No matter how many guitar lessons you’ve taken or how many practice hours you’ve logged, nothing is as critical to a guitarist’s sound and overall performance as a properly tuned guitar. An out-of-tune guitar can make even the world’s most talented guitar player sound like an amateur — or worst yet — make him sound like he’s not playing music at all, just headache-inducing noise.
To ensure that all of the skills you learn during your guitar lessons in Scottsdale are fully appreciated and always result in a stellar performance, you’ll need to learn how to properly tune your guitar. The process of tuning a guitar may be a little confusing at first, especially for all of you newbies out there, but with a little know-how and practice, you’ll soon be able to add “guitar tuning god” to your ever-expanding music resume.
To get there, though, you should know that there are quite a number of different methods for finding the right pitch and making sure a guitar is primed for optimal sound. Don’t worry — each method is just as effective as the next, and all come with their own unique set of pros and cons. It’s about finding which method is the easiest for you above all else.
Before we jump into the various ways to tune a guitar, let’s talk about some essential guitar tuning basics. If you’ve been playing the guitar for any extended period of time now, you already know that the guitar is made up of six strings, and that each one has its own tuning peg located at the headstock of the guitar. The tuning peg or tuning key controls pitch, and can be adjusted as needed.
Here’s what you need to know to tune each individual guitar string:
-Turning a peg clockwise (away from you) will tighten the string, thereby raising its pitch
-Turning a peg counterclockwise (towards you) will loosen the string and lower its pitch
You’ll also need to know which note is assigned to each string. In ascending order from thickest string to thinnest, the notes of each string are: E, A, D, G, B, E (with the lowest and highest E notes spaced two octaves apart).
When tuning, it’s common to start with the sixth string (E), which is the thickest, and then work your way down, tuning each individual string. This method of tuning, known as standard tuning, is ideal because the lower E string holds its tune the best, and thus, it can serve as a basis to ensure the other notes are tuned just as accurately and precisely.
Now that you’ve got that down, let’s move on to the various and most popular methods to tune a guitar.
Popular Guitar Tuning Techniques
1.Tuning With a Guitar Tuner
Guitar tuners are a common and easy way to make sure your guitar sounds its best. Used by both rookies and old pros alike, guitar tuners can help you identify if your pitch is too sharp or too flat. Simply turn on the device, play a note, and the guitar tuner will let you know if the string needs to be adjusted. While chromatic tuners tend to be the most popular type of guitar tuners, other guitar tuning devices include a tuning fork or a pitch tuner, both of which are intended for more advanced players who are easily able to match the notes by ear.
2. Tuning With An Online Guitar Tuner or App
Similar to a traditional guitar tuning device, online guitar tuners or apps are a fast and convenient way to ensure your guitar is properly tuned and ready for action. Sites like 8notes and GuitarTricks offer online tuners for free. By matching your guitar to the sites’ pitch recordings or by using your computer’s microphone to enable pitch detecting, you can tune your guitar just as easily using these sites as you would using a regular guitar tuner.
3. Tuning Via Another Instrument
When a standard guitar tuner or online guitar tuning site aren’t possible to use, tuning by ear is another way to go. For more seasoned guitar players, using a perfectly tuned instrument to tune their guitar is an alternate way to ensure the guitar will sound its best. For instance, you can find the right pitch for your guitar by using a piano as a reference. To tune a guitar to a piano, you just need to match the sixth string to the E two octaves below middle C. Once that string is tuned correctly, you can then tune your guitar to itself or match each string to the corresponding notes on the piano.
No matter how you choose to tune your guitar, the important part is that you actually do it and that you make an effort to tune it as frequently as possible. Without a properly tuned guitar, even the best guitar lessons in Scottsdale won’t make a difference in your sound. Playing a guitar that’s out of tune is kind of like driving a car with flat tires. It just doesn’t make sense!