Tuning Your Guitar III

My first lesson... I'll start with some tips on tuning a guitar.

Ultimate Guitar
Generally the songs are played in the standard tuning especially in "E standard". Below is the picture of a neck of a guitar showing the notes of different open strings. The part of neck between two metal ridges (actually called fret wires) as shown in the picture are called frets. Usually your guitar will have a marking at 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st and 24th frets. 1st string (thinnest one - in the picture its tuned to E5) 6th string (thickest one- in the picture its tuned to E3) Its easier to understand if I mention 6th string as just a bass version of the 1st string. They are the same notes with differences in resonating frequencies. If you look at the second picture you discover that: Pressing the 6th string in 5th fret and plucking the string is same as plucking the 5th open string (without any fingering). And similar is the case with other strings. But you need to remember that pressing the 3rd string in 5th fret and plucking is not similar to plucking the open 2nd string. So, this is how you tune your guitar. Start tuning from the 1st or the 6th string and go on playing the notes on the consecutive strings with the technique above. When your guitar is tuned and you pluck together: the 1st open string and 2nd string pressing on 5th fret then you mustn't hear two different sounds. If you have no idea about the note of the first string, just tune it to whatever you like and start tuning other strings based on that for practice. I have attached the sound of the 1st string played without fingering. You have to use your ear to first tune that string then the rest is really easy. Now, just focus on the picture above and you can learn a lot from it. Now tuning in "Drop D" isn't difficult at all. You just need to tune the 6th strings 1 step down i.e. two notes low. If you compare "standard E" and "drop D" tuning then:
Strings                       Standard E                         Drop D
1st                                    E                                        E
2nd                                    B                                        B
3rd                                    G                                        G
4th                                    D                                        D
5th                                    A                                        A
6th                                    E                                        D
Same thing applies for other drop tunings as well.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Not confusing at all if you take the time to understand it. Great lesson! I feel like i've learned alot.
    yeah right! i think i need more time to understand this one thanks by the way
    @green_beck tune your low E normally. then, tune the rest of your strings at the 4th fret instead of the 5th (obviously use the 3rd fret for the B string). once you're finished with that press the 7th fret on your low E string and match the low E to the A string (which should actually now be Ab). p.s.-playing in drop D is cheating! lol!
    @green_beck (and everyone else) sorry, i meant tune at the 6th fret (5th for B)... not the 4th! my bad! i caught that just as i hit the "post a comment" button! still, you would use the 7th fret for the low E as described, though...
    wow.im kinda green but i try undarstand it..maybe in a while..ill try learn by myself but its hard u guys are qiet smart
    Sorry if I couldn't make it clear or confused you. I'll try explaining better next time.
    it's helpful. but i still to have my doubts about tuning the 1st...it's really the right note or not..or just tune it as well as we feel comfort with the tune?
    can't you tune it by picking each string on say the A note. For example: 6th string 5th fret, 5th string open, 4th string 7th fret, 3rd string 2nd fret, 2nd string 10th fret 1st string 5th fret?
    You can but it would be pretty difficult as they are on different octaves