How to Tune Your Guitar by Ear

Playing the guitar is not easy. If you are a new leaner, you should know that tuning your guitar is the first thing you should do every time you pick up your guitar. You might have heard about tuning by ear. It simply means that you listen attentively and then make adjustments according to what you are hearing.

If you want to know how to tune your guitar by ear, we have got you covered.

How Tuning By Ear Makes You a Better Player

It is essential to keep the guitar strings well-tuned for delivering pleasant sounds. Even if you are in the initial stages of learning guitar, it is not difficult to keep it tuned. Although you should always use a chromatic tuner to check tuned notes for accuracy, tuning by ear is a good choice to train your sense of hearing. This method can also be used for both the acoustic and electric guitars.

All you need to do is train your ears to recognize the right sounds. A better listener can be a great musician. Therefore, if you want to be an excellent guitarist, all your instrument’s strings should be well-tuned, and you should have the ability to identify the right sounds.

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Moreover, you should have a clear understanding of the interrelation of guitar strings in the normal tuning. You should also know the commonly used names of the guitar strings.

How to Tune Your Guitar By Ear

  • First, you have to learn the name of the guitar strings and the standard tuning.
  • Now, play the 5th fret of the low E string and listen to it.
  • Next, play the open A string and listen to it.
  • Tune the open A string to match the pitch of the 5th fret of the low E string.
  • Then play the 5th fret on the A string and listen to it.
  • Now play the open D string and listen to it.
  • Tune the open D string to match the pitch of the 5th fret of the A string.
  • Repeat the same process for the D string to tune the G string.
  • Lastly, play the 4th fret on the G string and listen to it.
  • Tune the high E string to match the pitch of the 4th fret of the G string.

Noticing the Difference

Knowing how to tune is one thing, but actually being able to hear the difference is a skill that takes some practice.  You will notice when the two notes are out of tune when there is a warbling sound. This warble is created by the two different vibration rates of the strings. The two strings cause this warble by vibrating at different rates (i.e. different pitches). The warble will slow as you approach correct tuning.

Want to tune your guitar now? Download our tuner app for free to check every tuned note for accuracy.

Florian Lettner
CEO & Co-Founder