How To Tune Your Guitar – Beginner Guitar Lesson #6


Hey welcome to video six of the Beginner Guitar
Quick-Start Series. In this lesson we’re going to learn all about how to tune the guitar.
Learning how to tune your guitar is really important because you can be a great player,
but if your guitar is out of tune you’re not going to sound good. So, by the end of this
lesson you’ll know the things that you need to make your guitar sound great and in tune. This is going to be a pretty long lesson because
I wanted to make sure that nothing was left out for you. We’re going to break it up into
three basic main parts. The first part is going to be tuning theory and tips, the second
part is going to be tuning the guitar with an electronic tuner, and the third part is
going to be tuning the guitar by ear. So if you already know how to tune a guitar with
an electronic tuner you can skip to the part on tuning by ear, or if you know how to tune
a guitar all together you can just skip this lesson. Let’s get into some things you’re going to
need to know in order to tune the guitar. You’ve already learned the names of the open
strings of the guitar, E A D G B E. The next thing you need to learn is the natural musical
alphabet. And again this is really simple, but you have to know it. The natural musical
alphabet is just the first seven letters of the regular alphabet, A B C D E F and G. Now we need to talk about the concept of a
note being sharp or flat. If you see a natural note with a little sign that looks like a
“b” next to it, a lower case “b”, that little sign is a flat sign. And that, in the context
of tuning, when we talk about a note being flat, that means that the note needs to come
up a little bit. A sharp sign looks like a little tic-tac-toe sign. In the context of
tuning, when we talk about a note being sharp, that means that the note is a little bit too
high and it needs to come down a little bit. When you look at an electronic tuner it’s
going to have a couple of ways telling you if a note is sharp or flat. And those two
ways, generally, are either lights or needles. If the lights on your electronic tuner are off
to the left, that means your note is a little flat and it needs to come up. If it’s off
to the right that’s telling you that your note is little bit sharp and it needs to come
down. Also, you could have a little needle that basically does the same thing. If the
needle is off to the left it’s telling you that your note is a little bit flat and needs
to come up. If it’s off to the right it’s telling you it’s a little bit sharp and it
needs to come down a little bit. Learning how to tune the guitar can be really
tricky at first, and like anything else on the guitar it takes practice to get good at,
but if you do practice it you will get good at it. So, to get started I want to give you
some tips that are going to keep you from breaking strings. I know it’s really frustrating
when you’re learning how to tune the guitar. The first tip I’m going to give you is make
sure that you’re cranking on the right tuning key when you’re tuning your guitar. You can
follow this string down. If I want to tune my D string, I’ve got to follow that all the
way down to this tuning peg. Because, if I accidentally start cranking the A, and I’m
thinking “why isn’t my, the pitch of my D string not changing” and I’m cranking the
wrong tuning key, what’s going to happen is I’m probably going to break that A string.
And that’s just going to be frustrating. So, make sure, double check yourself and make
sure, your tuning the right key for the string that you want to tune. The second tip that I want to give you to
keep you from breaking strings is this. If you think you too high, too far when you’re
tuning your string, you probably are. So stop, crank it back down, and start over. One thing
you’re going to want to do before you get started is just go to any string, it can be
this E string, and just play with the tuning key. See how much turning makes the note go
down, and see how much you have to crank on it to make it go up too. Just getting familiar
with that will keep you from breaking strings. So we live in a time where there are just
a ton of options for tuners. There are clip on tuners, pedal tuners, just hand held tuners like this.
And it does’t really matter which one you have. You can get a good tuner just a hand
held or a clip on for just fifteen or twenty bucks. If that works for you, great. Today
I’m going to be using my iPad, actually an app on my iPad, to tune the guitar. Those work
really good too. I’ve got my iPad pulled up here with just a tuner app. And one thing
I want to show you before we get in to actually tuning the guitar is if you have a calibration
setting on your tuner, you want to make sure it’s set to A440. Because if not, if it’s
a little bit off, you’re going to sound out of tune from everybody else that your playing
with, or, you know, if you’re playing with a track or your favorite songs or something.
So make sure that’s set to A 440. So let’s actually get into learning how to
tune the guitar with an electronic tuner. We’re going to break this down into a two
step process for you. The first step is to get each string to the proper note name. So
if you’re tuning this low E string you have to get it to an E first. After that, you want
to fine tune that E to where it’s right spot on. So let’s just take this real quick, our
low E string. I threw it out of tune earlier, and it’s saying that it’s a D sharp which is not right.
It’s a little bit low. Now it’s up to an E. That’s our first step. We’ve match the note
name and that’s correct, but as you can see it’s a little bit low. So now you have to
fine tune it up to an E. Little bit to high. There you go. Okay now I’m going to throw the rest of this
guitar out of tune just randomly, and we can work on our tuning that way. And that’s a
really good way to practice tuning too, just by the way. So let’s try to get the rest of
this guitar in tune. So, let’s go to our A string, and that’s telling me that it’s a G sharp.
Now once you get, in your musical alphabet, once you get all the way to the G, you come
back around to the A. So, if it’s a G sharp, its telling me that this string is a little
bit flat and needs to come up to an actual A note. Okay now we’ve got it to an actual A. Now
we are going to fine tune it to where it’s right on the money. That’s good. And one tip I wanted to give you here, always
tune up to a note if you can. If you overshoot a note and go too far, a little bit sharp.
Come back down and try to tune up to that note. That helps your string stay in tune
better. Alright next note, this should be a D, and it’s
telling me it’s a D sharp. D sharp is after D, so it’s telling me that it’s a little bit
too high and we need to come down. Okay now it’s a D, but it’s still a little bit sharp
because the needle is off to the right. So we’ll keep coming down until it’s on the money.
And remember, always tune up to that note. There you go. Okay what’s the name of the next string, the
third string, it’s a G right? It should be a G. It’s telling me it’s a G sharp, and we
don’t want a G sharp, we want a G. So we need to come down a bit. Okay it’s a G now. The
note name matches. And there it’s a G. Make sure to tune up to the note. Now do you see
why it was important for you to learn the names of the open strings for the guitar,
right? Next string over is the second string, it
should be a B. It’s telling me it’s an A sharp which means that it’s low and it needs to
come up a bit. Okay it’s a B now. It’s a little bit low still. And there you go, right on
the money. The next string over should be what, an E right? The first string. And that’s
an E, but it’s telling me it’s a little bit sharp so we need to come down some. So always
go under the note and then come up to it, right. And now we’re pretty close to being in tune.
I always go through and do that again just because since guitars are made of wood they
kind of change when the tension on the strings change. So, I go through and tune the whole
thing again, and then you should be in tune. So do what I just did. Mess up your guitar,
throw it out of tune, get your tuner, and practice tuning your guitar. Match the note
names first, of the strings, and then fine tune the string to be right on the money. Let’s move on to learning how to tune the
guitar by ear. This can be pretty intimidating for a lot of players if they don’t have a
musical background, but I’m going to give you some tips that are going to allow you
to tune the guitar anywhere even if you don’t have an electronic tuner available. So you’re
not always going to have an electronic tuner with you everywhere you go, but if one of
your strings on your guitar is close to being in tune, then you can tune the guitar to itself.
So, let’s just say our low E string was close to being in tune, okay. I’m going to teach
you something called the fifth fret method that you can use to tune the rest of the guitar
to that low E string. What I’m going to do is just throw this guitar
out of tune just a little bit here and there kind of randomly like it would be if it had
been sitting in the corner for a long time. And what you’re going to do is go to the fifth
fret of the low E string. That note is an A note. And if you remember, the open fifth
string should be an A note too. So that note on the fifth fret should should the exact
same as the open fifth string. Not even close, right? The idea is to match this open A string
to the sound of the fifth fret of the low E string. And this takes practice. My ear
is telling me that it’s a little bit low. So, I just brought it up and tried to match
those two notes as best I could. Okay next string over. Now we need to tune
the D string, or the fourth string. What we’re going to do is go to the fifth fret of the
A string, and that note is a D note. So, this fifth fret of the A string, this D note, should
be the same as the open D string. And my ear is telling me that that D string is a little
bit sharp and needs to come down some. Let’s try it again. There you go. Okay, next step in the fifth fret method is
to tune the G string, and what we’re going to do there is play the fifth fret of the
D string. That’s a G note, so it should be the same as this open G string. That’s pretty
close. It’s a little bit off. And this takes practice. Experiment. If you can’t tell if it’s sharp
or flat, or if it needs to come up or down, make it go down like way far. And then come
up or do the same thing. If you can’t tell if it’s sharp or flat, bring it way up, and if
it sounds like it’s getting further away, you know it needs to come down. Okay, this is where the fifth fret method
kind of falls apart a little bit, or it changes. To tune the B string we have to go to the
fourth fret, not the fifth fret, of the G string because that note is a B note. So we
need to match that note on the fourth fret of the G to the open B string. And my ear
is telling me that that open B string needs to come down. It’s a bit sharp. And again
this takes practice, but your ear, the more you do it the better your ear will get at
telling what needs to come up or down. Now we need to tune the high E string, and
to do that our fifth fret method gets back on track. Go to the fifth fret of the B string,
and that note is an E. So those two notes should sound the same. This one is really
close. There you go. So, once I get the guitar in tune by ear,
again just when I was using an electronic tuner, I go through and do the whole thing
again just to kind of fine tune it and make sure everything is where it should be. Tuning
the guitar by ear can be difficult at first, but cut yourself some slack. It takes practice
just like anything else on the guitar. Practice it on a regular basis and you’ll get better
at it. In the next lesson we’re going to go over
strumming hand technique, so get ready for that. If you have any questions on tuning
you can leave them in the comments here below, or juste email me [email protected] See
you in the next lesson.