How to Tune an Electric Guitar?
If you’re going to play electric guitar or any other type of guitar, the first thing you need to learn how to do is properly tune it. Without proper tuning, your listeners will notice that something is a bit off, and that’s something you definitely don’t want. Learning to tune a guitar is one of the biggest challenges to a beginner, but it’s imperative that you learn how to do this if you want to sound good each time you play.
There are essentially three ways to tune a guitar: by ear, with some type of tuning device, and with an app. All three are simple once you get familiar with them, and the details on each are listed below.
Tuning by Ear
Tuning a guitar by ear is the most common way to tune, and once you practice it enough, it’ll become second nature to you. The strings on an electric guitar are in this order: E, A, D, G, B, and E. The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the low E string is already in tune, and you can use a piano or even another guitar to get that done. Once the low E string is tuned, play the fifth fret on the low E string. This is an A, so you’ll want to tune that string to an A. You’ll basically use this method to tune the rest of the strings.
For example, to tune the next string, the D string, play the fifth fret on the A string and tune it accordingly. Play the fifth fret on the D string to tune the G string, but when you get to the B string, the method changes a little. Instead of using the fifth fret of the G string to tune the B string, you would play the fourth fret (not the fifth fret) to get the open B string tuned. Finally, with the high E string, you play the fifth fret of the B string to tune this one. This method is often called the “55545,” and once you realize how to do it, you’ll understand why.
Tuning with a Tuner
Using a tuner is a super-easy way to tune your electric guitar because it tells you when the string is tuned correctly. There are three basic types of tuners:
- Microphone-based tuners, which pick up the sound of each of the strings via microphone. Most of them are super easy because they have a display that tells you exactly how close you are to tuning the note properly. They are also very inexpensive.
- Plug-in/pedal tuners, which are specifically designed for electric guitars. These tuners are connected to the guitar via a jack lead, and the interface has a light or needle to show you how close you are to having the string tuned correctly.
- Vibration-based tuners, which detect the pitch of each note via vibrations. These are recommended whenever you are in a noisy location. They pick up the tone regardless of outside noises because of the way they work. These are usually clipped onto the guitar itself.
The only thing to keep in mind about clip-on tuners is that some guitarists consider them an eyesore. People who play electric guitar often like the look of the guitar as much as they like the sound of it, and clip-on tuners can ruin that look in some people’s eyes.
Tuning with an App
Naturally, this option hasn’t been around forever, but it’s a great convenience nonetheless. There are numerous tuning apps available, so it’s easy to choose the one that’s right for you. Best of all, they are available for both Android and iOS phones, and most of them are super easy to use. Some of the apps you might want to try include VITALtuner and Cleartune, and Ultimate Guitar: Chords and Tabs also has a great tuner that comes with their app. They tend to be easy to read and very accurate, so you can count on them to help you tune your electric guitar properly.
Tuning apps usually have very reliable software and intuitive interfaces. In other words, they are very accurate and simple to use, even if you’re just learning to play. Tuning your guitar right before you practice or start a lesson is important, and tuning apps make doing that a breeze. Most of them even include real guitar tones that you can hear so that you know exactly what every string is supposed to sound like. Finally, most of the apps are reasonably priced, which means you can tune your guitar quickly and easily without breaking the bank.
In some genres, there are alternative guitar tunings as well. For example, heavy metal and grunge artists often use the Drop D method of tuning, which involves tuning the low E string down to a D. Open D, GABDEG, and Open G are other methods of tuning an electric guitar, and each one opens up new possibilities once you start to play.
Conclusion – How to Tune an Electric Guitar
If you’re going to play the electric guitar, knowing how to tune it properly is a must. Although tuning by ear is a lot of guitarists’ goal, you can also choose an electric tuner or even an app that runs on your smartphone. The more you use these tuning methods, the more they’ll feel like second nature to you. Since guitars don’t hold tunes for very long, it’s imperative to know how to tune them because this is one thing you’ll be doing a lot.
Tuning is important, regardless of the type of music you choose to play. Fortunately, most guitars have only six strings, so you only have to learn the sound of six notes. Over time, this task becomes much easier because of how often you have to tune your guitar. The key in finding the right tuner is to find the one that feels most comfortable to you. Keep in mind that there are many different ways to tune your electric guitar, so it really won’t take long to find the one that works best and feels right to you.
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