Guitar Tuning Methods - How To Tune Your Guitar Correctly

Guitar Tuning Methods

Many professional musicians tend to use electronic tuners to tune their guitars, (or get their roadies to do it); these can be purchased for a modest fee from most music shops.

For most beginner or hobby guitarists the preferred method is by ear. As well as obviously working to tune the instrument the very act of tuning this way is good training for the novice musicians' ear.

There are several ways to tune a guitar by ear; the easiest way for the beginner is relative tuning whereby each string is tuned to the preceding string to it. Many intermediate or advanced players prefer to use harmonics as a more accurate method, another more accurate technique still although slightly more complicated is to tune the instrument using equal temperament.

The following methods assume that the first string is already tuned to the correct pitch either by adjusting the pitch to a correctly tuned piano or by other means such as a pitch pipe or tuning fork.

Guitar Tuning Methods - How To Tune Your Guitar Correctly

Relative tuning:

With relative tuning, begin by fretting an A note on the low E string at the 5th fret, while this note is still ringing out pick the open A string and adjust the tuning until the pitch of the two notes match.

Tip No. 1. It is always best to detune the string being tuned downwards in pitch first (loosen off), and then tune up to the correct pitch (tighten up).

Tip No. 2. When tuning try to listen out for a wobble in the sound, the more out of tune the two notes are then the faster the wobble will be and as you tune the second note up to the pitch of the first the wobble will slow down to nothing until the two are perfectly attuned.

After tuning the A string, repeat the procedure with the D string fretting the D note on the 5th fret of the A string and tuning the open D string to the same pitch.

Repeat once again with the G string, things change slightly when it comes to tuning the B string for the B note on the G string is located at the fourth fret not the 5th.

Finally, tune the open E string to the E note located once again at the 5th fret on the B string above.

Harmonic tuning:

In this method, the guitar is tuned using predominantly the natural harmonics located at the 5th and 7th frets of each string.

Tip No.3. To sound a natural harmonic on your guitar lightly touch the string directly above the fret wire indicated only gently though the string must not be pressed against the actual fret board. This may take a bit of practice to achieve initially.

Assuming the low E string is already tuned strike a natural harmonic above the 5th fret, while this note is still sounding strike a harmonic at the 7th fret on the A string and tune that note up to the harmonic of the E string.

Repeat this procedure for tuning the D and G strings sounding harmonics on the 5thand 7th frets respectively.

Once again, due to the nature of the guitar fret board the tuning technique changes slightly for the B string, in this instance sound a harmonic at the 7th fret on the low E string and tune the open B string to that pitch.

For the high E string return to the previous scenario strike a harmonic at the 5th fret on the B string and strike one at the 7th fret on the E string tuning it again until the two pitches match.

Equal Temperament Tuning:

The science behind equal tempered tuning is more complex. Basically, while trying not to delve in to the physics of sound waves and harmonic principles the object here is to tune the guitar in such a way that across the entire fret board we are equally in tune across all twelve keys (actually slightly detuned).

While tuning your guitar using the first two methods described in this article you should have noticed that your open chords sound really nice and indeed barre chords played at the low end of the neck sound good also, but the further you move up the guitar neck with the same shape barre chord the less in tune your instrument begins to sound. You can combat this to a degree by using equal temperament tuning which is basically compromising the tuning in some keys to allow for better tuning in all of the other keys.

The method for this tuning technique is described below.

First strike a natural harmonic at the 5th fret low E string while this note is still ringing play an E note on your open high E string and tune the high E to the harmonic so both E strings are now tuned.

Next strike a another harmonic on the low E string this time at the 12th fret, now play the E note at the 2nd fret on the D string and tune this to the harmonic.

Now play a harmonic at the 12th fret on the D string and play the D note at the 3rdfret on the B string again tune the B string till both notes are in unison.

Strike the same harmonic at the 12th fret on the D string and fret a D note on the G string at the 7th fret and tune.

At this point you can check the tunability of the instrument by sounding a harmonic at the 12th fret on the G string and comparing it to the already tuned G note at the 3rdfret on the High E string.

Finally to tune the A string, fret an A note at the 2nd fret on the G string and strike the harmonic at the 12th fret on the A string then tune the A string accordingly.

For more great resources and tools plus some of the most popular online tuition services and online equipment specialists visit http://allthingsguitar.webs.com/index.htm your one stop shop for all things guitar.

by Paul Anthony Hornsby; Friday, April 13, 2012 @ 10:13 AM [3467]

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