How to tune a guitar

Glenn Sutton teaches guitar, electric bass, keyboard, theory and improvisation for over 30 years, he specializes in rock, blues, jazz, Latin, Brazilian, classical, country, and folk.

About Glenn Sutton

As a professional guitar teacher with 25 years of experience (see guitarlessonspoway.com), people sometimes ask me whether they should learn guitar tablature or standard music notation. This article and video explain each form of notation and I also give some guidelines as to which notation guitar students should learn. I have included the video I recorded at the end of this article.

Tuning Your Guitar

It is recommended that you memorize letter names of your guitar strings. Hold the guitar in a playing position. The closest string is the 6th string (fattest). It is a low E. The thin string is the 1st, closest to the floor. It is a high E.

  • 6th E
  • 5th A
  • 4th D
  • 3rd G
  • 2nd B
  • 1st E
electronic guitar tuner Guitar Lessons Poway 619-306-3664

Electronic guitar tuner
Guitar Lessons Poway 619-306-3664

The best way to tune your guitar is an electronic tuner. There is a built in microphone for acoustic guitars. Electric guitars can plug right into the tuner. A visual display (a moving needle or indicator lights) will read the string vibration. It will advise you to tune the string higher or lower. Turn the peg tighter to raise it pitch higher, loosen the string to lower the pitch. The Guitars with three tuners on each side can be tuned by this following procedure. Tighten the sixth string, fifth string, fourth string by turning the pegs counter clockwise, and tighten the third string, second string, and first string clockwise. Lower or loosen the strings in the opposite direction. To tune a guitar with six tuners in a row, turn all the tuning pegs counter clockwise to tighten the strings. Loosen the string by turning clockwise. Always tune the string from a lower pitch up to the correct note.

The Fifth Fret Method

If you don’t have an electronic tuner you will need a reference pitch from another source. A tuning fork, another guitar or even a piano/keyboard can work. Start off with tuning the sixth string E

Pluck the sixth string while fingering the fifth fret. Pluck the fifth string open. Let the notes ring together. Tune the fifth A string to the pitch of the sixth string.

Pluck the fifth string while fingering the fifth fret. Pluck the fourth string open. Let the notes ring together. Tune the fourth D string to the pitch of the fifth string.

Pluck the fourth string while fingering the fifth fret. Pluck the third string open. Let the notes ring together. Tune the third G string to the pitch of the fourth string.

Pluck the third string while fingering the fourth fret. Pluck the second string open. Let the notes ring together. Tune the second B string to the pitch of the third string.

Pluck the second string while fingering the fifth fret. Pluck the first string open. Let the notes ring together. Tune the first E string to the pitch of the second string.

Glenn Sutton
Ozzie’s Music
12222 Poway Road,
Suite #27
Poway,
California 92064

Phone 619-306-3664
858-679-6997

 

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