No doubt, the fastest and the most accurate way to get your guitar tuned is by using a tuner.
But before this can be done, i.e. if you want to play a guitar that is well tuned, you need to know how to use a guitar tuner.
Why Tune with a Tuner?
Of course you could tune by ear but there are advantages to tuning with a tuner and if you aren’t that good at tuning by ear then using a tuner is a must.
You want to receive feedback that what you are playing is correct or incorrect. If you are out of tune then you don’t get clear signals – you may be playing it right but it still sounds wrong.
Not only is it important for when you’re playing by yourself but it’s also the best way to ensure that everyone is playing by the same tuning rules when you are playing with other guitarists/instruments.
It is important to note that if you tune your guitar to its standard pitch, you will get the best results because both your guitar and its strings are built for optimal tone – but alternate tunings that are close to standard pitch are also a good way to go.
What is a Guitar Tuner?
The electric guitar tuner is a device that is both very handy and efficient and seems to possess magical sound powers!
In fact, most electronic tuners can automatically detect the string you are playing on, inform you of the nearest pitch, and indicate to you whether you are playing on a flat note (too low) or on a sharp note (too high).
Types of Guitar Tuners
There are a few different types of tuners. There are those that just detect the notes on the guitar (E, A, D, G, B, E) and those that can detect any note (chromatic tuners).
On an electrical tuner there will be a display that indicates two things
- The note you are nearest to (E, A, D, G, B, E if on a standard tuner); and
- The other display indicates if you are flat or sharp and by how much. The needle or lights or both (depending on the tuner) will be off to the left if the note is flat and to the right if the note is sharp. Usually a red light will indicate if it’s flat or sharp and a green light will indicate that a string is in tune.
How to Use the Guitar Tuner
O.k. so how do tuners work and how do we use one?
- First of all, depending on the type of guitar you have, there are two ways of using a guitar tuner. If you are using an electric guitar, ensure to plug your guitar into the tuner but if you have an acoustic guitar, use the built-in microphone on the tuner.
- Then, simply turn on the turner and play a note. You can usually choose whether to be in “auto” mode, where you will just play a note and the tuner will detect what note you are closest to and how close you are to that note or you can be in “manual” mode. In manual mode you select the note that you want to tune to.
- From the display on the tuner, you will know how close you are to the desired string and if you are not on the right key, you can predict the right direction to go from there.
- It is important to note that before playing a note, you may be required to select the string you want to tune.
Most electronic tuners are powered by 2 AAs or a 9-volt battery so they are very handy as they can be easily transported anywhere. Also, many of these tuners are generally cheap costing around $20, so any guitarist can have them and they are well worth the money.
Unless you have perfect pitch it’s always a good idea to have a tuner, not matter what your level of playing is.
It’s also a good idea to learn to tune by ear but having both is the best way to go. See the link below for how to tune a guitar by ear (some of the tips there will also be useful for tuning with a tuner, especially if you are new to guitar).
Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.