It's called tuning
because doing it this way locks more tension in the strings,
lengthening the amount of time they stay tuned.
It's best to
tune your guitar every time you pick it up. No amount of charisma or
harmonic genius will save you from a poorly tuned guitar!
There are many ways to tune up the guitar, but as
this is a beginner
lesson, we'll first be looking at the physical aspects of peg tuning.
Guitar peg tuning basics
Take a look at the head stock of your guitar.
It'll either look something like this, with 3 tuning pegs per side:
this, with all 6 tuning pegs in a line:
Now take a look at the diagrams below.
If your guitar has tuning pegs on both sides of
the headstock, each side will be different. For pegs on the left, turn
towards you to tune the string down,
turn the peg away from you to tune the string up.
For pegs on the right, vice-versa.
If all the pegs on your guitar are on the left
side, turn towards you to tune down, and away from you to
it's exactly the same - for pegs on the right side, turn towards you to
tune up and away to tune down. For pegs on the left side, turn towards
you to tune down and away to tune up.
Peg on the Right
Peg on the Left
key tuning tips here before we move
Every time you tune a string, get into the
habit of tuning it down first, then tuning up to the correct pitch.
Try not to tune your strings higher than their
standard pitch as too much could cause them to break.
Tune your guitar every time you pick it up.
Obviously this doesn't apply for short toilet/food breaks : )
Below we can see how each tuning peg corresponds to the string
being tuned. The letters represent the notes we'll be tuning the
strings to. In this example, we're using what is called standard tuning (E A D G B and a high
So that's: fattest string > E
A D G B e < skinniest string.
In the lessons on my site, I use diagrams with each string labelled
according to standard tuning, from low E to high e...
However, you'll sometimes hear people refer to string numbers. 1st
string = skinniest, 6th string = fattest.
Different ways of tuning up the guitar
There are two main types
of guitar tuning:
Tuning the guitar strings to the absolute
their specific notes (e.g. E A D G B e)
Tuning the guitar to itself.
That's where the notes of the
strings aren't exactly on (e.g. there is no piano or tuning aid to
help), but the strings are tuned relatively
to each other.