How To Tune A Classical Guitar
If you plan to learn the instrument, you will know how to tune a classical guitar. The classical guitar can be slightly more difficult to keep in tune than a steel string acoustic guitar, since the nylon strings tend to slip, changing the tone. The demands of classical guitar playing, though, require consistent tuning. Fortunately, learning to tune a classical guitar is not a difficult task.
In order to tune your classical guitar, you will need at least one of the following:
- Electric guitar tuner
- Pitch pipe
- Tuning fork
- Piano or another guitar that is already in tune
- Online tuner or phone app for guitar tuning
Tune the first string. When you tune a classical guitar to a single pitch, most guitarists prefer to start with the E below middle C, which is the pitch of the lowest string. A tuning fork might produce a different pitch, though, so be sure you tune the appropriate string to the right pitch when using a tuning fork.
Tune the remaining strings to the first tuned string. Once the low E string has been tuned, the remaining five strings can be easily tuned to match it. Placing a finger on the fifth fret of the low E string, play the next string, which is the A below middle C. These pitches should match. Repeat this process to match the D string to the A string, then the G string to the D string. For the B string (the second highest string on the guitar), shift to the fourth fret on the G string and match these pitches. To tune the high E string to the B string, return to the fifth fret.
- Test and retune as necessary. Once all six strings have been tuned, play a test chord or two to see if they sound right. Often another tuning pass or two will be necessary for the best results.
Any one of the listed items can be used as a reference from which to tune a classical guitar. The actual tuning procedure is similar regardless of which you use. Some guitarists prefer to use electric tuners, while others are more comfortable with a tuning fork or tuning to another instrument. If you are new to playing your guitar, feel free to experiment until you find the method you are most comfortable with.
Perhaps the easiest way to tune a classical guitar is with an electric tuner. Using the electric tuner, you can tune each string to a high degree of accuracy, letting the tuner tell you when you have reached the correct pitch. Electric tuners can also be used for alternate tunings relatively easily. A pitch pipe designed especially for the guitar also provides a pitch for each individual string, as do most online or phone application tuners.
If you are tuning to another instrument, you can tune each individual string to the appropriate tone, or tune a single string and then tune the rest of the guitar relative to that string. Since a tuning fork produces a single pitch, this is also the method you would use to tune a classical guitar using a tuning fork.