How To Properly Tune a Guitar

tune a guitar
Now that you are on your way to playing, it’s important to learn how to tune a guitar. Your guitar can easily fall out of tune due to changes in the temperature, environment, and regular playing. You can use a tuner or tune the guitar to itself, if you’re not playing with anyone else!

Which Tuner Should I Buy?

In order to tune your guitar, I recommend using a tuner that you can clip at the head of the guitar, like this one. If you don’t have a tuner, you can also use a mobile app – I like one called GuitarTuna.

Here’s a tip: if the string’s pitch is higher than it should be, I recommend you bring it down, and it tune up to the right note, not the other way around.

How to Tune your Guitar to Itself

Alternatively, you can tune your guitar to itself, if you’re not going to be playing with anyone else.

The thinnest string is called the top string because it is the highest sounding string, even though it is physically on the bottom. Conversely, the thickest string is the low string because it has the lowest sound. For example, when your “Top E” string breaks, it means your thinnest string (the 1st string) has broken.

You must learn the names of your guitar strings. From the thickest to the thinnest it is E (6th string), A (5th), D (4th), G (3rd), B (2nd), E (1st). You’ll need to know this to properly use a guitar tuner.

You’ll also need to know this when playing with other musicians and you are tuning with each other. Also, when you go to the music store to purchase a replacement for a broken string. When your guitar is flat (b) it means that the string sounds lower than the in-tune sound, so the string must be tightened. When the string is sharp (#) it means that the string is sounding higher than the correct pitch of the note and it must be loosened.

By placing your fingers on the 5th fret, it is also possible to tune your guitar to itself. This works because there is more than one way to play any note on a guitar.

So when you press your finger just behind the 5th fret on the 6th string, that note is “A”. With the 5th string open, the note is also “A”. Therefore, both “A’s” must sound identical.

Not all of the strings are pressed down at the same time as it appears in the diagram. Tune the strings in pairs. For example: to tune the “B” string, which is the only exception, press a finger just behind the 4th fret on the 3rd string and also play the 2nd string open.

Check other posts about guitar in the Guitar section of my blog