Musicians: Tuning a Guitar

Tuning your guitar is the most important action you take with this instrument. For all us of who play the guitar, equipment that is not properly tuned has the same effect as finger nails scratching a chalkboard. If you have not learned the art of tuning, you will never have success as a guitar player. For this reason, many stop playing before they have learned to play the guitar. So to help with tuning you will need one of the following: a tuning fork, piano or electric tuner. Tuners are an inexpensive way to assist you with getting the correct sound.

Here is an easy way to achieve standard tuning for a six-string guitar. Standard tuning is the easiest way to achieve the correct sound and is used in over 90% of all songs. It will take practice and a trained ear to get the right sound, but with true diligence, you will have the ability to play songs that will be pleasing to the ear for many years.

List of stings from the top down:

  • E: Top string and thickest
  • A: Second string
  • D: Third string
  • G: Fourth string
  • B: Fifth string
  • E: Sixth string and the thinnest

After using a piano or tuning device to get the top string tuned you will want to use the following recipe for the remaining strings.

Hold down the top string (E) on the fifth fret, while leaving the Second (A) string open. Strum the two strings simultaneously. When in tune the two strings will make the same sound and pitch. Tighten or loosen the (A) string to achieve proper sound. Follow this same technique for the third (D) and fourth (G) strings as well. Hold down the above string for each of these strings in succession.

For the fifth (B) you will hold the G string down on the fourth fret while leaving the B string open. For the last string (E), you will tune with the B string held down on the fifth fret.

This is not a talent that will be perfected over night, but with practice and patience, you will be playing a pleasing tune in no-time. Remember to always have fun and the music you play will bring you and your friends many years of enjoyable entertainment.