Most guitarists at some point learn how to tune a guitar using the 5th
where you essentially tune a guitar "to itself" (known as relative
is perfect for when you
don't have access to an electronic tuner, online
tuner or any other pitch
reference (e.g. a piano to tune your guitar to) and you're just playing
If you are just playing alone, tuning a guitar to itself
doesn't have to be accurate
in the sense that the individual strings don't need to be absolutely
tuned to their desired notes (E A D G B e).
As long as they are tuned relatively
your music will sound in tune.
Follow the steps below on how
to tune a guitar quickly...
tuning using the 5th fret method
Start with the lowest/fattest
string, this will be your
base reference for tuning
the other strings. Again, it doesn't matter if the low E is in fact
nearer to an E flat, because the other strings will be tuned in relation to
whatever note that 1st string is.
Fret the low E string at the 5th fret
fretting the low E string, play the open A string
If the open A string sounds lower
than the 5th fret E string, tune it up until it sounds exactly
the same note...
Tuning up ensures the string's tension is locked
and will therefore stay in tune longer.
the same process, but with the A string at the 5th
and the D string open - tune up or down until the A
string at fret 5 and the open D string become the same note.
Repeat the same process, but with
the D string at the 5th fret and the G
open - tune up or down until the D string at fret 5 and the open G
string become the same note.
This is where it changes slightly,
tuning interval between the G and B string is different. Instead of
tuning to the 5th fret, fret the G string at fret 4.
Then just follow the same process of tuning the B string
up or down until it becomes the same note as the G string at fret 4.
Finally, it's back to the usual 5th
fret method, with the B string at fret 5 and the open high E
string. Follow the same tuning process as before!
So, you should now know how to tune a guitar to itself anywhere! Play a
few chords to hear how accurately you tuned up, and make any tweaks
necessary (the guitar's tension is altered slightly for each string you
you may need to go back and fine tune).
Over time your ear will become
more accurately trained
to matching up those notes, and you'll eventually find this to be the
quickest and easiest way to tune up when playing by yourself or just
with a vocalist or percussionist.