Fret NOT…Guitar Tuning (Pt. II)

April 7th, 2010

Fret NOT…

Welcome to the second edition of guitar tuning done well. In the first article, we examined the why you want to tune your guitar, when you need to tune it, and what you can tune your guitar with. Guitar Critic examined the most popular guitar tuning instruments and techniques, yet we were unable to cover them all.

Let’s take a look at some other approaches:

Relative Tuning: The musician tunes each of the strings from the previous string. Basically, you do not have enough money or resources for a “professional” tune so you’re looking to act off instinct. Relative tuning is ideal for situations in which you are in a bind and must prep the instrument quickly. You can tune your guitar completely by this method and it will sound good as long as you are by yourself. If there is another guitar playing with you, however, yours will not blend with the other guitar and thus the sound will not be good.

The best way to remain accurate with relative tuning is to reference the “A” 5th string and can be done with one of the methods described below:

  1. To do this you employ the 5-5-5-4-5 method. For each of the 6th, 5th and 4th strings use the fifth fret. For example, if you take the fifth ft. of the 6th string you will get the “A” note. So if you play the 6th string from the fifth fret is should have the same tone as the 5th string played open (with no fret).
  2. Next you take the fifth ft. of the 5th string and strum producing a “D” note which is the same note as strumming the 4th string open (no fret). If they are not in tune you drop the 4th string below the note and slowly tighten it until it produces a “D” note.
  3. Then strum the 4th string at the fifth ft. and the 3rd string open which should produce a “G” note if the 3rd string is in tune. If not, take the 3rd string below the note and slowly tighten it until it equals the “G” note produced by the 4th.
  4. For the 3rd string you must strum it at the fourth ft. and the 2nd string open to produce a “B” note if the 2nd string is in tune. If it is not in tune, tune the 2nd string as the previous strings.
  5. For the last step, strum the 2nd string at the fifth ft. and the 1st string open to produce the “E” note and adjust as above if the 1st string is out of tune.

Finally check your tuning by strumming one of the cords.

Tuning by Harmonics: Lightly touch the two strings at the frets without pressing the strings down. Then, pluck the two strings and release the frets immediately. You need to touch the fifth ft. of the first string and the seventh ft. of the second string. As an example, use the fifth ft. of string #6 and the seventh ft. of string #5. If they are both in tune you will hear one melodic tone. If one string is out of tune you will hear a pulsing or oscillating of the note.

Tuning Fork or Pitch Pipe: Although you may have never heard of a tuning fork or pitch pipe both are available and cheaper than an electronic tuner. A tuning fork or pitch pipe for the note “A” has a frequency of 440 (vibrations per second.) The drawback here is that you must tune the 5th string, A, to the fork or pipe and then tune each of the other strings by ear in order from that one.

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From Another Guitar: With this method you use a guitar that you know is in tune to tune your E, 5th string and then tune the rest of your strings by ear from that one.

From an Internet Tuning Source: Just like every ting else, the internet is stuffed full with online tuning references. If you have a good set of speakers on your computer you should be able to do a respectable job of tuning your guitar.

Click Here! for an outstanding online guitar tuner…

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