Saturday, 29 October 2016

Learn to play Guitar: Lesson # 14 : How to tune a guitar

A guitar have to be tuned. By tuning, we mean the notes and the pitches of the strings can be changed to match the standard. To do that, Tuning pegs located in the guitar head are used. The tuning pegs if rotated clockwise or anticlockwise direction can shift the note and pitch of the string. Before playing a guitar, it is necessary to check the tuning of the guitar and if tuning is out of order then it is necessary to tune the guitar before playing .

There are two ways you can tune a guitar,
1. Tuning the guitar using a tuner
2. Tuning Manually ( by comparing all the strings with one another)

1. Tuning the guitar using a tuner
It may sound to you that in this way, we can automatically tune the guitar through some electronics device . Actually, this is not the case. There are international standards for tuning a musical instrument.

For guitar,there is an international standard pitch which has to be used for free guitar strings.
Usually international standard is called A440, it actually refers to the frequency of 440 Hz. The 440 Hz frequency of sound plays the musical note of A with the pitch of 4th Octave in a standard Piano(for reference) .

Now , If we want our guitar to be tuned , we can use the guitar tuner.
What guitar tuner does is that it indicates which note is being played but the pitch doesn't matter(unless it is a chromatic tuner).

Following are the steps required to tune the guitar with the help of a Guitar tuner.

Step 1. Turn on the guitar tuner
Step 2. Put it either in the head of the guitar or the body.
Step 3. Pluck the last string E(Bass E) and check the tuner display.
Step 4. If the tuner displays F or above then rotate the tuning pegs clockwise.
       OR If the tuner displays D# or below then rotate the tuning pegs counter-clockwise.
Step 5. Confirm the note of the string is E from tuner display(indicated by color or meter turned to 0 etc) by plucking the string few times with interval.
Step 6. Repeat the same for all the strings.

2. Tuning Manually ( by comparing all the strings with one another) 
In order to tune manually, we must compare each string to one another .For that, we need to play the string which is going to be tuned as 'free' and the other string(at the fret with the note of free string) which is used as comparison . Both notes must match until they do keep on rotating the tuning pegs. When we tune the guitar manually, then there is no confirmation whether any note we play is actually the same note.
For example: When you play E string (bass E or the 6th string) it may play A note(as it may be tuned to the note A as you would not have any way to know that). However, the next string or the 5th string would definitely play D(instead of  A) if it's properly tuned manually. This phenomenon is called transposition. That means , as in the example everything is transposed four notes ahead. That mean's if we play A Major Chord then instead (1=A#,2=B,3=C,4=C#) we play D. We would be dealing with the topic of transpose later.

Following is the step by step guide to tune the guitar manually.
Step 1.Play the 5th fret of 6th string(Bass E)  and simultaneously and one by one, play 5th string A as free.
Step 2.Check whether both the notes are the same.
Step 3.If not then rotate the tuning peg of 5th string ( A string) , until both notes match.
Step 4 Repeat the same procedure for every string except when tuning 2nd string(B string) .
Step 5. When tuning B string, play the 4th fret of 3rd string(G String) and simultaneously play
             2nd string(B string) as free.
Step 6. Rotate the tuning peg of B string until both notes match.

So here's almost all for guitar tuning , so stay tuned for pictorial and video demonstration of guitar tuning.