How To Tune A Guitar


Tuning a guitar is an essential skill that all guitarists must learn since it makes a huge difference in the quality of sound produced. Therefore, if you are passionate about your guitar playing skills, this is something that you need to learn. This is contrary to what most beginners think of guitar tuning as a chore that needs to be done from time to time. 

But how do you properly tune your guitar? If this is something you have been asking yourself, here is a detailed article by Trusty Guitar on the different ways you can tune your guitar. 

Using an Electronic Tuner

There are many different types of tuners available on the market, including best locking tuners, handheld tuners, pedal tuners, tablet/smartphone tuners, and clip-on tuners. The price of these tuners ranges between $15 to $20, and any of them is an excellent choice for tuning your guitar. When looking to use an electronic tuner, there are several steps you need to follow. However, before you can do this, you need to calibrate your tuner: The first thing you should do before tuning your guitar is setting the calibration setting on your tuner to A 440Hz. It would be best if you always did this, or else the sound produced by your guitar will be somewhat off. 

Step 1

The first thing to do is making sure all strings are in line with the proper note name. When tuning the low E string, you need first to set the note to E, after which you can fine-tune the E note to ensure it is perfect. 

Step 2 

Once the tuner shows the correct note name for the string you are playing, you should start fine-tuning the note by gradually moving the tuning key until the tuning needle is at the center. 

An important tip you should observe when tuning is to tune-up rather than to tune down. For example, if your guitar is producing a sharp note, it is best to come down first and then tune it up to the desired note. By doing this, the strings will remain in tune for an extended duration. 

Step 3 

Acoustic guitars are usually made of wood, so it is vital to go through all the strings once you are done tuning the strings. This is crucial since adjusting the string tensions can alter your guitar’s performance. 

How to Tune Your Guitar by Ear?   

Another effective method of tuning your guitar is to tune your guitar by ear and is a crucial technique every guitar player needs to learn. When tuning by ear, you do not use any app or tuner, and it entails tuning the guitar to itself. Using this tuning technique, you are given one string close enough or a single string in tune from the external reference point. 

When tuning other strings, this should also be the starting point, and this might eventually get the guitar to sound “right.” However, your guitar may still not yet be in tune according to what is generally considered the right tune.

The steps to follow when tuning your guitar by ear when starting with the sixth string are; 

  • Start by playing the sixth string’s fifth fret while listening to it. 
  • You should then start playing the fifth string and listen to the tune. 
  • Begin tuning the open fifth string until it matches the pitch produced by the sixth string’s fifth fret. Keep doing this repeatedly until you feel the tune of the fifth string is perfect. 
  • Play the fifth string’s 5th fret and carefully listen to it.
  • After that, play the open fourth string while keenly listening to it. 
  • Start tuning the open fourth string until it matches the pitch being produced by the fifth string’s 5th fret. 
  • Repeat this process several times to confirm that the fourth string has, without a doubt, achieved the perfect tune. 
  • Repeat this process when playing the third string. 
  • During the second string’s tuning, make sure to play the third string’s 4th fret instead of the 5th like it was done with all other strings. 
  • Subsequently, you should go back to the second string’s 5th fret before proceeding to tune the first open string. 

Bottom Line 

You can tune your classical guitar using different methods, and each of these has its strengths and weaknesses. Reading through this article has provided you with valuable insights into how to tune your guitar using your ear or an electronic tuner. By following the steps mentioned above, you will be able to achieve the desired pitch and master your tuning skills.