How to Tune Your Guitar Properly

As you need to tune a guitar every time you want to play it, and sometimes even mid-session, it makes sense to master this task early on so you can do it quickly and without a second thought in the future. Here’s our take on how to tune a guitar properly, written for beginners to follow.


It’s best to start with standard tuning; you can always get fancy at some point down the line. To tune a guitar you need to be completely familiar with the different strings, which are, from top to bottom, EADGBE, as they are tuned in this order. The tuning takes place when you adjust the string using the tuning keys at the end of the guitar.

When it is turned away from you the pitch rises as the string is now tighter, so when you want to make it lower you loosen the string and turn the key towards you.

Remember that you are tuning to hear the right pitch when you play that one string alone.

Tune the low E string; this is the thickest of all the strings. If you are a beginner to music use some form of tuner or a guitar tuning app as a reference to know you have the right note.

Tune the A string. Start by putting your index finger on the bottom E’s 5th fret – which goes you an A note you can use to adjust the A string to match.

Tune the D string. Follow the same instructions as above, but this time use the A string’s 5th fret.

Tune the G string. Again repeat the same action using the D string’s 5th fret to hear the G note sound you are aiming for.

Tune the B string. This is a little different as you use the 4th fret of the G string.

Tune the High E (the thinnest string).This time your index finger is in a different position – sitting just behind the B string’s 5th fret, the carry on as you have for the others.

Extra help

If you have nobody on hand to help directly, or you prefer to figure things out alone take a look at the many videos on YouTube that cover guitar tuning in detail. Watching someone do it can be very helpful.

And don’t forget that there are lots of free websites which help you identify the correct pitch, as well as low-cost gadgets you can buy for the guitar that do the same.

One more tip

Guitars need tuning quite often, but you may be able to avoid tuning it every time by regularly changing your guitar’s strings. Do this at least once a month, or more often if you play very regularly.

Between sessions keep your guitar in a cool and dry place and well away from humidity or high heats. If possible store it in a hard case rather than a softer carry bag.

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