Tune your guitar

Tuning a guitar is a real pain.

Nobody can tune a guitar by themselves except maybe Beethoven or Steve Vai. All the rest of us need some kind of help.

If you are just starting out as a beginner the first thing you have to do is find someone to tune your guitar for you. A relative who plays guitar, a local musician or music store. This will get you going. That will keep you in tune for a while but sooner or later you have to find some reliable way of tuning it yourself.  I recommend an electronic tuner. These things are getting cheap. Anything from $30 up. Having said that of course I don’t have one. I had one but I run my office chair over it so now I tune to ‘Behind Blue Eyes” by Limp Bizkit. Check it out, it goes E, G D C A (some of those are minors of course) but there you have the 6th 3rd 4th (ignore the C)  and 5th strings.

So an electronic tuner it is then. They can be tricky. It is a bit like a new remote control – they repay a bit of study. You need to find out how to set the tuner to tune each of the strings. For example the thinnest string which is the first string is also called the E string and this is the highest pitched string. Then you have the following; B=2nd, G=3rd, D=4th, A=5th, E=6th or fattest. Watch out for the ‘alternative tunings’ setting. Make sure it is set to default or standard tuning.I was looking at an electronic tuner that Gemma had bought and it had a ‘mode’ button that switched the tuner from ‘Chroma’ to ‘Guitar’,’Bass’ and ‘Violin’ settings. ‘Chroma’ stands for chromatic and means every single note so avoid that setting. Guitar is obviously the setting we want and here the tuner automatically selects the nearest string to the note you are playing so check the display and make sure you are tuning the right string. The trap with Gemma’s tuner was that when switched on it automatically went to the ‘Chroma’ setting. I got caught out like that at a gig in the Oamaru Gardens. Someone loaned me a tuner which I assumed was tuning to the correct strings but was tuning to the nearest chromatic note. First gig with a new band, walked on stage played a few bars and the whole thing came doen round our ears. I hate stopping once you start but sometimes ya got no choice.

Don’t get sucked into buying a pitch pipe. Those things are useless. You could play guitar for years and not be able to tune to a pitch pipe or piano or keyboard. It Takes practice to develop an ear for tuning a guitar. Don’t be discouraged.

There are some downloadable tuners on the Internet to install on your computer and tune your guitar using the PC microphone but do you really want to go there? If you do let me know how you get on.

The dial tone on NZ phones is A which is a good standby.

Check out the comments on this page for the downloadable tuner.

More to come..


7 Responses to “Tune your guitar”

  1. Hey, tuning with your PC in my opinion is the best option cause you can get a microphone for about $5 (US -don’t know what kind of currency you use in New-Zealand).

    For a good tuning program, google “AP tuner”, the interface is pretty much trivial.
    P.S. I liked your “Let’s play Bm” video.

  2. hey thats cool, I will save this page, some useful well put together info, I doubt I could have made it better. thanks mate.

  3. Why does the G string always seem to be the hardest string to tune correctly?

  4. This online tuner works well, just select the string to tune my clicking on the circle at the top and you’re flying 😀

  5. AP tuner helped a lot…Its really good, try it out guys…

  6. AP tuner helped me a lot…Really awesome…try it out guys…tuning to the perfection

  7. The crafter tuner is £10 STERLING and cant be too bad because I’m hopeless, it has chromatic, guitar and bass, I purchased a metro nome as well but as yet have not used it. Has this web site finished or are you still helping people can I ask questions, do I need help. How can you make fingers longer ?

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