I want to share some articles that related to musical knowledge on this site. We start with how to tune our guitar, seems this is a good topic to start. I will also tell how I tune my guitar.
6-strings guitar has a standard single note on its every string. The standard notes (from the thickest string to thinnest) are: E A D G B E
You probably want to ask, why those notes as standard tuning? Well, it was created from the past years ago for efficient hand movement. There are other kinds of tuning though, such as drop D, half step down, etc. But I won’t discuss deeply for now.
Here are my preferences to tune a guitar (from a person who doesn’t have absolute pitch ability):
- Use tuner for a help. Nowadays, there are so many tuner apps that you can download easily in your smartphone. I personally have a favorite app (guess what, my musician-friends are using it too), named “PitchLab Lite” which has been taken down across application stores 🥲 however you can find the .apk file on the internet.
The app itself has two edition, one for free app (Lite) and one for purchased app (Pro). You should choose the Lite one since it provides most-of-the-best-tuner-ever called Spectrogram (which I couldn’t find on other apps until now). The Spectrogram give a display like this:
It consists of colorful strobe and each color indicates note that you strum. You just need to strum a string, then see if the strobe is appearing on the correct bar note. Tighten/loosen your guitar strings until the strobe fall on the correct note.
I think spectrogram is the most accurate & fast tuner because a usual (other) tuner will detect ‘which string the person play’ first then tell to tighten/loosen the string (of course it involves much algorithms).
- If there’s no kind of tuner nearby, you might use other musical instruments (including on YouTube video) for a reference like a guitar that already tuned properly, piano, and more. However it’s easier to use a guitar for a reference since it has similar sound, while tuning using other instrument like piano requires more trained-ear.