Tuning the Guitar is a very important skill that takes lots of practice and ear training to master. Playing an un-tuned guitar can be painful, harassing and demotivating. It’s important to have the guitar tuned properly at all times.
So, how do you go about tuning your guitar if you are just beginning out? I remember, during my early days of learning, I would take the guitar to my teacher once a month. He would take a reference high E note from another tuned guitar or a piano and tune it within seconds. What he did was beyond me at that time. Fortunately, today you don’t have to run to your teacher every time you need to tune your guitar. There are many options to tune your guitar easily even though you may not know how to do it. I will list a few below.
Ideally, tuning once a week should be enough. The trick to tuning the guitar quickly is to remember the sound of each string in standard tuning. But you need to take a reference from another already tuned musical instrument for at least one of the strings. This ensures you don’t end up tuning on a completely different pitch.
Standard Tuning: E A D G B e
Online Guitar Tuner
Here’s a nice and easy guitar tuner for you. Simply listen to the note and try and match it on your guitar with the help of your ear. This will help develop your ear and remember the sound of each string in standard tuning.
Guitar Tuner courtesy of the folks at Wimpy Player
Tuner – gStrings Free Android Application (Recommended)
I recently discovered this Android application called gStrings Tuner. It’s an amazing app which makes tuning your guitar very easy. This app makes all the costly electronic tuners available in the market redundant. But of course, you need to have an Android smartphone. I have a Nexus 4 and I use this app to tune my guitar.
Using this app to tune your guitar is really simple. Just click on the ‘Tune Auto’ button, keep your phone near the base of the guitar (maybe on your lap) and start playing each individual string. The needle in the app will fluctuate to varying degrees depending on how un-tuned the string is. Your aim is to reduce the fluctuation to minimum and keep the needle exactly in the middle. It’s actually harder to explain than to do it. Just try it once and I assure you, even if you are beginner you would take less than a minute to tune all the strings like a pro!
There is no Apple app from the same developer. I am sure there will be other good guitar tuner apps on Apple Store. I don’t own an Apple device so cannot recommend any one in particular.
That’s all from my side. Happy Tuning!