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Whats the best way to tune a guitar?

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Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Hii Friends,
Well as some of u know and some of u must have guessed already I have just stated playing the guitar. I got the advice as how to start playing and stuff. Thanks everyone.Special thanks to matt.
Now deing a rookie I guess I have made the most popular mistake an rookie would make. Well now when I started playing the guitar I noticed I need to tune it first properly. And I have even heard that you need to keep tuning it everytime or alternately when you use it (cause climate can affect on the strings or something). Well guys is there anyone out here who can tell me everything there is to learn about tuning an guitar. YOu see I dont want to learn and play the wrong tune. (Yes thats right....I am a total new bee guys) Pleas I need your expert sugessions.




Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5108

The better your guitar and tuning machines, the more stable it will be and the less often you'll tune it. Changes in temperature will affect the tuning -- metal contracts when cold -- notes go sharp -- and expands when warm -- notes go flat.

As far as the actual process of tuning it goes, I highly recommend buying an electronic tuner. It will read the note you strike and tell you precisely if you're in tune, a bit sharp or a bit flat. Buy a chromatic, electronic tuner. That means that it shows every possible note, sharps and flats included. It's easier to tune with the chromatic tuner and it comes in handy should you decide to use alternate tuning.

Most of the time, I use standard tuning. There are some songs I play that use an alternate tuning -- usually Keith Richards and Neil Young stuff.

I check my tuning when I first use the guitar on a given day and again if I need to. Most of the time, checking the tuning daily works just fine and most of the time it's still in tune. But individual instruments vary. What works for my guitars may not work for someone else's.

Hope that's helpful.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1157

I'd also recommend that down the road you tune by ear for practice then adjust with your tuner.

Chuck Norris invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear!

Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 879

hello again Aneesh.

I'll take you through it step by step, based on the assumption that you get yourself an electronic tuner - in your situation this is an essential item, unless you have a very good ear for music you will struggle to tune it without one.

ok. First thing, you are going to tune one string at a time.

From thin to thick you should tune it to
E (the thinnest string, the "high" E)
E (the thickest string or "low" E).

Right, so first, slacken off the string a LITTLE. Start with the high E. Turn the tuner on, and rest it on the body of the guitar, near the soundhole.

Pluck the string once - the tuner will pick up the noise through its microphone, and will display what note it "hears". If it says D its too low, so GRADUALLY tighten the string. Pluck the string while you are doing this, and you'll see the needle start to move. Once it starts to read "E" you know you are close, then its a case of fine tuning it, so that the needle stays bang in the middle of the display. On most tuners a green light will come on when you are exactly there.

Take your time, and repeat for the other strings. Use your brain all the time, its easy for a beginners to get this wrong. Think through what you are doing and what note you are trying to tune to.

Once you have tuned all the strings like this, go back and check each one. As you tighten the strings, the neck of the guitar will bend ever so slightly, and you may find the strings you have done first will be slightly flat in pitch. If they are, repeat the exercise until its right.

If you know someone who plays, get them to show you the first time, and watch what they do closely.

Don't wind too quickly or you may break a string, take your time.

And a big tip to you from me - don't buy really cheap strings, get decent ones. Light guage strings will be easier to play for you, than mediums.

All the best


Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 173

This is maybe the cowards way out of tuning, but it's really easy...

If you got a smartphone you can download an application called guitartuner. Then you start guitartuner, pull a string, and the app will tell you if you are to tight or loose. Genius :roll:

"Trying is the first step towards failure."

Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 155

Hey Aneesh,
I've been playing for just 7mths so I consider myself sort of a newbie even thought i've got some of the basics down. When I bought my first quitar last year, I also got a book (Hal Leonard Guitar Method) that came with a cd. The first track on the CD was the notes from standard tuning (EBGDAE - starting from bottom on your guitar). Sure it's not the best way, but it definitely got me started - and after tuning and retuning and playing back track 1 over and over again, I think I came quite close and got better at it. i learned a few chords and easy songs early and i could guage how close i was by playing along with my cd's. For better results - maybe go the electronic chromatic way as others have suggested. Another way is to tune to a keyboard, but I'm guessing you don't have access to that - and you'll probably need some guidance the first few times anyway.

My first guitar wasn't the best quality and it went out of tune very quickly. I had already read that it is best to tune or at least check your tuning before every play/practice session so this was no problem. However, I later bought a case and kept my guitar in the case when i wasn't playing - this helped a lot cos when i would take it out it would still be in tune. So yes - humidity and temperature defintiely affect the strings. Now I just bought a nice electric/acoustic guitar that has a chromatic tuner built-in. I just turn on the tuner, play each string and the flashing indicators tell me exactly what not i'm playing, and whether i'm a little flat or a little sharp - you can even check all the notes on the fretboard if you wanted to! Hope this helps. I just got on the GN forum and got amazing help/feedback on my first post so this is my way of giving back :wink:

PS: Thanks a bunch to art&lutherie, slipperman, david MI, geoo, cnev, mattguitar spacedog03! There are a bunch of helpful folks out here...


Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1681

Yeah, a chromatic tuner is reccomended. You can also tune it with this:

Stairway to Freebird!

Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 71

Personally I'd tune the low E with the tuner and to the rest by ear. Then check with the tuner. It's a good idea to develop your ear right away.

Nick Torres
Illustrious Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5381

If you'd like your guitar to stay in tune longer, always tune up to pitch. Yes this is a pain if you pass the note sharp, but with less expensive tuners you introduce a little slack when you tune back down. So go back slightly below and tune back up.