How to tune an electric guitar
Small things like temperature or humidity changes can throw the tune of your guitar off. Luckily, there are several ways to tune your guitar. A few examples include a tuning app, digital tuner, or by ear using harmonics.
The notes that make up your electric guitar are (starting from the highest, or closest string to you if you are right-handed) towards the sharpest (thinnest string) are E A D G B E.
An electric tuner is one of the easiest methods out there. It costs around 20 dollars and can be found online or at your local music store. Simply plug in the tuner, or put in the batteries, and play an open string. It will then determine if it is the current note. Look at the machine’s needle, and if it is in the middle, then it is in the current tune. If it isn’t, you will have to tighten or loosen the string to find the right sound.
To start, place the tuner’s microphone in the general area of the guitar, or plug it into your guitar through the jack. Start at the 6th string, or the low E string, and decipher what the guitar tuner says to begin to make the proper changes. If the needle is on the left, that means the string is too loose, and if it is to the right that means the string is too tight. To test out if you adequately tuned the guitar after making adjustments, wait until the sound has completely died down before vibrating the string again. That way, the electric tuner can correctly analyze the sound.
A tip for tuning your guitar is if the needle is slightly off center to the right, take the string that is out of tune between two fingers and pull it about a centimeter. This will help release a bit of the string’s tension, and you won’t have to keep using the key. It keeps the string stable but tunes it.
You can also use an online tuner. However, this method is a bit less practical, but there are two options: a tuner with audio capture, and a tuner without audio capture. For online tuners, without audio capture, it just produces a reference sound for each string of your guitar. You will have to match the tone to the online sound, which will help improve your ear.
Or, you can opt for an online tuner with audio, which records via the microphone on your computer and then analyzes the sound your electric guitar produced.
One last option you can use is an app through your smartphone. There are tons of free or paid apps out there that you can download on your smartphone. The guitar tuning app works just like an electric tuner.
Or, if you want to go old-school, you can choose to use a tuning fork or pitch pipe. Both of these produce an A note, which gives you the reference sound you need to tune your guitar.
Once you have tuned your guitar, you can start to play your guitar. Play a few chords that use E, G, B, and A chords strung together. As you begin to play, you will realize that the act of playing and that energy will gradually loosen the strings. Therefore, you shouldn’t play the guitar fast from the beginning. As you tune your electric guitar, pull the strings with your hand to help keep the instrument tuned for a longer period of time.