An online guitar tuner is the easiest way to keep your instrument in tune.
Another way to do that is to tune it by ear, but you must have trained your ears beforehand to be able to recognize the different notes.
On this page, you can tune your guitar with an integrated app, or download a software on your computer.
The standard tuning is the following: E-A-D-G-B-E, the last letter being the high-pitched one.
1. Tune it!
Note: you need to activate flash to see the plugin.
To play a note, just click on the knob. You can adjust the delay the note is automatically replayed from 1 to 9, 1 being the shortest delay. If you want a longer note to be played, click on “Tone” instead of “Guitar”. To advance note by note, select “Auto-Advance” on the right or hit the space bar. To cancel a note being played, press the “Enter button” or click on “Kill” on the right side of the application.
2. Chromatic Tuner
A chromatic tuner allows you to tune differently your guitar, as it includes all the 12 notes of the scale: C, C#, D, D# …
This one is an integrated app developed by proguitartuner.com (you can even find a metronome on their web site). It uses your computer’s microphone. You can even download it via the App Store or Google Play.
What’s great with this application is that you can modify the tuning, depending on the instrument or the song you’re playing.
They have tuning options for 4 to 13 strings-guitar – which is pretty impressive – and also for banjos, violins, and even bouzoukis!
3. Should I Buy One?
Some guitarists prefer to have their tuner with them, as it offers more accuracy than an application.
On acoustic-electric guitars – especially if they’re recent – tuners can be integrated. And if not, you can buy one. It’s small, cheap, and very useful.
The most popular tuner is the Korg Chromatic Tuner Ca-30. As its name shows, it’s a chromatic tuner, so you can tune your favorite instrument to whatever tone you desire.
I used to own that device before it broke, because of my carelessness. But if you’re not a sloppy guy like me, it should last you a very long time before you have to buy another one.
The Boss Tuner And Metronome TU-80 presented above is also a very good choice if you want to have both tools in a single device.
On most tuners you can also calibrate Hertz. The standard calibration is 440 Hz.
You have to be careful about that if you’re playing with other musicians. If you have tuned your guitar but still sounds out-of-tune, make sure you have the right calibration.
4. A guitar tuner on your mobile!
It is very handy to have. If you own a smartphone or a tablet, you can carry your tuner everywhere without having to think about it.
I personally use gStrings, a chromatic tuner found on Google Play Store. Guitar Tuna, for iOS is also a great application you can use. It’s really up to you to decide what is the best one as there are many good tuners at hand.
5. Tune your guitar by ear!
Woohoo! Challenging, isn’t it? Especially if you’re a beginner and never played an instrument before.
But after years of practicing, your ear will become trained naturally, and tuning your guitar will become effortless.
Is there another way to train your audition faster? Yes, my friend, there is. It can be very exhaustive for your ears to do that, so make sure you don’t overdo it. I totally recommend this free product you can find on Amazon:
It’s an app developed by Binary Guilt Software. Here’s a video showing you the features of the beast:
You can also fine-tune your ears by yourself as well. If your guitar is already tuned, try the following technique:
- Play a random note on your guitar (E, G, D, …)
- Try to sing it out loud by saying the name of the note
- Repeat the sequence as many times as you like
That’s it. I hope this technique helps.
Another way to tune your guitar by ear is to have at least one string already tuned. If you play that string on the 5th fret (or the 4th if it’s the G string), you should be able to tune the next string right (the one just below), as it’s actually the same note.
Here’s an example:
- Place your index on the 5th fret of the low E string (if that one is already tuned)
- Strike the string with whatever you like (I personally find that doing it with a pick is actually more accurate)
- Then play the open A string
- Adjust the tuning key of the A string to match the tone of the E string you just played
Remember that you should play them almost at the same time to hear the difference.
It works the same way reversely, by playing at the octave. How to do that? Just play at the 7th fret (from the A string to high E), or at the 8th fret for the B string. And then strike the string just above.
If you need any help regarding that technique, write your question in the comments below.
6. Other device / apps
You can use an online metronome, or an offline one, if you don’t have internet everywhere you go. Just as tuners, you can also download an app on your mobile and/or tablet, so you can carry it with you all the time.
And it’s also possible to buy a metronome in a music shop. You should be able to find one at a fair price.