Every gigging guitar player experiences that ONE TIME when they forget to tune their guitar before stepping on the stage. And after that one time– you never again fail to tune. In the "old days" performers generally tuned by ear. But with the development in electronic tuners, it's much more popular for guitarists to use a guitar tuner and the most standard type of tuner is the Clip-On Tuner. Many clip on tuners work on acoustic, electric and bass guitar as well as violins and ukuleles.
Secure your tuner to the end of your headstock and turn it to Guitar setting.
How To Tune a Guitar
There are two steps to tuning your guitar. First, you want to make certain your strings are tuned to the correct note. Then you want to ensure that that note is in tune. The strings are identified by both a note and a number, as follows:
E– the thickest string is the 6th string.
A– is the 5th.
D– is the 4th.
G– is the 3rd.
B– is the 2nd.
E– the thinnest string is the 1st.
1. Tuning Strings to Accurate Note.
Play the low E string. The tuner will display a note. If your guitar string is tuned to the appropriate note, an E will be shown on the tuner. If it displays any note besides E, turn your low E string tuning peg on your guitar to set the string to the note of E.
As an example, if you play your low E string and the tuner shows a D, you want to tune that string to the accurate note. D is before E in the musical alphabet so you need to raise the pitch of the string until it becomes an E.
Envision that the tuner said that the note that you were playing was an F #. In this instance, you would need lower the pitch of the note until it became an E.
If you aren't sure which way to turn your tuning peg, here's the way to know: Tighter is Higher, Looser is Lower.
When your E string is tuned to an E note, it's time to check to be sure it's IN tune.
2. Make certain The Note is in Tune.
The higher quality tuners have both a needle and a light to let you know if the note is in tune, sharp or flat. If the note that you are tuning is flat, the needle will be left of center. If the note that you are tuning is sharp, the needle will be right of center.
Again, using the tuning peg on the guitar for that note, turn the peg tighter if the note is too flat and turn the peg looser if the note is too sharp.
When the note is in tune the needle will be in the middle of the display and the tuner's display background light will turn color.
Duplicate this technique for all five remaining strings.
Don't be discouraged if you break a string or if it takes you a while to really get the whole idea of tuning. That's common.