It is still debatable whether the best way to tune guitars is by using a tuner (electronic device) or by ear. As we are going to discuss further, tuning guitars by ear offers several advantages over the “easier” way of using an electronic tuner. Besides, we are also going to give you some tips on how to tune a guitar by ear.
Why tuning a guitar by ear is better
It is, indeed, true that tuning a guitar by using a tuner is much easier for some people. You probably have already had so many guitar tuner apps that can catch the sound of your guitar, analyze it, and then directly tell you how you are supposed to turn the tuning pegs. So, why did we suggest you to tune your guitar by ear? The answer is: because tuning a guitar by ear can help you to train your ear sensitivity to the pitch. Sooner or later, you will be able to feel the pitch connection between notes. You will become much more sensitive to the small detail of tuning. In other words, when you are already familiar to tune guitars by ear means building a strong foundation of pitch understanding skills.
By brushing up your pitching skills, it is not impossible for you to instantly tell whether or not the guitar you just strummed has been correctly tuned. This ability can become a very solid foundation for understanding notes instantly only by listening. Besides, some professional guitarists even rely on this ability to develop the perfect pitch. Then, what are the right steps of tuning a guitar by ear?
Tuning a guitar by ear
Here are the steps of how to standard tune guitars by ear. Checking your pegs is very important before you start tuning your guitar. It is important especially when you have not been familiar with the tuning pegs. As we know, the direction of every single peg may vary. They could be set on one same side (electronic guitars), or three pegs on each side (acoustic guitars). If you are familiar with the strings setup (whether turning the string clockwise will make it tighter or not, and vice versa) of your very own guitar, you will not need to think about it again when tuning your guitar. Instead, you will instinctively twist the string.
The second step is understanding the guitar strings. Assuming that you know the sixth (low E) string, fifth (A) string, third (D) string, fourth (G) string, second (B) string, and first (high E) string.
- You can search any reference pitch and then listen to any reliable example of a perfect “E” note.
- Try to set up the sixth string and strum it until it sounds exactly like the reference sound.
- Once you have tuned the sixth string, you will no longer need your reference note to set up the fifth string.
- Put your finger on the fifth fret of the sixth string, compare its sound to the open fifth string’s sound.
- If they are discords, you should twist the fifth string until both of them sound exactly the same.
- Do this method to all of the strings, except the second (B) string.
- When setting up the second string, you should place your finger on the fourth fret – instead of the fifth fret – of the third string.
Those are the tips on how to tune guitars by ear. You can double check to make sure whether you have tuned it correctly or not.