I have been playing guitar for around 2 1/2 years now, but up to this point i have played only by ear picking out what sounded good to me, using tablatures. i have had some lessons, but this was never covered. so i figure i should learn this..can anyone help me to understand how to tune down a half step? thanx
"The guitar is just a wonderful instrument. It's everything: a bartender, a psychiatrist, a housewife. its everything, but it's elusive." -Les Paul
use a tuner

standard is E A D G B E

and down half a step is Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb
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Do you have a tuner? At this point you should know a little musical theory about notes, sharps and flats and half a step is just flatten the strings.

If you have a tuner then your tuning will be:

to tune your guitar down a half step from standard tuning, tune to (from low to high) E flat, A Flat, D flat, G flat, B flat, and E flat
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If you have a tuner, jsut plug in and tune everything down 1 semitone. eg. E goes to Eb, B goes to Bb.

If you dont have a tuner, the best you can do is try to tune it down 1 semitone by ear. And to test it, play stuff that you know really well, but 1 fret higher than usual. If it sounds right, then you've succesfully tuned down.
In standard tuning match the Low E with the 8th fret on the A string. Then just tune from your E string
get a tuner, any tuner should work. tune your guitar to normal tuning (EADGBE) except tune the low E down to a D# (d sharp) then tune all the other strings to this one with the 5th fret technique.
these are all good methods, except if your tuner doesn't recognize sharps and flats as independent notes, you have to play the first note by all ear. if you don't like that, and want true accuracy, place a capo on the first fret and then tune to standard. take the capo off, and there you go.
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Half a step = one fret.

Use an online guitar tuner: http://www.8notes.com/guitar_tuner/. Make sure it's in perfect standard tuning i.e. (Thinnest string to thickest) EBGDAE.

High E   Thinnest string
Low E  Thickest string

1) Play the B string, 4th fret. Make the High E match this note.

2) Play the G string, 3rd fret. Make the B string match this note.

3) Play the D string, 4th fret. Make the G string match this note.

4) Play the A string, 4th fret. Make the D string match this note.

5) Play the Low E string, 4th fret. Make the A string match this note.

6) Play the A string, 6th fret. Make the Low E string match this note.

Now all your strings have been detuned by half a step.
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Actually yeah the capo method, although I don't use it seems the most practical and a capo is cheap enough and small enough to carry round in any gig bag.

Hear this, my dad threw my capo out because he thought it was a crap piece of metal broken off something!
I have a korg tuner and on it..in the middle it says 450 and under the flat symbol it says 430..does the 430 marker mean tuned down half a step or one of the lines inbetween 450 and 430?
"The guitar is just a wonderful instrument. It's everything: a bartender, a psychiatrist, a housewife. its everything, but it's elusive." -Les Paul