How to Tune a Guitar without a Tuner

To tune a guitar without a Tuner, first tune the 6th string to low E. If you know the pitch on E string, you can tune it on first. Or you may want to checkout the sample sound of a low E. If you’re playing with your friends or other guitarists, you may want to have one person with the tuned guitar, so that you can tune your Low E with the other guitar.

  1. Pluck your tuned low E string with your right hand (for right-handed, standard guitar players—lefties playing left-handed guitars should reverse this) while holding the string down with your left hand at the 5th fret (starting from the headstock, count 5 frets up toward the body.) The tone that emanates, because you are holding the string down at the 5th fret, will be an A.
  2. Pluck the open string below it (“open” meaning, not holding down the string on any frets with your left hand) and turn the second tuning peg until your A string produces the same tone as your low E string when played at the 5th fret. Following suit, you’ll play the A string at the 5th fret to find the correct tone for the D string, the D string at the 5th fret to find the G string, but when you’re ready to tune your B string, you’ll play the G string at the 4th fret instead of the 5th.

To tune the last high E string, you’ll move back to the 5th fret where you’ll play the B string to find your high E tone. Got it? It’s pretty easy once you do it a couple of times. The down side to tuning your guitar this way is you may not be in “standard 440.” Tuning to A 440 assures you of being in tune with other guitars all around the world.

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