Tips for Tuning Your Guitar

Regardless of the tuning method you use, there are things you can do to make tuning easier, more accurate, and longer lasting.

Tune Each String Several Times

Each string on the guitar exerts an enormous amount of tension on the guitar neck. When you adjust the tension of one string by raising or lowering its pitch, you affect all of the other strings, which will cause them to go out of tune. How much they go out of tune depends on several factors, including the string gauge, the type of guitar, and the quality of the guitar. Because of this phenomenon, you should tune each string once and then go back through all the strings to check them again, adjusting any that are out of tune. You may need to do this several times to get your guitar perfectly in tune.

Tune Up to the Pitch

Tuning up to a pitch results in more stability. The string tends to slip on the tuning post when you tune down to a pitch. If you need to lower the pitch of the string to reach the correct note, go slightly below where you need to be, then tighten the string to get to the correct pitch.

Have a Teacher or Friend Help You

If you are just starting to tune, it will be easier if you have someone walk you through the tuning process no matter which method you use. Ask a teacher or friend to help you tune the first few times. They will be able to point out mistakes and help you correct them.

Don't Turn the Tuning Pegs Too Much

Many beginners turn the tuning pegs far too much in a single turn. This often results in going above and below the pitch repeatedly. A smaller turn would have sufficed to get to the correct pitch in many instances. It is fine to use large turns when you are far away from your target pitch, but smaller turns are necessary when you get close to the pitch.

Check Problematic Strings Often

Certain strings seem to go out of tune more often than others, so they should be checked regularly. The G string seems to be the most problematic string, but you may find that other strings frequently go out of tune on your guitar.

Tune Regularly

You should tune the guitar every time you pick up to play it. Your guitar will go out of tune just sitting on a stand or when placed in a case. Things like temperature and humidity will also affect the tuning. Get used to checking the tuning each time you play it. Playing a properly tuned guitar will help develop your ears.