Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How and Why to Tune The Guitar

There is one very common mistake among beginner guitarists. Tuning, whether that be poor tuning or just an inability to tune the instrument whatsoever. There are several ways to fix this. An electronic tuning device - There are many of these to be found, A quick delve into any search engine will result in thousands of products for you to choose from ranging from incredibly cheap options to more expensive items. Even if you are not very wealthy you can pick one of these things up for very cheap indeed.
The next aid to tuning would be a tuning fork. The way you would use one of these is quite simple really. You simply take the tuning fork and hit it against something ( your leg, a table or something relatively hard.). The tuning fork will then ring out in the pitch that it is tuned to. You can buy tuning forks in different pitches as they are more useful to some instruments in different keys. The most popular tuning fork is tuned to "a 440". When you hear a pitch being describe as a number it means that that is how many times it has to vibrate per second in order to achieve that pitch.
How to tune a guitar
The guitar Is tuned to E,A,D,G.B,E in 90% of situations and is hence called standard tuning. There are hundreds of tunings for the guitar but for now we shall stick to this one as it is by far the most common.

6th String - E (The Thickest One)
5th String - A
4th String - D
3rd String - G
2nd String -B
1st String - E (The Thinnest One)
The more you tune your instrument the better you will get at it and after a while you find that you no longer have to use a tuner.
There are a few exceptions when tuning your guitar will not make you sound any better:
If your intonation is out on your guitar it will make your guitar out of tune a lot of the time regardless of skill or how well you have tuned the guitar in the first place. If you don't feel comfortable changing the intonation of your guitar a quick trip to your local music shop will repair this as it's not a very hard job for a skilled luthier or guitar tech.
If you find that your guitar is going out of tune quickly it could be worthwhile investing in some new machine heads as they can really make a difference. Remember to change your strings every month or so (perhaps sooner depending on how much you play) as this will give you a better tone and will also help to keep your guitar in tune.

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