How to tune your guitar

As a beginner musician, there are a variety of things for you to learn about your instrument of choice. Fortunately, for those who are hoping to have a better understanding of how to play guitar, most will find that it’s far from complicated. In most cases, you can improve immensely from simply learning the fundamentals.

Whether you’ve never picked up a guitar or if you’ve already begun your journey, you should know how to tune your instrument, as well as what can make the notes off-pitch.

Tuning basics

On a traditional guitar, the process typically involves adjusting each of the six strings, starting with the lowest pitch (the 6th string) and working up to the highest (the 1st). The notes are E – A – D – G – B – E, which many people learn to remember from the mnemonic “Every Boy Gets Donuts After Eating”. You need to listen to each one carefully to determine when they’re off-key, so doing a little research as you go may be a good idea (at least until you feel confident in your skills).

Electric guitars can often be quite a bit easier, as you won’t need to listen to the strings to see if they make the right tones, but instead use an electric tuner. This device will pick up the sound waves from your instrument and display the notes it hears. In general, it will only take a few seconds to find out if your guitar is in-tune or not.

Listening to how the strings should sound is one of the best ways to recognize the difference in tone when your chords aren’t right, which can come in handy whether you use a regular or electric guitar.

What can cause them to sound off-key?

There are a variety of things that can easily make your music go off pitch, and while it can be quite annoying at times, it is important to always check and make sure that you’re in tune before playing. Some of the most common reasons why this occurs include:

  • Using old and worn strings
  • Regular usage
  • Extreme changes in temperature
  • A poorly placed capo
  • A misaligned bridge and/or nut
  • Find out everything you need to know online

There are a broad range of things that you’ll need to learn as you’re starting your journey as a guitarist; from hand positions, to how to properly care for your instrument. Fortunately for anyone out there who isn’t quite sure where to begin, there are a variety of great online courses and lessons that can teach you from the comfort of your own home.

For a better insight on how to play, check out our review of Fender Play – an excellent platform to learn guitar. There may be many other resources out there, but Fender is one of the most well known, so it might be worth getting an expert’s opinion to find out if it’s right for you.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.