How To Tune A Guitar Without A Tuner
Learning how to tune a guitar without a tuner is essential for anyone who wants to stay in tune. While a digital tuner is the ideal way to keep your guitar in tune, there may be times when you find yourself without a tuner on hand. In those cases, you need to be able to tune your guitar to the instruments you'll be playing with, or at the very least, to itself. Tuning a guitar by hand isn't difficult, and with a little practice, you'll be able to tune your guitar any time it's necessary, even without having a guitar tuner on hand.
- Tune your lowest guitar string (E) to a reference note. If there's a piano handy, you can use the E below middle C. If you don't have a reference note, you'll have to tune the first string by estimating the correct note. The E is the string you will use as a reference to tune your other strings.
- Place your finger on the fifth fret of the sixth string (lowest) of your guitar. Play the fretted note and then play the fifth string open (without putting your finger on any fret. These two notes should match.
- Listen for a wavering sound between the two notes to indicate the notes are out of tune. The faster the wavering sound, the further out of tune the notes are. The wavering will slow down as you get the notes closer to being in tune, disappearing entirely when the notes are tuned. To bring a note up in pitch, tighten the string. Loosen it to lower the pitch. If you aren't sure how far out of tune a note is, loosen the string and work up toward the correct note. This will help prevent you from breaking a string by tightening it too much.
Continue to tune strings using the fifth fret/open string method until you reach the second string. to tune this string, place your finger on the fourth fret of the third string and tune the second string open to the note on the fourth fret third string.
- Place your finger on the fifth fret of the second string to tune the first string open with the fifth fret/open string method. If you started with an accurate E for the sixth string, this will give you a properly tuned guitar. If you estimated the E, your guitar will still be in tune with itself. Whether or not it is at the correct tuning will depend upon how accurate your starting note was.