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How to tune your guitarWhen you first pick up a guitar, it will likely be out of tune, which means the notes of open strings will not be E, A, D, G, B, and E. In order for the notes you play to sound right, youíll need to adjust each open string to bring it back in tune.
How to Use the Tuning Pegs
You can adjust the pitch of each string by tightening or loosening the tuning pegs on the guitarís headstock. Turning a peg away from you tunes its string higher in pitch. Turning it toward you tunes the string lower.
Standard Tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E)
Each string on the guitar can be tuned to sound any note when played open. But the vast majority of songs are written for guitars that are tuned to what is called standard tuning: E, A, D, G, B, and E. All beginners learn to play guitar using standard tuning.
How to Tune Using the 5th Fret Method
The most common way to tune a guitar to standard tuning is called the 5th fret method. In this method, you tune the six strings of the guitar in pairs, by comparing the sound of a fretted note with the sound of an open string. If the guitar is in tune, both strings should sound the same. To tune using the 5th fret method, complete these written steps or refer to the following fret diagram:
We start at the 6th string, this is the fattest string on your
guitar, and when played open it's an E note. You will need either a harmonica,
pitch pipe, tuning fork, or any other instrument so you can hear the note. All
you do is turn the tuning peg until the note on the guitar sounds like the E
note that you've just played. Once you have that first note you proceed in an
orderly manner tuning one string after another. Press down on the 5th fret of
the 6th string...then play the 5th string open. The 6th string with the 5th fret
pressed down is the same note as the 5th string played open. Turn the tuning peg
until the 5th string sounds like the 6th string with the 5th fret depressed.
Now the pattern continues and you press down the 5th fret on the 5th string...then play the 4th string open. Once again, tune until these two notes sound the same. Then move onto the next string...Press down on the 5th fret of the 4th string and tune the 3rd string to this note. Once you get to the third string there is a different pattern...you press down on the 4th fret of the 3rd string and then tune the 2nd string to this note. Finally you press down the 5th fret of the 2nd string and tune the open 1st string to this note.
There you have it, a tuned guitar, as a sidenote, you can tune your guitar without having the 6th string in tune with E...this just will mean that your guitar is in tune with itself, but you would need to tune it to the E if you wanted to play with other musicians. Website Tune your guitar.
This is also called standard tuning [E A D G B E] and is used by most guitarists, however, this is not the only way to tune your guitar. You can tune it in any variety of ways...but for the beginner this is the tuning that you'll most likely always use.
The following diagram of the 5th fret method makes things easier to visualize. Fret each string where the dots appear. While that fretted note is still ringing, play the next string open and tune the strings until they sound the same.
Tuning Forks and Electronic Tuners
For the 5th fret method to work, the 6th string must start off in tune and sound an E when played open. If itís not in tune, youíll end up tuning the entire guitar based on the wrong reference note. Two common tuning tools can help:
A metal, Y-shaped tool that sounds a specific note when struck with a hard object. Sound the fork and tune the 6th string to match it.
A digital device that can identify the frequency (and thus the pitch) of each string as you play it and indicate whether you should tune it higher or lower. An electronic tuner can be used to tune just the 6th string or all six strings.
Donít Get Addicted to Electronic Tuners
Though electronic tuners are handy and very easy to use, itís crucial to know how to tune "by ear" using the 5th fret method for two reasons:
1. You wonít always have a tuner available.
2. If you play as part of a band or music group, youíll need to tune to other guitars or instruments by ear.