I use standard tuning, but what if a song is in a different tuning? Like Cashmere by Led Zeppelin. You would need to know DADGAD tuning. Or if you want to play a Hank Williams song. And you need to know Drop D tuning. That’s why I have created this Ultimate Guide for Tuning your Guitar.
What Is in the Ultimate Guitar Tuning Guide? The Ultimate Guitar Tuning Guide:
- How to tune your guitar
- Tuning your guitar for Drop D tuning.
- How to Tune to DADGAD from standard tuning
- Also How to Tune for E flat
- How to tune down a half step
- Tune down a whole step
- Bonus Tuning Cheat Sheet.
If this sounds like something you would like to learn about. Then stick around to learn these tunings. And I also have a Cheat Sheet that you can get.
Your guitar strings each have a name. When you play the string it makes a sound and the sound or tone when played is a note. Which is also the name of the string. Starting with the 6th strings, which is the Thickest. And going up to the first string. When the guitar is in standard tuning the strings are E A D G B e. There are ways to remember the names of the strings. You can Learn the word associations in What are the 6 strings on the guitar called.
After you buy your first guitar the next thing you will want to learn is how to tune it. Because no matter what you play if it is not in tune it won’t sound good. So learn how to tune your guitar. When you tune a 6 string guitar, acoustic or electric. You are tuning it to standard tuning.
Which as previously discussed is E A D G B e. So let’s take a look at how to tune your guitar.
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How to tune your guitar
I will show you how to tune a guitar without using a tuner. This way whether you have a tuner or not. You will be able to tune your guitar. Then I can explain the Easy way to tune your guitar using a Chromatic tuner.
First you want to start with the 6th string. The thickest string. Pluck the string open. After playing a while you can hear if the string is in tune. But if you are a new players I recommend you get a reference tone for the E string. Then you can tune that string to E and the rest will follow. Here is a link to a free Tuner.
What you want to do is pick the E string and listen to the E on the tuner. If your guitar is higher turn the tuning knob for the 6th string and lower the pitch. Meaning bring down the pitch of the string until it is equal to the E on the Tuner. And if the pitch or tone of the string is lower than that of the tuner. Then turn the tuning knob for the guitar opposite to raise the pitch.
In the beginning it may take a little bit until you can get the correct pitch, but that’s okay. Get it as close as you can.
Fret at the 5th String
Then with your first finger at the 5th fret. On the 6th string. Pick the 6th string and then the 5th string. They should sound the same when you have fretted the 6th string at the 5th fret. If the 5th string is higher use the tuning knob and lower the pitch of the 5th string. To lower you would turn the knob towards you or to the right. And if the 5th string is low then turn the knob away from you. This will raise the pitch of the string. Do this until the 5th and 6th string are at the same pitch.
Next move down a string and fret the 5th string at the 5th fret. Now you are going to pick the fretted 5th string. And then pick the 4th string open. Do they sound the same? If not find the tuning knob for the 4th string and adjust it up or down. After tuning the fourth string you want to tune the G string. The third string.
To do this your going to place your first finger on the 4th string at the 5th fret. And just like the other two strings. Play the fretted 4th string and then the 3rd string. How do they sound? If they are the same then there is no need to make any adjustments to the G string.
You can get a Cheat Sheet on My Patreon site that will help you step by step to tune your guitar and more!
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Tuning the B String
Now we are at the B string what your going to want to do is Move back a fret on the B string. So instead of fretting at the 5th string. Like you did with strings 6 through the 4th string. Now place your finger on the 4th fret of the G string. The 3rd string. Once the 4th fret of the G string is fretted, pick the 3rd string and second string to see if the B string is at a higher pitch or a lower pitch than the G string. When it is fretted at the 4th fret.
If they don’t sound the same find out if the B string is higher or lower in pitch and make an adjustment until they sound the same.
Next there is only one string left and that is the high E string. Like all the other strings other than the B. You are going to fret at the 5th fret. This time on the B string. After fretting the B string. Pick the B string and then the First string (e string). And if they don’t sound the same adjust the tuning knob of the e string to tune the guitar.
This may seem like a lot at first. But once you get used to tuning your guitar it will only take a few minutes. You will find that the more you play, you will be able to hear when a string goes out of tune and tune it by ear. By simply making the adjustment. But if you want to get the cheat sheet to have handy you can get it here on my Patreon.
Tuning a Guitar With a Tuner
Tuning a Guitar to Drop D tuning
Another tuning that has a great sound. Is drop D tuning. Which is just one in a long list of guitar tunings. You can here is in Hank William songs like Country Boy Can Survive and lots more. But if you don’s want to tune your guitar down you can still get close to it. Like in this guitar lesson by Travis Tritt How to Play Long Haired Country Boy on Guitar. Check it out!
Drop D tuning, compared to standard tuning. In standard tuning when everything is tuned properly. Your strings are E A D G B e. With Drop D tuning you are going to take the Low E strings. Which is the 6th string and you are going to lower it down to a D. The easiest way to do this is by attaching the Tuner to the head stock. Turn it on and start turning the tuning peg for the 6th string until the D is in the green. Or in the middle depending on the style of tuner you have.
If you don’t have a tuner you can use your 4th string to measure the tone. The 4th string on standard tuning is the D string. So if you play the D string. Listen to it and then adjust the E string. The thickest string to D. So lower until they sound the same. It will actual be one octave lower than the D string. But you will be able to hear that it is D.
Pro Tip – Use the harmonic at the 12th fret of the E string. And it should sound the same as the open D string. When it is in tune with the D.
Related Article: How do You Use the Circle of Fifths?
How to Tune to DADGAD From Standard Tuning?
What in the world is dadgad you might ask? Or if you have been playing for a minute. You may of hear Led Zeppelins Cashmire. This was done in DaDGAD tuning. From the 6th string down you would take the E string and tune it down to a D. Then your A string which is the 5th string stays tuned to A. Also the D string stays tuned to D. Which is the standard tuning for the 4th string. After that is the 3rd string. Which is the G string. Leave it tuned to G. The second string in standard tuning is B you are going to tune it up to A. Which is raising the pitch. And finally the first string E string is going to be tuned just as the 6th string. Which is D again.
So instead of having E A D G B e after it is Tuned to dadgad you have the notes D A D G A D. The easiest way to tune the guitar like this would be to use a tuner. If you don’t have one yet check out the current price on Amazon.
How to Tune Down a Half Step
A half step on a guitar is one fret. So if you were going to tune down a half step using the E string. Then half a step down from E is Eb. This would mean you would place the tuner on the headstock turn it on. And play the E string. If it is in tune the guitar tuner will show an E. And to tune it down half a step. You would take the tuning peg for the E string. And lower the pitch of the string to Eb. To be able to do this at anytime you want it helps to know the notes on the fretboard. You can learn more about that here in the guitar bootcamp.
Standard tuning is E A D G B e tuning down a half step looks like this:
- E goes down to a Eb
- A is tuned down to Ab
- D is tuned to Db
- G is tuned down in pitch to Gb
- B is tuned down to Bb
- e the first string is tuned down to Eb same as the Low E string.
Use a tuner to lower the E to Eb. Then you can tune the rest of the strings down. Just like you would when tuning standard. By fretting at the 5th.
How to Tune Down a Whole Step
This is similar to tuning down a half step. But now its a whole step. So if one fret is a half step. Then you need to tune it down two frets. Which equals a whole step. Standard tuning is E A D G B e.
- E is the 6th string it would be lowered down to a D which is two frets lower in pitch than the E note.
- A is the 5th string and it would be lowered in pitch to G which is a whole step or two frets lower than A.
- D is the 4th string you want to lower the pitch to C again two frets lower than D.
- G when lowered a whole step the pitch is F.
- B which is the 2nd is going to be lowered to a A.
- Then we have the first string, the E string. Which is going to be lowered to a D just like the 6th string.
To learn more about the notes on the fret board. And really get on a fast track to your success of mastering the guitar. Then check out my Guitar Bootcamp Course. Don’t miss the sale.
How to Tune for E flat
Use a tuner and tune down the 6th string to Eb. Once you have that you can fret at the 5th fret of the 6th string. And pick the 6th string and 5th string. Lower the pitch of the 5th string to A flat. Fret at the 5th fret of the 5th string. Now you are going to pick the fretted 5th string. And then pick the 4th string open. Lower the 4th string down to D flat. Next move to the G string. Which is the 3rd string.
Tune it to Gb. When tuning the B string., Instead of fretting on the 5th fret. Move back a fret to the 4th fret on the 3rd string. And play the 3rd string and the B string. Tune the B string down to B flat. Then play the 2nd string and the high E string. And tune down the E string to E flat. When your listening to the two strings. That you are tuning and making the adjustment. The tone will match, but the string being fretted is an octave lower than the string you are tuning down.
Get the Tuning Cheat Sheet to Help you remember how to tune your guitar. By joining my Patreon.