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Guitar tuning

There are many ways to approach guitar tuning. The best way is to use a guitar tuner - a small machine that recognises the note you are trying to play and advises whether to sharpen or flatten the note. However, there may be times when you do not have a tuner around, so it would be useful to know another method of guitar tuning.

Assuming that you are intending to use "Standard Tuning", the first thing to do is to tune the little E string on the guitar to the E (two notes above middle C on a piano). Doing this will ensure that your guitar is tuned to 'concert' pitch, which means it is more likely to be 'in tune' with other instruments that are also performing. However, if it is not possible for you to tune this string, then continuing with the following procedure will ensure your guitar is in tune with itself, at the very least.

The next step is to hold the B (second) string at the fifth fret and tune this so that it sounds the same as the little E string.

Then hold the G (third) string at the fourth fret and tune this string so that it sounds the same as the B string.

Next, hold the fourth string at the fifth fret and tune this string so that it sounds the same as the previous string, and continue doing this for each string at the fifth fret until they are all tuned accordingly.

A tip

If you are not able to tune the little E string to the E note above middle C on a piano, then it is a good idea to find a song that includes two or three notes played over and over, that you can tune to from memory. "Round Here" by counting crows has a three note sequence, which is easy to play whilst tuning the top three strings. This really helps if you do not have access to a tuner.

Alternate Tunings

The guitar tuning method discussed above is for standard tuning only. There are many other tunings that are commonly used, the most common which being Dropped D tuning. However, this guide does not cover that.