You may have been practicing hard at your guitar, and you may slowly notice that the notes start sounding odd. Don’t worry! There is nothing wrong with your instrument just that the instrument has fallen out of tune. It usually does so due to temperature changes, environment, and regular playing….and when it does you begin to hear off sounding notes.
So how do you tune the guitar?
When you’re looking down at the strings of your guitar, you will notice that the strings go from thickest to thinnest. The thickest and topmost string is your low E string, also called the sixth string. Follow that, the next thickest is A or the fifth string and so on and so forth.
Guitar tuning always requires you to adjust 6 strings on the instrument. We will always tune in the “reverse order” starting with the sixth string or the low E and continuing all the way to the top to the first string of high E
An easy way to remember the order of strings is by recalling the sentence-
Every Boy Gets Donuts After Eating
Step 1: Check the layout of the guitar pegs
If you haven’t done any tuning in the past, first familiarize yourself with what guitar pegs are. Depending on whether your pegs are all on one side (electric style) on three on each side (acoustic style) and stringing pattern the directionality of each peg may vary.
You need to check whether turning the peg clockwise makes the string tighter (and therefore higher sounding) or loose (and therefore lower sounding). Once you understand the mechanics of changing pegs you won’t need to think about it again.
Step 2: There are three methods that you can follow to tune your guitar-
1. How to tune your guitar with an electric tuner?
This is the easiest ways to tune the guitar. Instead of using the string to find out the correct tones based on relative position, an electric guitar can read and interpret sounds that it picks up from the guitar and display the notes that it reads. Just turn on the tuner and strum the strings and you will notice the magic!
2. How to tune your guitar by ear?
To tune the guitar in the old-fashioned manner, first tune the 6th string down to the low E. You may want to go online and find samples of how different strings sound.
Start with your sixth string held down on the fifth fret. You’re now playing an A on your E string. Adjust your fifth string, the A string, until your A string played open matches the pitch of the E string played on the fifth fret. It can be helpful to hum the correct note as you tune your open string, so you can hear if the string is tuned too tight or loose.
Next, tune your D string to match the pitch of your A string played on the fifth fret. You can continue tuning each string to the fifth fret of the string above it, except for the B string. To tune your B string, hold the G string down on the fourth fret. If each string is tuned to the correct interval from the next string, your guitar will sound fine by itself.
Repeat the same process for the other strings as well.
3. How to tune your guitar using a different instrument
It may be easier if you have access to a fully tuned piano or keyboard. As you strum each string, you compare your string’s pitch with the reference pitch from the keyboard. This is also especially useful if you will be playing along-with a pianist. As a bonus, tuning in this manner will also help you develop note seeking skills on the piano.
How Can I Make My Guitar Stay in Tune Longer?
To keep your guitar in tune longer and in shape ensure that you change you strings often. Depending on how often and how long you play, you may want to change the strings anywhere from once a month or once a week. When you’re not playing store your guitar in a case away from heat and humidity. Also ensure that you wipe your strings clean with a dry cloth to ensure that you keep it away from your finger oil that slowly corrodes the strings.
If you follow these tips and still experience issues with your guitar going out of tune, there may most probably be a problem with the intonation of the guitar. Intonation is the ability of guitar to hold pitch up and down the fretboard. How do you find this out?
You can compare the open strings with the closed string equivalent, and they should always sound in tune if not then there’s your problem with intonation.
It is typically caused due to wear and tear or may be a manufacturing defect. Take your guitar to the closest store and have it looked by an expert.