How to Tune an Electric Guitar?

In recent times we saw great enthusiasm of music lovers for electric guitar. However, not many of them are aware of how to tune the electric guitar properly. If you are learning to play the guitar, you must learn to tune it correctly. A slightly out-of-tune guitar can confuse your sense of pitch. Besides, it can lead you to believe you are not playing it accurately.

This article focuses on tuning a six-string guitar, but the same techniques can be applied to 7-string, 8-string, 12-string, and even bass guitars. In order to have a clear idea, this article can be of great help.

Basics of Guitar Tuning

Although there are many methods for tuning an electric or acoustic guitar, they all achieve the same result. The aim of tuning your guitar is to get each string tuned to a particular pitch so that chords and riffs sound right. Before diving into the various tuning processes, brush up on the fundamentals of guitar tuning.

Standard Forms of Guitar Tuning

Standard tuning is the most popular tuning you will find on a guitar. It will tune a guitar's six strings, thickest to thinnest to the following pitches: E A D G B E. It makes no difference if the tuning heads of all the guitars heads are on the same side of the headstock or are divided into two sides. The lowest sounding string on the guitar is the thickest string, which we tune to E.

If you are a novice, you will notice that much of the music you hear is in Standard Tuning. So, using the techniques outlined in this document, practice tuning your guitar to regular tuning.

Electric Guitar

Photo credit- BBC

Variations for Tuning an Electric Guitar

There are many various types of guitar tuners, and the best one for you would depend on the kind of guitar you have and how you want to tune it. Before we look at how to use each kind of tuner, let's take a look at the various types of tuners available.

Standalone Tuner

These compact tuners have an inbuilt microphone for listening to your instrument or an input jack for plugging in a guitar. While these tuners can appeal to some guitarists, the majority of guitarists would likely opt to use a mobile app, clip-on tuner, or tuner pedal instead.

Tuner Pedal

You may choose to use a tuner pedal if you play electric guitar or plug your acoustic guitar into a rig. By pressing the footswitch on pedals, you can quickly check your tuning at any time. They're electric guitarists' go-to option, and they're especially useful if you intend on playing live.

Clip-on Tuner

Both acoustic and electric guitarists will benefit from clip-on tuners. You just clip them onto the headstock of your instrument, and they can feel the sound in the guitar to determine the pitch of your strings. Clip-on tuners have the benefit of being able to tune an acoustic guitar in a noisy setting.

Multi Effects Pedal

A multi-effects pedal would almost certainly have an inbuilt tuner that you can use at any time. When you keep down a certain footswitch on most multi-effects pedals, a tuner can work.

Multi-effects pedal tuners can only fit for electric or acoustic instruments that can be plugged in.

Guitar Amps

Modern amplifiers have built-in tuners that can be accessed by pressing or holding a button. Purchasing an amp with an inbuilt tuner is useful if you don't like the thought of trying to use a pedal to tune your instrument.

Apps for Tuning Guitar

There is a range of excellent free and paying mobile guitar tuner applications online. Tuning an electric or acoustic guitar, you can use guitar tuner software, but you must be in a relatively quiet setting.

Steps to Tune an Electric Guitar

Whatever kind of tuner you use, the simple procedure for tuning your guitar will remain the same. This article will take you through the steps of tuning your instrument, and then you can learn how to use this technique with various tuners.

Step 1 – Check the Tuning

When holding your guitar, begin by choosing the string that is thickest and closest to you. In terms of Standard Tuning a 6-string guitar, the thickest string is usually tuned to E. Check the string with your tuner to see if it is too sharp or too flat.

You will proceed to the next string if it is in tune. Start by plucking the thickest string nearest to you on your guitar. Use your tuner to see whether the string is rhythmic. If the previous string is perfectly in tune, you will go on to the next.

Step 2 – Adjustment of the Strings

Pick up the string first. It is important to pay attention to the string when you change the tuning. Switch the tuning head of the string slowly and listen to how the pitch varies. Try to hear the pitch shift. If you do not detect a difference in pitch, double-check that you are using the right tuning head.

The direction in which you must switch the tuning head is determined by the form of guitar and headstock. That is why, when changing the tuning, you should learn and listen to the string to make sure you're turning it in the correct direction. When you change the string, keep an eye on your tuner to make sure you're tuning it in the right direction.

If the tuner has trouble finding the note or you hear the note start to fade away, re-pick the string. Keep picking it in every second or two for keeping the string louder. Slow down the modifications as you get closer to getting the string in tune.

Smaller modifications can be made to get the string closer to perfect tuning. Big changes normally result in overshooting and the need to repeatedly correct the tuning in the opposite direction. If you need to lower the pitch of a chord, but is slightly out of tune, then tune it back up to pitch. When you try to play the guitar, this will sometimes help prevent the string from slipping and causing it to go out of tune.

Step 3 – Tuning All the Strings

Switch on to the A string and repeat the previous process on that string until the low E string is in tune. Continue tuning all of the strings until they are all in harmony.

Step 4 - Recheck

When you have finished tuning all of your strings, go back and double-check their tuning. It is possible that some of the strings have been somewhat out of tune.

The changes in tension around the neck, the change in tension in the strings, and the sort of bridge your guitar use all contribute to this. Re-tune and double-check both of the strings. For certain guitars, you'll just need one pass to have it in perfect tuning. Other guitars can need several passes, particularly if yours was badly out of tune, to begin with.

Tuning Electric Guitars with Pedal Tuning

The process for tuning your guitar is the same if you use a tuner pedal, a multi-effects pedal, or a guitar amp with an inbuilt tuner.

Step 1

Make sure your guitar is connected to the tuner pedal and that it is driven. In this case, I'm using a multi-effects pedal, but the same approach applies to any guitar tuner pedal.

Step 2

Click the footswitch or keep down the tuner button on your multi-effects pedal or amp to toggle the tuner.

Step 3

The tuner unlocks after a second of keeping down the left footswitch on the multi-effects pedal seen above. When you click the footswitch on a tuner pedal, you can see the show light up.

Step 4

Try holding down footswitch or the button called "tuner" on a multi-effects pedal or amp. The tuner should appear on the show or LEDs after some time. If this does not fit, consult the manual for your amplifier or pedal. Examine the monitor on your tuner to see if the string is too high or low, or in tuning.

Step 5

Tune your guitar according to the previous directions. When the string is in tune, most pedals will light up in green color.

When the string is completely in tune, the multi-effects pedal illuminates. The green arrows next to the green E and the straight needle indicate that the string is in tune. If you've gotten used to your pedal's monitor, you'll notice that you can tune each string more quickly. During tuning, most tuner pedals silence your guitar signal. Disengage the tuner by clicking the footswitch.

Final Thoughts

An electric guitar can be tuned in different preferable methods. There are still more ways an electric guitar can be tuned. The best one and the suitable one can only be determined by the guitarist.

You may also like to read: How To Tune Guitar by Ear?

Leave a Comment