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How to tune a guitar

Updated on July 18, 2013

Easiest ways to tune your guitar and 10 tips and tricks

I will show you a couple of ways to tune your guitar to the normal EADGBe tuning.

A good reminder for the normal tuning is

EADGBe = Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears

or

EADGBe= Every Acid Dealer Gets Busted Eventually

So i will talk about

- Using an electronic guitar tuner

- Using an online tuner and a microphone

- Tuning your guitar by ear (in progress)

I also give you some tips and tricks to tune your guitar

1. Use an electronic guitar tuner

The fastest, easiest and most accurate way to tune your guitar, is to use an electronic guitar tuner.

An electronic tuner monitors the frequency of each of the six strings.

The best way is to use a cable from your guitar into your tuner. If you can't put a cable in your guitar, just pick a string and a built-in microphone from the tuner will capture the sound of the string, which allows you to tune your guitar.

The newest guitar clip tuners have a vibration function, so if you clip the tuner on your guitar head it will capture the vibration of the strings and you can even tune your guitar in places with a lot of surrounding noise.

For every method, the tuning of your guitar stays the same.

The display shows a needle and a note (E,A,D,G,B,e). If you pick your string the tuner will show you wich note you are playing and if it's in tune or not. If the needle is in the middle, this means you are on the right frequency of the note that is shown.

The first string (the one that is the closest to your face) should be an E. So tune up your guitar untill you see the E note and try to put the needle in the middle.

The second string (the one under the first string) should be an A. So do the same for this string and the others

Third string is a D

Fourth string is a G

Fifth string is a B

Sixth string is an E again.

My personal favorite tuner

Snark SN-8 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner
Snark SN-8 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner

- Tunes most instruments

- Has a tap tempo metronome

- Has a vibration sensor

- Has a transpose feature for tuning your guitar with a Capo

- It's a cheap deal

 
Snark SN1 Guitar Tuner (Blue)
Snark SN1 Guitar Tuner (Blue)

This tuner has a vibration sensor and a metronome

 
Snark SN-2 All Instrument Clip-On Chromatic Tuner (Red)
Snark SN-2 All Instrument Clip-On Chromatic Tuner (Red)

This tuner has a Tap Tempo Metronome, a vibration sensor and a built-in microphone

 
Fender Clip-On Tuner FT-004 for Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Violin, Mandolin, and Banjo
Fender Clip-On Tuner FT-004 for Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Violin, Mandolin, and Banjo

This tuner has a vibration sensor. The light turns green when the string is in tune.

 
Korg CA1 Chromatic Tuner
Korg CA1 Chromatic Tuner

This is a basic tuner with a built in microphone.

 
Online guitar tuner
Online guitar tuner

2. Use an online tuner and a microphone

The second way works the same as an electronic tuner. The only thing you need is a microphone.

There are a lot of different online tuners, i prefer the one from Playjam, you can find it here.

Just click on digital tuner and allow it to acces your microphone to tune your guitar. Now you just have to do the same as I explained here above with the electronical guitar tuner.

The good thing about an online tuner is that it's free to use but it's not as accurate as an electronical tuner and it's not portable.

Guitar Tuning Tips

1. Always tune your guitar before playing.

Every time you pick up your guitar to play, tune it first. There are a lot of reasons your guitar could be out of tune.

2. Find a good spot for your guitar.

Try to leave your guitar in a place where the temperature is always the same. This is because the strings on your guitar tighten up when it gets colder and loosen up when it gets hotter. This will change the tone of your strings and your guitar will go faster out of tune.

3. Attach the strings to the machine heads in the right way.

If you don't attach the strings in the right way, the strings on your guitar will snap more often or won't stay in tune.

4. Always tune your guitar strings up.

If you tune your strings, always start below the desired note and tune your string slightly up untill you reach the desired note. This way your strings will stay better in tune if there are no temperature changes or you don't bump your guitar against something. If you start to tune your strings above the desired notes, always go down first and then tune up. If you tune your guitar down to the desired note you will notice that if you play a few minutes or make a couple of bends, your strings will loosen up a little bit wich results in strings that become out of tune.

5. Bend your strings after tuning

Always do a couple of bends after you tuned your guitar and then check if your guitar is still in tune, otherwise fine tune it again and then the strings should stay in tune. Otherwise check your machine heads and tighten them a little bit if they are to loose.

6. New strings quickly go out of tune.

New strings need to stretch in the beginning otherwise you have to tune your strings over and over untill they finally stay in tune. This can take an hour or 2. So the best way is to first tune them to the desired notes. Then you have to stretch the strings by pulling a little bit on them, but not to hard or you will break your new strings.

7. Tune your guitar with vibration

The newest guitar clip tuners have a vibration function. This means you can tune your guitar wherever you like, nobody has to be quiet or has to stop playing when you need to tune your guitar. Clip your tuner on your guitar and the tuner picks up the vibration of the strings when you hit a string. Every tone has a unique vibration rate and the tuner can determine the exact vibration rate of a note.

8. Use a guitar clip tuner with vibration function

The easiest and most accurate way to tune your guitar is to use a guitar tuner.

- You can see on the display when you are on the desired note.

- You can tune your guitar in alternate tunings

- With the vibration function, you can tune your guitar at any location with surrounding noises

9. Strings often break

If you break a lot of strings, look for sharp edges on the bridge, saddle or tuning pegs.

10. Replace all strings if one breaks

Don't replace a single string in a used set when you break a string. The sound of the new string will be completely different compared to the other strings.

Usefull things for your guitar

Planet Waves Pro Winder String Winder and Cutter
Planet Waves Pro Winder String Winder and Cutter

With this winder you'll put on strings ten times faster then normal. The great thing about this string winder is that it is a winder and string cutter in one design.

 
Dunlop 83CB Acoustic Trigger Capo, Curved, Black
Dunlop 83CB Acoustic Trigger Capo, Curved, Black

Easy to use capo for electric and acoustic guitars

 
Dunlop Series 5005 Pickholder, 1 Pack
Dunlop Series 5005 Pickholder, 1 Pack

Nice to have if you drop your pick and you need another one fast

 
Dava 6024 Grip Tip
Dava 6024 Grip Tip

With this picks you'll get a better grip. So your pick won't slip out of your fingers when you have sweaty hands

 
On Stage XCG4 Black Tripod Guitar Stand, Single Stand
On Stage XCG4 Black Tripod Guitar Stand, Single Stand

Easy stand for your guitar. Fits for every normal guitar.

 

Tuning

How do you tune your guitar?

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    • profile image

      othellos 3 years ago

      Excellent lens on a topic that can help a lot of people. My guitar playing is in the elementary stages but I hope to improve fast. Really enjoyed your lens. I'll be back to study more.

    • cgeertsc profile image
      Author

      cgeertsc 4 years ago

      @msmith1386: I can't run apps because i have an old phone, but that's a good tip! Which app do you recommend as tuner for a mobile device?

    • msmith1386 profile image

      msmith1386 4 years ago

      I've been playing guitar for about 10 years now and I have to say I've never heard the second reminder for remembering the string names on the guitar! But, if it helps someone remember (and, no doubt, it will), then it's doing its job! I prefer electric tuners. I have found some excellent tuners on mobile devices that seem to work well. They are super convenient because you can take them with you everywhere and they're very accurate!

    • cgeertsc profile image
      Author

      cgeertsc 4 years ago

      @TanoCalvenoa: Wow that's a long time! I play 10 years now. How often do you pick up your guitar to play?

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I laughed out loud at the acronyms. I never use mneumonic devices to remember things, but I can see this as helpful to many people. I've been playing guitar for just over 17 years now.

    • Mr Criminology profile image

      Bigwas 4 years ago from Philippines

      neither do I but this lens surely will benefit those interested to learn as well as the enthusiasts.

    • cgeertsc profile image
      Author

      cgeertsc 4 years ago

      @takkhisa: Thank you for my first comment! I'm glad you liked the info! Keep up the hard work and you'll become one.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great info, I need it! Just I have to say that I am not a good guitarist yet :)