How to Tune a Guitar

Tuning the guitar is the first thing you need to master on your way to rock stardom. Here are some simple instructions that explain the most commonly used guitar tuning in the world.

Standard Guitar Tuning: EADgbe

When looking straight down at your guitar the open strings from the thickest to the thinnest are as follows:

Strings Notes
E Thickest String
A
D
g
b
e Thinnest String

Step 1: The 6th String – E (thickest)

Tune the bottom E String, as accurately as you can. If you don’t have a tuner you can use our handy guitar tuning app.You can also use other reference tones such as a Piano or any other musical instrument that is handy. What’s important is that you have a reference tone.

Tip: Fake It Till You Make It
Did you get lost alone in the forest with just your guitar and can’t find a reference tone anywhere? Assuming you don’t have any other musicians playing with you, you can always just tune that Fat E String as best you can and tune the rest of your guitar to it. As long as the guitar is in tune with itself you can still play.

Step 2: The 5th String – A

Place your index finger on the fifth fret of the bottom E string. That’s an A note. Keep your finger on that fret. Now pick the open fifth string and fretted six string in turn, gently adjusting the fifth string tuning peg until the two notes are in harmony. Tightening the peg will make the pitch higher, loosening the peg will make the pitch lower.

string-a

Step 3: The 4th String – D

Place your index finger on the the fifth fret of the A string. That’s a D note. Pluck the fretted 5th string and the open 4th string together or alternating between them and adjust the 4th string tuning peg until the pitch of the 4th string matches the pitch of the 5th fret of the 5th string.

string-d

Step 4: The 3rd String – G

Place your index finger on the fifth fret of the D string. That’s a G note. Pluck or alternate pick the fretted 4th and open 3rd strings, adjusting the 3rd string tuning peg until the 3rd string is in harmony with the 5th fret of the 4th string.

string-g

Step 5: The 2nd String – B

Place your index finger on the fourth fret of the G string. That’s a B. Tune your 2nd string to that note.

string-b

Tip: How to Remember Standard Tuning Pattern
The B string is the only string that gets its reference tone from the 4th fret of the string above it. All the rest of the open strings utilize the 5th fret of the string above as a reference tone. If you can remember this tuning pattern you will always be able to tune your guitar.

Step 6: Tuning the E String

Place your index finger just behind the fifth fret on the B string. That’s a E note. Tune the thinnest and last string to that, again by adjusting the 1st string tuning peg until the pitch of the E string matches the 5th fret of the 2nd String.

string-e

What you have just learned is called Standard Tuning Pattern. Like I previously stated you can use this anytime, anywhere to get your guitar tuned up.

If you have any comments, questions, or know of some methods, tips, or shortcuts not shown on this website, let me know.