How To Tune Your Acoustic Guitar
If your acoustic guitar sounds horrible when you play it, even when you know you are playing the right cords, you probably just need to learn how to tune your acoustic guitar. Since the strings are under great tension, over time they will lose that tension and vibrate at a different frequency, thereby sounding like a different note. If you aren't familiar with tuning acoustic guitars, you will need at least one point of reference to start with. An electric tuner will work, but if you have a tuner, tuning the rest of the acoustic guitar is easy as cake. If you don't have a tuner, you can use a piano since pianos stay in tune for years. These instructions are for the standard tuning of EADGBE.
Things you will need:
- Piano or an in-tune guitar
- Play the first E below middle C on the piano. This E is located five white keys to the left of middle C. You can also play the top, or largest, string on the in-tune guitar. This will be the base note you start your tuning with.
- Play the low E string on the acoustic guitar. This will be the largest of the six strings and should be at the top if you are holding the acoustic guitar correctly.
- Turn the tuning knob that is closest to you on the top of the neck to change the pitch of the note. If you turn the knob clockwise, the string will play a lower note and if you turn it counterclockwise, the string will play a higher note. Continue to play the note on the piano while you tune the string until the notes match. Once you have this string in tune, you no longer need the piano or the other guitar.
- Place your finger on the fifth fret of the low E string and play the note. This will be the note you need to tune the next string to.
- Play the A string, the second string from the top. Rotate the tuning knob that corresponds to the string to change its pitch until it sounds like the note you were playing with the fifth fret of the E string.
- Repeat this process for each string on the acoustic guitar, using the fifth fret to tune the next string (with one exception). When you are tuning the B string, which will be the string one up from the bottom, you need to use the fourth fret on the G string instead of the fifth.