Tuning a guitar-the first thing you must learn

Its the number one thing for any aspiring guitarist or future rock star to learn how to tune a guitar. One of the most important prerequisites to creating awesome, tolerable music is making sure that you’re playing in tune. Music is called “music” for a reason—calling it such separates it from the uncivilized species of noise, discordance, and just about anything else you can think of that punishes the ears.

Give your audience a break. Learn how to tune a guitar. Using a tuner (aptly named) is usually the method of choice for getting a guitar in tune. Not having hit the big time just yet, you’ll probably find yourself on a budget. A cheap basic tuner will emit the correct E, A, D, G, B and E pitches, allowing you to adjust the pitch of your guitar strings according to an electronic authority. If you’re more of a perfectionist performer, you might spring for a slightly more sophisticated tuner with a needle that detects how far from perfect pitch you are. The idea is to get the needle to point directly in the middle: a needle straying left indicates that you¡¯re sounding flat, and a needle hanging out on the right reads sharp. Some fancier tuners will combine both pitch emission and a needle to ensure accuracy.


The above teaches you how to tune a guitar through more conventional means. Nowadays in the technological age you can find tuners online, and for free no less. But until technology provides pre-tuned cyberspace guitars at your disposal, you’ll probably have to figure out how to tune your guitar through old-fashioned real world techniques. That¡¯s how real rock stars do it.

Traversing the musical world or more domestically, your own social circle, you might be lucky enough to encounter a fascinating and rare oddity: the human pitchpipe. The more technical term for these individuals is “people who have perfect/absolute pitch.” They are blessed with the ability to recognize and produce pitch without external reference. When learning how to tune a guitar, perfect pitch people need only concern themselves with the physical mechanics of the guitar because they’ve got the rest of tuning covered.

The rest of us mere musical mortals are left to our own devices, but we have the option of consulting an expert. Perfect pitch people are like tuners you can have human interaction with, and most of them are only too happy to help the less fortunate; in doing so, they synthesize an ego-boost and a charitable deed into one. In any case, when utilizing the human pitchpipe, make sure to pick one that has plenty of patience and lung capacity.

Perfect pitch is almost always the focus of tuning, but there’s somewhat of a cheat around it. The most important aspect of tuning is the relation of pitches rather than the pitch itself. As long all pitches are in tune with each other, things will sound fine. Basically, when everyone is wrong to the same degree it becomes right. But if you’re going to make the effort anyway, you might as well try to be right in the first place.