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10/4/07

How to Tune an Electric Guitar

Two Simple Methods

The first thing every aspiring guitarist should learn is how to tune an electric guitar. There are several ways in which to do so. The easiest way to learn how to tune an electric guitar is with a tuner, but that's not really learning is it. What happens when you misplace your tuner. The aim of this article is to give you a few ideas for how to tune an electric guitar using your ear and not a tuner.

Learning how to tune an electric guitar by ear is called relative tuning. There are two methods of relative tuning we will discuss. First, let's assume that your 6th string is already in tune. If not you can tune the sixth string to a note played by another guitar, a key on the piano, or the fourth string on a bass guitar. Now all you have to do is match notes on the adjacent strings.

Play the 6th string at the 5th fret and tune the fifth string until the pitches sound the same. Do the same thing to get the pitches for the 4th, 3rd, and 1st strings. To get the pitch for the second string though you will need to Play the 3rd string at the 4th fret and tune to that pitch.

You can also tune your electric guitar by using octaves. An octave is the interval between two notes with the same name. One will sound higher than the other when played separately, but when played together they will sound like the same note. Assuming you have your 6th string note again play the open 6th string and match the octave by playing the 7th fret on the 5th string. Tune till the pitches match each other. As with the previous method repeat for the 4th, 3rd and 1st strings and once again the second string pitch is different. Play the 3rd string open. It should be one octave apart with the 2nd string at the 8th fret.

Learning how to tune an electric guitar is very important. Sure it is easy to use a tuner and most of us do, but don't use it as a crutch. You now have two relative tuning methods that should suffice if you happen to get stuck without a tuner by your side, and believe me it will happen.

Thank you to John Hughes

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