How to Tune a Guitar for Beginners

By | January 24, 2019
check the tuning

As a beginner, you may be playing a few guitar chords and be able to sing along with little difficult, but it can happen that the next time you pick the guitar and start playing, you find that the guitar is out of tune.

It does not matter how good you can be with strumming or how well you hold the chords, if the guitar is out of tune, the guitar sound will be bad. You should know how to tune a guitar.

What I do before I start playing the guitar, I check the tuning. This daily check will increase the level of your hearing because you will be pay attention to the quality of the sound coming from the guitar.

There are so many factors that can make the guitar get out of tune. If you just changed and put new strings, the guitar is bound to get out of tune the first time and you need to re tune. The weather too can cause the guitar to get out of tune, or the keys may have moved accidentally while putting the guitar in the case.

There are many ways of tuning the guitar but I will mention three which as a beginner should know. Regardless what method we use, tuning a guitar is done one string at a time

You can tune the guitar electronically, with a piano, or a method called relatively tuning. Some methods are complicated and difficult to explain because they are used by experienced guitar player. I will explain the three common methods of tuning the guitar.


Electronic guitar tuners come in different shapes, They have an input socket where you can connect the guitar and a microphone for acoustic guitars that don’t have a pickup. New technology is coming up and now you can download a guitar tuner app.

All in all, the principle is the same. The gauge will move to the middle if the string is well tuned and the light signals will determine to get the right pitch of the note.

Tune With a Piano

Tune with a Piano

For the piano, you need to be familiar the names of the open strings on the guitar (E A D G B E) and also be familiar with the piano keys. All you do is play the notes on the piano and listen if they sound the same on the corresponding string. If it does not sound the same, the string must be tuned to match the note on the piano.

The best way is to start with the lower (E) string. If you press the lower (E) on the piano, you play also lower string (E) and hear if the sound is the same. If all the open guitar strings notes matches the relevant piano notes, then guitar is tuned. Try playing any chord and hear if the guitar is tuned.

Relatively Tuning

Easiest way to tune the guitar if you don't have the piano

Suppose you don’t have an electronic tuner or piano, what do you do? There is one method called relative tuning. This is the easiest way to tune the guitar if you don’t have the piano or an electronic tuner.

Here are the instructions for relative tuning.

Press the lower (6th)string on the 5th fret and play the note. Check if this note sounds the same with the next open string.

If the open string does not sound the same, the open string has to be tuned to match the 6th string.

Now move to the 5th string and press the 5th fret to tune the 4th open string.

Then the 4th string will tune the 3rd string.

For the 3rd string to tune to the 2nd string, you will press on the 4th fret to tune the 2nd string.

Then go to the 5th fret of 2nd string to tune the 1st open string.

Relative tuning works well for a beginner but there is a risk of having a higher tension on the lower string which may give a very high tension. This can cause damage to the guitar, or strings may break during tuning.

In my opinion, relative tuning should be considered to be the last resort in cases where you are replacing the old strings with new ones.

An electronic tuner is the best on how to tune the guitar for beginners. You can get an electronic tuner at a very affordable price or download a guitar tuner app into your phone.

One thought on “How to Tune a Guitar for Beginners

  1. Barbara

    This is a very well written and easily readable article, My husband recently started to play guitar and even went and signed up for a course with a teacher. I do not know much about the subject but I will definitely pas it on to him I am sure every tip he can get will help him improve especially since he just started the whole process very recently


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