Tips On Tuning Your Guitar

I'm afraid I break convention on tuning your guitar by using the old 5th fret method. Unless your guitar has perfect intonation, and it probably doesn't, it will only get you in the ballpark.

What I suggest is using an electronic tuner, pitch pipe, or piano, etc.

Sometimes you need to do a quick check and you don't have time to use these things. You have to see very quickly during a performance or something which string is giving you trouble. This is my way that works very well for me, even if the guitar doesn't have the most accurate set up in the world.

Realize please that this is the method to use AFTER the regular tuning is done. These pitches will sometimes be an octave or two higher than the lower string being checked. The lower strings should NOT be overly tightened to get to the same octave as the note being played on the 'High E' or other higher string. This is a fine tuning pitch check in different octaves with the exception of the 'B' string.

It's usually pretty easy to tell if your first or 'High E' string is in tune by listening to other instruments or if playing solo, in tune with yourself, and the intonation on most guitars is usually pretty accurate on that string because of the small diameter so I start with that one.

First, play a 'B' on the 'High E' string to check your 'B' string.

Second, play a 'G' on the 'High E' string to check your 'G' string.

Third, play a 'D' on your 'High E' string to check your 'D' string.

Fourth, play an 'A' on your 'High E' string to check your 'A' string.

Lastly, play the 'High E' string open and check your 'Bass E' string open.


If you have time, one last check for an even better fine-tuning...

Very quickly after some practice of course, play some octaves:

Play 'G' on your 'High E' string to check the 'G' string once more.

Play 'D' on your 'B' string to check your 'D' string.

Play 'A' on your 'G' string to check your 'A' string.

Lastly, play 'E' on your 'D' string to check your 'Bass E' string.


Here's an .avi video to show you better how it's done.

(If it doesn't play automatically, right click & save link or target as.)

Or watch it on



Now play a couple of test chords and you're ready.

This may seem complicated reading it for the first time but after you struggle through it once or twice, you'll see it's very easy. The positions are very easy to remember. I figured this method out before I could even read music for the guitar. Each entire check only takes me about 7 seconds.

Also another tuning tip:

When you tune a guitar string, always start below the desired note and tune up to pitch not down to pitch. This will help prevent the string from going flat during play.

Bob, Gman ( o )==#


HOME                         BACK TO TUNING TIPS