Relative Tuning – How To Tune Your Guitar To Itself

From beginners just starting their musical journey to well-weathered guitarists with a wealth of experience behind them, tuning your guitar is just as important as knowing how to play it.  Below is a practical guide to guitar tuning that players at all levels should be able to grasp and use successfully.

Tip 1 – Know Your Strings

The below list shows the guitar strings starting with the the thickest. Each string becomes thinner, finishing with the 1st string.

how to tune

E – 6th
A – 5th
D – 4th
G – 3rd
b – 2nd
E – 1st

Tip 2 – Know How To Tune Your Guitar Without Any Fancy Gadgets

The E String

This is the 6th string if it is need of tuning it can be tuned to E using another instrument.

The A String
Once the E string is in tune it’s time for the musician to tune your guitar to itself. After finding the fifth fret, the first finger should be placed just behind the fret on the 6th string. This gives a clear A note. Holding the finger to retain the A note, the fifth and sixth string should be sounded and the fifth string tuned accordingly until both strings give the same pitch. The A string is now in tune.

The D String
Now that the A string is in tune, the first finger should be placed again just behind the fifth fret, but this time on the A string. The guitar will now sound a D. As for the step above sound the fifth and fourth strings, adjusting the fourth string as necessary until the same pitch is achieved. The D string is now in tune.

The G String

Using the same pattern the fifth finger should be placed behind the fifth fret on the now tuned D string. This produces a clear G note. Sound the fourth and third strings, tuning the third string to achieve an equal pitch. The G string is now in tune.

The B String – Caution

When learning how to tune your guitar to itself, it is important to remember that the B string does not follow the pattern of holding the first finger on the fifth fret. Instead hold the finger on the fourth fret of the G string to find the note B. Again tune until both strings give the same pitch. The B string is now in tune.

The E string

Tuning the final E string uses the fifth fret of the B string to sound the note E. Using the second and first strings tune the first string until it sounds the desired E note.

Also known as ‘relative tuning’, tuning your guitar to itself is a skill which all beginner and expert musicians should be capable of. With the guitar beautifully in tune the guitarist is ready to love their instrument, improve their craft and enjoy being a musician.