20 January, 2009

HOW TO... tune your guitar using the 5th fret method

This is probably one of the most common methods to tune your guitar. I call it the "5th fret method", don't know if there's a proper name to it though. With the help of the diagram below, I'll attempt to explain how to tune your guitar using this method as clearly possible.
What you see above might look a little confusing at first, but let me explain what it represents. At the right hand side, you see the numbers from 1-6 in red. These represents the 6 strings of your guitar. The 1st string (thinnest) is right at the bottom, and the 6th string (thickest) is at the top.

On the top, you see numbers from 1-5 in red. These numbers represents the frets of your guitar. You know the metal bars that runs vertically across your guitar board? Yup, those are the frets.

Lastly, circles with letters inside represents the notes if you were to place your fingers there. At the Nut (the white vertical bar that you can find on your guitar before the first fret) you don't have to place your fingers on it, just play it free-string.

Okay, let's start tuning the guitar.

1st string - Start off with the 1st string which is an E note. We have to assume that your 1st string is tuned to an E note (you can do this by using a piano etc)

2nd string - To tune the 2nd string, what you have to do is place your finger on the 5th fret of the 2nd string. This will give you an E note as well. So what you have to do now is to tune the 2nd string so that it sounds like the free string of the 1st string (E note).

3rd string - After you've tuned your second string, move on to the 3rd. Place your finger on the 4th fret of the 3rd string. Now, tune your 3rd string so it sounds like the free-string of the 2nd string (B note).

And so on... All the way till you reach the 6th string. There you go, your guitar is now tuned.

Note: Remember, for this to method to work, it depends on tuning your 1st string. Make sure it's tuned to an E, because you would want to use your guitar to play with other instruments. And if everyone's E is different, it will sound terrible when played together


armrd said...

let's say I'm nowhere near a piano / other instrument to check the low E note. Is there another way for me to tune the low E?
Thank you.

daniel said...

hi armrd, the other way is just to use an online guitar tuner. The good thing about this is that the sound you get will be a correct key. The problem with other instruments is that they themselves might not be tuned as well. however, if you do not have access to a computer, try using a tuning fork or a pitch pipe.

armrd said...

I've tried using the online tuner. I think it works quite well. Thank you for the help.

Anonymous said...

Here is a simple online guitar tuner that may help you.