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Old 02-03-2013, 03:41 PM   #1
CaptainFantasy
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Basic Tuning Question

I've been playing guitar for three years and never really tuned on my own (ok a few times). Either had my guitar teacher or friend do it for me.

Last time I came in to play with my friend, I had tried tuning it myself (and the tuner said it was in tune) and my friend said "whoa, this is two octaves off." It did sound wrong, but the tuner said it was right!

So my question is, how can you tell if it's tuned to the right octave or whatever (whatever regular tuning is)? Because apparently the tuner tells you if it's EADGBE, but not if it's the right one (or my tuner doesn't).
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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what kind of tuner do you have ??...

I have 2 different ones Sabine stx-110 and a Snark , just got my grandson a Snark (wich I like a lot ) but he was tuning some strings sharp and others flat , on the Snark you have to watch for the sharp and flat symbols or it will mess you up , wonder if thats whats happening to you ??
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
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a really shitty one that came with a squier guitar. What tuner do you recommend?
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Old 02-03-2013, 03:53 PM   #4
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Snarks are 20.00 usa and I like it best , just have to watch the symbols along with the letter
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Old 02-03-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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The tuner will tell you what note it's registering. but they won't generally tell you what octave you're at unless you have a really hi-tech one. you just gotta use common sense when it comes to getting in the right area for standard tuning.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:05 PM   #6
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2 octaves off? That mean it's tuned seriously low. If your tuner has a guitar mode, it should tell you which string it's tuned to. For example, the 5th string is normally tuned to A, so it will say something like 5A.

Also, get one string in tune to the correct key, and then use the 5th fret tuning method to tune the others. After you've done that, use the tuner to fine tune each string.

After you've figured out how to tune a guitar using a tuner, you might invest in a better tuner. I don't know about Squier tuners, but I have a tuner I bought from target that is very unresponsive, and sometimes finicky. It's tunes to the correct key, but it's a pain to use for something like the intonation. I use a Fender headstock tuner right now, and I love it. $10 and totally worth it.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:36 PM   #7
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All right thanks guys. Just frustrating. I don't have a natural ear for guitar so it's easy for me to miss this. It just gives me the green light and whether it's sharp or flat, that's all. I'll check out the recommended tuners-much obliged.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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You can't be two octaves off because then your guitar strings wouldn't ring any more. Two octaves lower is the same as if you did a divebomb with a whammy bar. That's about two octaves. Bass is only one octave lower than guitar. And if you were two octaves higher, your strings would break. Your low E string would be tuned to the same pitch as your high E string normally.

But really, learn to tune by ear. If you have been playing for three years, you should have at least somehow trained ear.

You know the standard way to tune guitar?

E string 5th fret = open A string
A string 5th fret = open D string
D string 5th fret = open G string
G string 4th fret = open B string
B string 5th fret = open E string

Those should be the same pitch. You need at least decent ear if you want to be able to play some music (other than rely on tabs). Sorry if it feels like I assume you are a complete noob and you already know this all. I just need to make sure that you know this. It's one of the most basic of the basic guitar skills that everybody should be able to do. OK, from now on don't let your friends or teacher tune your guitar. Don't rely on tuner only. Do it all by yourself and only fine tune with tuner if it feels impossible to do by ear.

If you don't have a decent ear, work on it. To play guitar well, you need to be able to tell if you are out of tune and if you are hitting the right notes.

You could learn some songs by ear without looking at tabs. Maybe some simple AC/DC song first. They pretty much only use power chords. But don't look at tabs, figure it out by yourself! Listen to the sound of your guitar, don't just try to remember the fingerings and hope that it will sound good.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine : 02-03-2013 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 05:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
You can't be two octaves off because then your guitar strings wouldn't ring any more. Two octaves lower is the same as if you did a divebomb with a whammy bar. That's about two octaves. Bass is only one octave lower than guitar. And if you were two octaves higher, your strings would break. Your low E string would be tuned to the same pitch as your high E string normally.

But really, learn to tune by ear. If you have been playing for three years, you should have at least somehow trained ear.

You know the standard way to tune guitar?

E string 5th fret = open A string
A string 5th fret = open D string
D string 5th fret = open G string
G string 4th fret = open B string
B string 5th fret = open E string

Those should be the same pitch. You need at least decent ear if you want to be able to play some music (other than rely on tabs). Sorry if it feels like I assume you are a complete noob and you already know this all. I just need to make sure that you know this. It's one of the most basic of the basic guitar skills that everybody should be able to do. OK, from now on don't let your friends or teacher tune your guitar. Don't rely on tuner only. Do it all by yourself and only fine tune with tuner if it feels impossible to do by ear.

If you don't have a decent ear, work on it. To play guitar well, you need to be able to tell if you are out of tune and if you are hitting the right notes.

You could learn some songs by ear without looking at tabs. Maybe some simple AC/DC song first. They pretty much only use power chords. But don't look at tabs, figure it out by yourself!


Yeah, I've tried to tune it by ear. I tune the E string with the tuner and then try to do the rest. For some reason it's always a little flat. The problem is, I can hear in my head what's right, but then when I get close, I say hey that sounds pretty good. This is pretty much a huge step I skipped in my learning, and it's sort of coming back to bite me.

Last edited by CaptainFantasy : 02-03-2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainFantasy
Yeah, I've tried to tune it by ear. I tune the E string with the tuner and then try to do the rest. For some reason it's always a little flat. The problem is, I can hear in my head what's right, but then when I get close, I say hey that sounds pretty good. This is pretty much a huge step I skipped in my learning, and it's sort of coming back to bite me.

Also compare your low E string to your high E string. If they are not in tune, tune again. Maybe play some chords. If they sound bad, tune again. Maybe play the notes individually and listen which of them sounds out of tune. I prefer tuning with chords, I rarely use the basic way. I'm really picky when it comes to tuning. It just sounds awful to me if somebody's a bit out of tune.

The problem might also be that your guitar doesn't hold tuning well.

Just keep on tuning with your ear, it's good ear training. And learn songs by ear, that's also good ear training. Using your ears is always a good thing in music.
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Old 02-03-2013, 06:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
You know the standard way to tune guitar?

E string 5th fret = open A string
A string 5th fret = open D string
D string 5th fret = open G string
G string 4th fret = open B string
B string 5th fret = open E string\.

This is definitely something everyone should know how to do, but it's no substitute for a tuner since all frets, except for the 12th and 24th, are naturally out of tune from the the open string.

TS, learn to do the 5th fret method, but also learn to use a tuner(and possibly get a better tuner).
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:33 PM   #12
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Appreciate all the responses, thanks!
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:35 PM   #13
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if you are going to play guitar(or any instrument) you should be able to at least hum or know what a standard open E440 sounds like. I can get very close to or right on 95% of the time.

Then use the tuner to fine tune off of that. But if you are 2 octives low you should be able to hear that
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danvwman
if you are going to play guitar(or any instrument) you should be able to at least hum or know what a standard open E440 sounds like. I can get very close to or right on 95% of the time.

Then use the tuner to fine tune off of that. But if you are 2 octives low you should be able to hear that


This doesn't make sense. A4 vibrates at 440hz, but the open low E on a guitar, E2, vibrates at about 80hz. Just saying...
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:42 AM   #15
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I think the main problem here is...

- You've been playing 3 years and your teacher never showed you how to tune. Find a new teacher...

- You can't hear when a guitar is 2 octaves out. There's no way that's even possible, a tuner wouldn't be able to pick that up if it was below. And the string would snap if it was above.

Maybe your friend meant two tones? Or he was bullshitting.
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Old 02-04-2013, 06:03 AM   #16
MaggaraMarine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W4RP1G
This is definitely something everyone should know how to do, but it's no substitute for a tuner since all frets, except for the 12th and 24th, are naturally out of tune from the the open string.

TS, learn to do the 5th fret method, but also learn to use a tuner(and possibly get a better tuner).

Yes, 5th fret is not perfectly in tune, but tuner is also out of tune because it tunes your guitar in 12 TET, though guitar is a 12 TET instrument. But that means your major chords will sound slightly out of tune (the major third should be lower and sometimes it sounds better if you lower your B string or G string a bit to make A or E major chords sound better).

That's why I suggest to learn to tune with chords. If the chords sound right, then you are in tune. I prefer using my ear to tuner. If my ear says it's out of tune then I'm out of tune. I really don't use the 5th fret method any more, it's too inaccurate for me. It's just for fast checking if some string isn't in tune.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine

You know the standard way to tune guitar?

E string 5th fret = open A string
A string 5th fret = open D string
D string 5th fret = open G string
G string [U
4th[/U] fret = open B string
B string 5th fret = open E string



This is the best and easiest answer to follow. Thanks Maggara!

-wilfred Help With Relaxation

Last edited by wilfredmaya : 02-05-2013 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
I think the main problem here is...

- You've been playing 3 years and your teacher never showed you how to tune. Find a new teacher...

- You can't hear when a guitar is 2 octaves out. There's no way that's even possible, a tuner wouldn't be able to pick that up if it was below. And the string would snap if it was above.

Maybe your friend meant two tones? Or he was bullshitting.


I guess. It's been on and off. I've been too lazy to do theory or any basic mechanics, just wanting to learn to play a bunch of my favorite songs. Got to introduce some more discipline.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:35 PM   #19
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Again, that comes down to your teacher.
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