a guitar can be tuned to many different “altered” tunings).
Here is a video using one free tuning app on the Apple App Store called “Guitar Tuner” (imagine that):
Video coming very soon!
Instead of an app, you can also use any instrument that is already in tune. For example if you are playing guitar with a friend, just have him or her play each string one at a time and you can turn your tuning pegs until you match them. It doesn’t even have to be another guitar – you could use a piano too! Anything that can play the same notes you need to tune to.
3. Using Just the Guitar
This is the coolest way to tune your guitar in my opinion, and the only catch is that you have to be able to tune a single string by ear. If you can do that, you can actually tune all the other strings based on that.
In standard tuning, the strings are all tuned a certain number of frets apart from each other. In fact, they are all 5 frets apart, except for the G and B strings, there are only 4 frets between those.
So for example, if you tune the 6th string (low E) by ear, what you do next is play the 5th fret of that string. That note is A, the same A that the 5th string should be tuned to. So just as in method #2 using a smartphone app, you just compare the 5th string to the 6th string, 5th fret until they match. When finished, you have tuned a string without using anything other than the guitar itself!
You can continue this method for the remaining strings too, until they are all tuned.
My suggestion is that you always try to use this method. Memorize what the 6th string (low E) sounds like. Use a song like Led Zeppelin’s Communication Breakdown which starts out by playing that E note several times in a row to help you remember. Once you’ve got it, you’ll never need anything to tune your guitar again!
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