How to Tune an Electric Guitar

It is important that all beginner guitar players learn how to tune an electric guitar.  One way is by using an electronic tuner, you can buy one for about $15 to $20 at pretty much any music store.  Some tuners have an input jack for an electric guitar others just have a microphone.  The tuners with the input jack work better if trying to tune your guitar in a loud environment.

Eventually every guitarist should learn to tune their guitar by ear.  At first you can use an electronic tuner to check and see how close to the proper pitch you are.  If you are playing by yourself you can just tune the guitar to itself, but if you playing to music or playing with other people, you will need a reference note to tune the first string.  You can use an electronic tuner, a pitch pipe, or even another instrument like a piano for example to get the pitch of your first string.

If tuning to standard tuning (EADGBE), start with the low E string and place your finger at the fifth fret.  Now play the low E string and then the A string open.  Do the notes ring together or is there a lot of dissonance?  If there is dissonance, the string is out of tune.  Twist the tuning peg very slowly until the dissonance disappears.  This also works on the A and the D string, but when we get to the G string we need to place our finger on the fourth fret, instead of the fifth, because the interval between the G string and the B string are different than the other strings.  On the B string we can again place our finger on the fifth fret and play the B string then the high E string open.

It may be difficult at first to hear when the guitar is in tune.  If we listen to two strings that are slightly out of tune we will hear them vibrating at different frequencies and modulating back and forth.  As strings get more in tune the modulation slows and then disappears as the notes are vibrating at the same rate.  If your guitar is very out of tune and you can’t figure out which way to turn the tuners, you can place your finger on a fret above or below the fifth fret to it to find which note the string it is tuned to.






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