How does your guitar sound

Guitar tuning instructions

In the to tune a guitar Instructions for beginners will find the most common ways to tune your instrument perfectly. Because every musician knows that good sound is what counts.

Guitar Tuning For Beginners: A Simple Guide to Tuning Your Guitar - in the three most common variations.

By Marc Tyson

Contents: Guitar tuning instructions

How to tune the guitar for beginners

Certainly there are also many ways for beginners to play guitar to optimize the good tone of the instrument. But before you get into that, you should master the most important foundation of being a musician - that to tune a guitar. You can act with the greatest pedals, fantastic equipment and immensely expensive instruments: with a guitar out of tune, all of this is only half as impressive for the listener and of course for yourself.

Also read: Tuning the guitar online - for free

The most common tuning of the guitar is: E, A, D, G, H, E. Of course there are also many other tunings, but we will leave these aside for now.

A guitar shouldn't only look great, it should sound good too.

The 4 easiest ways to tune your guitar

There are many different ways to get your guitar right. You will get to know three of the most important and most frequently used variants today.

  1. Tuning the guitar with the tuner
  2. Tuning guitar with an app
  3. Guitar tuning in the 5th fret
  4. Tuning the guitar using the Flageolet method

Before the beginning of the 1990s, the aids were mostly limited to a pitch pipe or tuning fork, but today there are much more convenient methods, as you will see below.

With a clip-on tuner, tuning the guitar is easy

Also read: Guitar Strings for Acoustic Guitars

1. Tuning the guitar with a tuner

Let's start with the most popular variant, the tuner. Until a few years ago, these were only available as a small mini box that could be placed on the table and which only worked via a small built-in microphone.

Nowadays I recommend the very practical clip tuners. You can attach these tuners to the headstock and, if you like, leave them there during your performance. So you can always see whether your instrument is still correctly "in tune" or whether you may have to retune with the tuner in order to achieve the optimum tuning.

A button cell is usually sufficient for the power supply for the small parts. This often lasts for years, as the tuners switch off automatically after a while.

A big advantage of a clip tuner is the built-in piezo pickup. With this you can vote in the "Microphone" mode as well as in "Clip mode". A symphony orchestra can play next to you in the rehearsal room and you can still tune optimally. With a microphone alone, this would be understandably more difficult.

Often you can easily choose between different instruments (guitar, bass, ukulele, violin ...) because the respective strings are automatically recognized. A traditional chromatic selection of the tones is of course also possible.

Which tuner model you use remains the same. The functioning and tuning of the guitar is always the same. In terms of price, tuners are already very cheap, starting at around 10 euros. Of course, there is always room for improvement. My recommendation is to choose a tuner with a multicolored display. This makes it easier to see everything well - e.g. even on a dark club stage.

For example, you can place a clip tuner on the guitar head.

Also read: Buying Electric Guitar Strings Guide

2. Tuning the guitar with an app

Another way to tune the guitar is to use one of the many apps. If you enter the phrase "tuning guitar" or "tuner" in the search of your app store, you will be shown many possible variants.

I use an app called DaTuner because besides the guitar I also play mandolin, banjo, dobro and lap steel. The basic version of this app is free and has a large number of presets for various stringed instruments. The best thing to do is to try out for yourself which app is the best for you.

The principle of tuning the guitar with a mobile phone app is the same as with a conventional tuner. You can use the guide below. The same goes for tuners built right into your guitar.

3rd guitar part in 5th fret

If you don't have a tuner or an app to tune your guitar with you, you can tune your guitar using the 5th fret method. This variant is even free of charge and also creates the ideal atmosphere.

If you grab the 5th fret on a string, the fundamental tone of the string below will sound. In other words: You grab the 5th fret on the first string from above and play an A. The second string should be tuned to this tone.

Now you use the mechanics of the second string of your guitar to bring both notes into harmony. As soon as these sound the same, they vibrate in an audible common way. If both notes are the same, take the next string.

You only have to note that if you want to tune the tone H (2nd string from the bottom), you have to exceptionally use the 4th fret on the G string (3rd from the bottom). This has something to do with semitones and whole steps. That would, however, be a separate topic from music theory, which we do not want to go into in more detail now.

The disadvantage of this method is that your guitar is in proper tune. But that does not have to mean that it is based on the concert pitch A. For example, if you are fighting alone by the campfire for your friends, it doesn't matter. However, if several musicians want to play together, it will be difficult and you should specifically tune to the concert pitch A.

4. Flageolet method (overtone)

The flageolet method is an even more precise way of tuning your guitar and, with flageolet tones, achieves an even more precise tuning than the classic way of tuning the guitar. The harmonics are an overtone.

You can make this overtone sound by only touching a string lightly at one point and not pressing it down. You do this after you've struck the string. This overtone changes depending on where you gently touch the struck string.

A different procedure applies to H and G. The flageolet tone on the 5th fret of a string corresponds to the flageolet tone on the 7th fret of the next higher string. This doesn't work when comparing G with H because you would create a different interval. Instead, you grab the low E in the 7th fret on your guitar to have the reference tone for the B plucked empty.

Find a reference tone

To play with other musicians, you need a reference tone. This is the basis on which all musicians tune their instruments. For example, the piano sets the tone and all other instruments are tuned accordingly.

If one of your friends plays an instrument that is difficult or impossible to tune, e.g. harmonica, piano, flute, accordion, you can get the reference tone from this musician.

There are several other methods of tuning the guitar. However, these require a little experience and a trained ear, so that they are explained elsewhere.

Also read: Capo for guitar

How to tune the guitar: This is how it works

Once you have read through the basic principle, you will always be able to tune your guitar correctly in the future. We are now going through the guide, which consists of three steps.

1. Basic principle

You play a note on your guitar. Now the name of the note you are playing should be on the display - that is, it should match the string that you want to tune. Also make sure that there is no sign before or after the letter of the string, i.e. a # or a b. Sometimes these signs are very small or somewhat hidden on the display.

On the display you will find a pointer or arrow that tells you whether the tone you are playing is lower or higher than the desired target tone.

If you now pluck the string of your guitar, the pointer of the tuner begins to deflect. You should give the sound time to "stand" between the individual attacks. If you grab the strings too hectically, some tuners are easily irritated and you won't get a clear result.

2. How it works in detail

When the pointer is exactly in the middle of the scale in the display, the tone is in tune - it's a bit like playing a computer game. With some devices, the right mood is also indicated by the lighting up of the color green on the display.

If the pointer moves to the left (on some models also downwards), then your tone is still too deep. If he does this to the right (or up), the string is tuned too high. If it stops in the middle and the color changes to green if necessary, then you are, so to speak, "in tune" and everything is correct.

Here you can see the pegs on the mechanics, with which you can change the tone of the respective string by turning.

3. How to change the tones of your strings

To change the pitch of a string, turn the tuning peg of the matching string. These vortices are located on the head of your instrument. If your strings are properly wound, your tone will be higher if you turn the peg counterclockwise. Similarly, it gets deeper if you turn clockwise.

Voice with feeling

You should just turn it carefully, otherwise the pitch of the string will change very quickly. Depending on the type of mechanics, a quarter or half turn can move a lot. It is best if you approach the correct tone from below (i.e. from a lower tone).

I myself start with the second string from the top, the note A. This is the concert pitch A. Since the three upper strings are thicker than the others and thus cause most of the tension on the guitar neck, the neck should be less distorted. Then I go down to the 6th string. Finally, I'll tune the very thick, upper E string.

Tune the right notes on the string to the guitar

As a little help, you can memorize the sentence “A guitar beginner is eager!” So ​​that you know exactly what the strings are called one after the other.

  • E - a
  • A - beginner
  • D - the
  • G - guitar
  • H - has
  • E - zeal

Tips on how to tune the guitar

  • If you have put on fresh strings on your guitar, they are not immediately stable in tune - the material expands due to the tension. That's why you should never pull guitar strings right before the gig or studio session. However, you can speed up the process a little by carefully pulling up all the strings at the level of the sound hole after changing the strings to stretch them a little. In this way they quickly reach the optimum tension and your instrument no longer gets out of tune so quickly.
  • If your guitar is exposed to extreme temperatures in a cold trunk or in the sun, it must adjust to room temperature before you can tune. That's why the first thing I do when I arrive at a gig is always to unpack the guitars.
  • If you break a string while playing and you have pulled a new string, you have to tune the whole instrument again in any case. Because if you suddenly tear, the entire tension on your fingerboard changes.

Now I wish you a lot of fun tuning your guitar.