Knowing how to play guitar is not enough for a great guitarist. It is also vital to know how to tune the guitar correctly. An out-of-tune guitar may bring you frustration because you can not play exactly what you want to play. The sound is weird even though you have excellent fingering techniques.
Every time when you are going to pick up your guitar, you may want to tune it first. Guitars can not stay in tune for a long time. Tuning your guitar not only ensures a high quality of your guitar music, but also trains your ears regularly.
Through more and more practice, you will need less time to tune your guitar. And your hearing power will be enhanced. You will be more aware of the little differences among pitches.
A guitar is normally tuned, from the thickest to the thinnest strings, to be EADGBE. An acronym, Even Average Dogs Get Bones Eventually, may be helpful for you to remember. This standard tuning is easy for guitarists to play chords and scales. Before you start tuning your guitar, you should make sure that you have a quiet environment. There will be no other sound distracting you.
When you begin, you need to have a reference pitch for the 6th string (the thickest one). Find out the low E sound from a piano, an electronic tuner, a tuning fork, a MP3 file or even an in tune guitar. Of course, it will be the best if you have the low E sound in your brain. So try to memorize the sound. It is a part of training your ears.
Then try to tweak the tuning peg slowly to increase the tension of the 6th string. You will always want to tune up which means you tighten the string rather than loosen the string. This is more accurate. If you find that the string is too tight but you still can not match the pitch, just loosen it and do it again.
Once you have gotten the 6th string in low E sound, it is time to tune the rest. For the 5th string, play the 5th fret of the 6th string to get the pitch of the 5th string (A sound). Then play the open 5th string, which means without pressing the string by your finger. Play the two strings together and adjust the tuning peg of the 5th string until both strings produce the same A sound.
You can use the same way to tune the other strings. Play the 5th fret of the 5th string to get the pitch of the 4th string (D sound) and then match the sounds. Play the 5th fret of the 4th sting to get the pitch of the 3rd string (G sound) and match the sounds.
When you are tuning the 2nd string, there is a trick that you need to play the fourth fret (not the 5th fret) of the 3rd string to get the B sound of the 2nd string. Then match the sounds of the two strings.
Here comes to the 1st string. Again, play the 5th fret of the 2nd string to get the high E sound and then match the sounds.
After dealing with all the strings, go back to check the 6th string. It may be out-of-tune because the shape of the guitar neck may be changed during the tuning process.
Provided that all six songs are in tune, play the guitar with some chords that you are familiar with. Listen carefully to check if the sound is correct. There may be some improvement you can do.
For bass guitars, the skill is the same. You can tune your bass by the method above. You just need to omit the last 2 strings. It means that the standard tuning for bass guitars is EADG.
Apart from tuning the guitar on your own, you can buy an electronic tuner or find an online guitar tuner on the Internet to help you actually. It saves you time but you may miss the chance to develop your ears skills and easily rely on them.
Tuning a guitar is not really difficult. It is a skill that you can gain through constant practice.