How to Tune Your Guitar
Probably the simplest way for new guitarists to tune their guitar is to use an electronic tuner or perhaps pitch pipes. These methods will allow you to tune each string precisely. The string tension is controlled by turning the machine heads (tuning pegs) on the headstock of your guitar (for a primer on the parts of a guitar check out our guitar anatomy section). When strings are close to the correct tension, very small turns of the machine heads should be made to avoid the strings breaking. This should be done for each string in turn, starting with the 6th string (the fattest one) as this will be the string that places the greatest force on the neck of the guitar. If you are breaking in new strings, you will probably find that you have to make minor adjustments regularly until the strings “loosen up”.
As you become more experienced and develop an “ear for pitch”, you will probably only need to use the tuner to tune the 6th string and can then tune the remainder of the strings using the relative tuning method (link coming soon).
The most common guitar tuning is standard tuning but this is not the only way to tune a guitar and drop D tuning is also fairly common (see below).
The standard guitar tuning is E, A, D, G, B and E (high) and this refers to the note of each string when played “open” (i.e. no fingers on frets) from the fattest string (the 6th string) to the thinnest (the 1st string) respectively -see below:
Drop D Tuning
A common tuning for some guitarists who make use of power chords (chords that consist of just two or three strings played simultaneously), especially rock and metal guitarists, is drop D tuning. As per the standard tuning, the notes (in order of 6th string (fattest) to 1st string (thinnest) is D, A, D, G, B, E.
Power chords will be covered in another section (coming soon).