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A Guide for Beginners - Tuning

Christopher Sung (9641) · [archive]
Style: Basics · Level: Beginner · Tempo: 120
Pages: 1 2 3 4

Nuances of Tuning
As stated in the previous pages, it is better to detune or loosen the pitch of the string you are tuning and to gradually tune up to the reference note instead of being initially above the reference note and tuning down to it. The reason for this is that there is a greater chance of the string slipping in its tuning peg and going out of tune if you tune down to notes instead of up. There is no hard and fast rule regarding this, but it has been my experience that the guitar stays in tune better if you follow this practice.

New Strings
New strings have a tendency to stretch and to go out of tune more frequently. Depending upon how much you play, this stretching process can be a couple of minutes or a couple of days. One thing that you can do to speed up this process is to stretch them yourself after you put them on. Go through each string, grab it with your hand around the 12th fret and tug very firmly, pulling in the direction of the bridge. The pitch of the note should drop a few frets. Tune it back up to its correct pitch and repeat this process until tugging on it doesn't produce a drop in pitch. This process does two things:

  1. It stretches the string.
  2. It tightens the tuning peg's grip on the string so that it doesn't slip in the peg.

Different Types of Tuning
The notes used for tuning in this lesson were E,A,D,G,B,E. This is known as standard tuning, but you should be aware that there are many other types of tuning. Slide players often tune to open major chords such as D, G, or E. Acoustic/Folk players use alternate tunings to create interesting textures that would be impossible to play in standard tuning. Even some alternative bands use different tunings for more interesting riffs and harmony. Don't be afraid to tune your guitar in weird ways. This is a great way to expand both your playing and your composing.

Well, that's all on tuning for now. If you have questions, you should post them in the Instructional Forum at WholeNote, which is a good resource for instructional advice.