Tuning the guitar

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Like most stringed instruments, a guitar can be tunned in an endless amount of ways. You can use an electronic tuner to get the right notes for each string ( such as those made by Korg ) or you can develop an ear for it. But the great thing is that the strings are tuned relative to each other, so if you know you have one of the strings correct, you can fix all the others.

Standard Tunning: Probably the most common tunning method is known as standard tunning (surprise!). The strings are tuned to the following notes:

         String  Note
 Top      6th     E
          5th     A
          4th     D
          3rd     G
          2nd     B
 Bottom   1st     E

Before you start tuning the guitar without an electronic tuner, you should have some sort of reference note to tune from. Usually this note is found using a pitch fork, pitch pipe, or a keyboard. You would use one of these to tune at least one string of the guitar and then tune the rest of the strings using the following methods.

Note that there are two main ways to tune the guitar without a tuner: "Basic" tuning and tuning with harmonics. Tuning with harmonics is generally more accurate, because when tuning without harmonics you hold down the notes on the frets to tune the guitar. This method stretches the string, making is slightly out of tune when you play open notes, while harmonic tuning uses the open strings to tune the guitar.

"Basic" tuning

1) Hold down the fifth fret of the 6th string and pluck the 6th and 5th strings at the same time. The notes heard should be the same. If the notes are different, adjust the tuner on the headstock for the 5th string to adjust its pitch. When the notes become close you will hear a noticeable "beating" sound made by the sound waves being slightly out of phase. The "beating" sound goes away when the strings have been properly adjusted.

2) Repeat (1) for strings 5 and 4 and then 4 and 3.

3) For strings 3 and 2, hold down the 4th fret of the 3rd string while adjusting string 2. The same principles discussed in (1) apply.

4) Repeat (1) for string 2 and 1.

Slowly pick through an E chord (or whichever you prefer) to check if the strings sound properly tuned.

"Alternate" Tuning

Drop D

Drop D tuning is when you take the low E string (the thickest string) and lower it's pitch by two steps. To do this

1.Fret the low E string on the 7th fret and pluck this string with an open A string .

2.Adjust it's pitch (The low E string) till it is the same pitch with an open A string

3.Tune the rest of the guitar in standard tuing (EBGDA-D)

Drop C

Drop C tuning is when you take a guitar that is in Drop D tuning, and drop every string one note.

This means that your low E string (the thickest string) is down tuned to C. Your A string to G Your D String to C Your G String to F Your B String to A Your high E string to D

It is recommended that you use a tuner while down tuning to this configuration due to the fact that you are dropping every string. Although if you can set the low E string to C then you you use the seventh fret to find the tune of the A string and then continue using the 5th frets and 4th fret to find the appropriate tuning of the remaining strings.

Tuning with Harmonics

1. Play an E Harmonic on the 6th string at the fifth fret, and match it with the E harmonic on the Fifth string at the seventh fret. Adjust the tuners using the same method as mentioned above.

2. Repeat step 1 to tune the Fifth string using the A harmonic on the fifth and fourth strings (fifth fret and seventh fret respectively).

3. Repeat step 1 to tune the Fourth string using the D harmonic on the fourth and third strings (fifth fret and seventh fret respectively).

4. Play a B harmonic on the low E string at the seventh fret, and match it with the B harmonic on the 12th fret of the second string to tune the second string.

5. Repeat step 1 to tune the first string using the E harmonic on the second and first strings (fifth fret and seventh fret respectively).


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