We all love to play. It’s tempting to pick up that guitar and just start to shred. But we’d encourage you to do what the best musicians do and take some time to make sure it’s in tune. Here are a few of the tips and tricks that we like to use. Most guitarists will use standard tuning (E,A,D,G,B,E). If you’re a beginner and aren’t sure which tuning to use, we recommend that you stick with the accepted standard for now. You’ll probably find that most of the music and tabs that you find out there are set for standard tuning as well. As you get more comfortable, you can experiment with other tunings (Drop D like Motley Crue, Open A ala Jimmy Page, Open E ala Keith Richards) to have some fun and keep your practice fresh. The following tuning tips are recommended by Fender Guitars:
Tune the Sixth String First
The sixth string, or low E, has the most tension. It can affect the pitch of the other strings when changed because of the added or decreased tension it creates on the neck and other parts of your guitar.
Always Tune Up
Tune each string by tuning down slightly, then tuning back up to reach the note you need to hit. Adding tension rather than removing tension helps keep the string more secure and in tune as you play.
Wait Until the String Settles
When you first pluck a string, the pitch goes high at first, then it settles into the real note you are playing. The tuner will react to the very first thing it hears. Pluck the string, hold for a beat, then read what the tuner says after that.
Make sure you listen to the pitch of the note as you tighten and loosen the string. This will help train your ear and also aid you in making the small adjustments you need.
Keep It Quiet
Limit outside noise and interference, because the tuner cannot distinguish the notes of your guitar from other sounds it hears.
ELECTRIC TIP: Adjust Your Pickup Switch
When tuning an electric guitar, be sure to set the pickup selector switch to the far left. This helps to minimize any frequencies that could interfere with the process.
ACOUSTIC TIP: Keep It Close
Keep the tuner as close to the guitar’s sound hole as possible. If using your phone, keep the microphone pointed toward your guitar so it can hear the sound of the strings being plucked.
There are a variety of apps and tools like online chromatic tuners you can use or we have professional quality tuning aids in our stores and we’d be happy to walk you through the options and process.
Remember that guitars are very sensitive instruments. Changes in temperature and humidity or even a prolonged period of playing hard and bending pitches might lead to sour notes. Once you get onto the right techniques and have the right tools, It won’t take long to keep it in tune and keep sounding great.
When you’re not playing, we recommend storing your guitar in a hard case in a cool, dry place. We have a selection of cases here at Pawn 1 and if you ever suspect that your guitar is losing its ability to hold pitch, bring it in and we’d be happy to look at it.