Dwayne's Guitar Lessons

One of the most frustrating aspects of playing guitar for new students can be learning how to tune it. Most students understand the concept of how the tuning keys change the pitch of the string and know this is how you tune it, but there is always a question about whether or not it was done properly.

Now the first recommendation I would make is to purchase an electronic tuner. Digital tuners can be purchased at any music store that sells guitars and aren’t too expensive.  Personally myself, I think they should sell them with the guitar when you purchase one, but it’s not often the case. tuner 2 These types of tuners are easy to use and battery operated so they can be taken anywhere. They are also very accurate and, if used properly, you can rest assured that you will always be in tune.

Having the guitar in tune is very important because a out of tune guitar will never sound right.  What you play won’t sound pleasant to the ear, so it is a good idea to get in the habit of checking your tuning every time you sit down to play the guitar. Strings have a habit of going out of tune due to environmental and temperature changes and a guitar that was in tune yesterday may very well  out today. This is because a guitar is made of wood and metal.

In case you are unfamiliar with the mechanics of tuning, there are 6 tuning keys attached to the headstock of the guitar, and a string is attached to each of these tuning keys By turning the knob of a tuning key in one direction you will tighten the string and cause the pitch of the note to go higher (sharp), and by turning the key in the opposite direction you will loosen the string and cause the note to go lower (flat). When using an electronic guitar tuner we simply adjust the tuning key on the headstock of the string until the meter or needle of the electronic tuner indicates the string is in proper pitch. This happens when the needle is straight up and the light turns green. (just like in the picture.  If the needle is too far to the right, the string is too sharp and needs to be loosened.  If the needle is too far to the left, the string is too loose and needs to be tightened.  It’s always best to tune up to pitch.

Conclusion

So there you have it.  A simple way to tune your guitar and make sure that whatever you play, no matter if it’s just strumming 3 chords.  Your guitar will sound good and the music you create will be pleasant listening to the ear. So get a tuner for your guitar either at your local store, online or get the FREE app “Guitar Tuna” for your smart phone (if you have one) and always make sure your guitar sounds great when you play it. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the open A (5th) string is in tune simply repeat the process on that string by playing the note on the 5th fret of the A string to get the proper pitch for the D or 4th string.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the open D (4th) string is in tune repeat the same process again, this time playing the note on the 5th fret of the D string to get the proper pitch for the G (3rd) string.

 

 

By now you can see a pattern developing in the tuning process but in this next step you will make one minor change.

Once the G (3rd) string is in tune, play the note on the 4th fret (not the 5th!) to get the pitch for the open B (2nd) string. This is the only different one to be concerned with.

 

 

 

 

 

And lastly, once the open B (2nd) string is in tune go back and play the note on the 5th fret of the B string to get the pitch for the open E (1st) string.

This is a little more work than using an electronic tuner, but try to practice this method and get used to it because it will really help train your ears to hear the notes on the guitar. It will also come in handy if something happens and you find yourself without your electronic tuner. Try this a few times and before you know it you’ll  be tuning your guitar like a pro!

 

 

Try this a few times and before you know it you’ll  be tuning your guitar like a pro!

 

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Copyright Dwayne Jenkins, 2011