While it would be nice, your instrument doesn’t stay in tune itself. In fact, guitars tend to go out of tune more often than other instruments. This is because many guitarists don’t understand the importance of putting strings on the guitar properly.
In this article, we will talk about how to tune a guitar, and how to keep it in tune once you’ve gotten it there.
The worst thing that you can do for your tuning is wind the entire string around the tuning peg. This is because you are giving the string more room to slip.
The more string you wind around the post, the greater chances of the tension being relieved and slackened by a coil loosening. The best way to prevent this is to use the finger method. You should wrap your finger’s length of string around the post. That’s it. This amount is enough to adjust your tuning and it will keep your string from getting enough room to slip.
When you finish putting on a fresh set of strings, be sure to stretch them out. Strings aren’t automatically pulled to their proper tension. You need to grab each string one by one over the pickups and “pull” on it. By pull we mean lift it about an inch higher off of the pickup. Don’t yank, as you’ll wreak havoc on your intonation and your bridge itself.
Pull the string up, lower it back to its normal height, and repeat ten to fifteen times. You should feel an actual tug, which means that if you feel hardly any resistance, you need to pull a little further. As we said, do it slowly, don’t yank. This should be done after the first tuning.
Once your strings are situated you can start to worry about tuning. The standard tuning for a guitar is E B G D A E – 1st string to 6th string. The easiest way to tune is by using an electronic tuner. You can use a pedal or a handheld. Most half either a dot reading (from chromatic) or a needle reading. Always start off with the higher strings and work your way down to the lower strings.
Once you are in tune, if it is a brand new set of strings, you want to perform your pull then retune. Even if you aren’t using a new set, it is important to go back and check your tuning a second time as some strings tend to relieve or add tension to others. Always choose your tuning before sitting down with your tuner. It will prevent you from getting confused.
Another great way to tune is to use a fully tuned piano or, better yet, a keyboard. This will allow you to get a bit of ear training in and will help you to start becoming familiar with the notes. You can also tune to another guitarist as long as they are in tune.
Online tuners are another great resource as you can’t simply plug in. You have to listen to the frequency and tune from it. There are tons of ways to tune your guitar, but choose the one that you are most comfortable with.