A correctly pitched guitar is essential for musicians, especially those playing in bands. This article will look at why that is as well as some top tips for making sure your guitar is set up and tuned correctly.
Why must your guitar be perfectly in tune?
The first question many novice guitarists have is why should they bother setting up their guitar properly? Does it even matter? We say, of cause it matters! Knowing how to do this with a guitar is essential if you want your music to sound good. Without tuning it properly, anything you play will sound wrong and if you play well known songs, they won't sound as the original artist intended!
This is why a perfectly pitched guitar is a necessity if you want to be a serious guitar player.
What are the different guitar tunings?
There are in fact a vast number of ways you can prepare a guitar. They are not like other instruments like pianos, flutes or accordions, there is no single way it can be tuned. This has both downsides and positives. One downside is that a beginner may not know what tuning their instrument should be tuned to. The other is that not all songs are written in the same tuning, which could mean having to retune your guitar completely if you want to play a different song. Of cause the major benefit is that multiple tunings result in one highly versatile instrument.
So what are these different tunings? This is an essential question that must be answered in order to learn how to tune a guitar. Firstly, there is standard E. This is the tuning that guitars are normally tuned to. Then there are a range of drop tunings, such as drop D, drop B and many more.
Some adventurous guitarists have even developed their own sequence of notes which help them play songs they would not be able to play with standard tuning. This is only recommended for experts who know how to set up a guitar properly, as it can be quite difficult.
Beginners will want to stick to standard E tuning or drop D, as these are the most versatile and easiest to play most songs on. Only advanced guitarists should try other tunings.
How do I tune a guitar?
The best thing to do if you want to learn how to prepare a guitar is to set it to the same pitch as another instrument that you know is in tune. This could include a digital instrument like a keyboard or synthesizer, as these never get out of tune because they are electronic. Alternatively if neither of these are available, a piano is a good bet as they stay in tune for many years. However it is important that you double check with the owner when the piano was last tuned. Otherwise, this strategy could seriously backfire!
The next step is to tune the low E string, or 6th string. The other notes are tuned at intervals relating to this. Each higher string is the same as the 5th fret on the string below it, with the exception of the B string with is the equivalent of the 4th fret on the G string. And that's how to tune a guitar!
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