Tuning your acoustic guitar is the first step in your guitar playing career. Whether by skill, talent or technology, you must be able to get your guitar into tune. One common obstacle to learning to tune a guitar is a certain natural resistance to acquiring new knowledge. This reluctance is present in everybody to some degree. The prospect of learning to tune a guitar by ear is venturing into unfamiliar territory which can fill the novice acoustic guitarist with a feeling of dread.
Before we start to tackle the job of tuning, we need to get straight which string is which. The first string is the narrow string nearest your knee as you sit with the guitar in playing position. The sixth string is the widest string, and it is closest to your chin.
And the tuning goes like this:
1st string is "E"
2nd string is "B"
3rd string is "G"
4th string is "D"
5th string is "A"
6th string is "E"
Now to the nitty-gritty of tuning an acoustic guitar. There are a number of ways to do it, none of them particularly difficult. There are what you might call old fashioned ways which rely on a tuning instrument like a pitch pipe or tuning fork which is permanently tuned to the correct pitch for your guitar. Using these tuners to get your acoustic guitar into tune needs you to develop your ear so you can compare the tuner to your guitar by listening. Do not shy away from this method without trying it because you might think you have no ear but you will not know for sure until you try.
The guitar pitch pipe plays the notes when you blow into it so you can compare the sounds with your guitar. A tuning fork, when you bang it on your knee and hold it on the body of your guitar, sounds the note you get when you play the harmonic at the fifth fret of the fifth string. Once you get this note right, you tune the rest of the strings to the fifth string. Some free online guitar tuners also use the same principal, playing the notes to you, as you use your ear to see if your guitar is in tune.
If you have tried the methods of tuning your acoustic guitar using a pitch pipe or tuning fork, and still feel less than confident in your guitar tuning abilities, then you could think about acquiring a tuner that has a visual aid to tuning. The electronic guitar tuner is the simplest way of tuning your acoustic guitar. You pluck your guitar string and watch the indicator on the tuner to see how close you are to the correct note. There are guitar tuners you can get for free on the internet that work the same way.
After using these tuners for a while, you can always test your skill from time to time by tuning your guitar without the tuner, and seeing how accurate you have become.
You can also use a keyboard instrument to tune your guitar to. Start by finding on the keyboard the E note below Middle C. Then GO DOWN ANOTHER OCTAVE to tune the sixth string on the guitar. This is because the guitar's music is written an octave higher than it actually sounds compared to a piano!
Finally, once you have acquired a tuner, you must train yourself to use it! The acoustic guitar is not difficult to tune so take a couple of seconds now and then during your practice time to keep it sounding good.