To my friend Colin T.
The advent of
tempered (tuned) instruments has brought a new light to stringed instruments
tuning. The world standard: to tune stringed
instruments using fixed tuning instruments (clavichord -piano-, organ)
has almost completely taken over the need for highly trained ears that
can recognize or reproduce a given pitch -perfect pitch-.
The orchestra tunes at the beginning
of a concert using the first violin pitch as a reference. To depend on
each musician perception of tune -relative pitch- can result in disaster.
If the guitarist has a reference
note to start, he will be able to find the tuning for the remaining
strings. After having gone through the tuning a number of times, the guitarists
will notice that his brain has learned, to a certain degree, the sound
of each guitar string. What is usually referred to as "perfect pitch" is
not as much an innate talent but a learned skill, one that just like most
other skills require dedication and perseverance.
The use of a guitar tuner, a small
tuning pipe or tuning fork is necessary in order to tune your guitar efficiently.
The key note is the high
A which is found on string 1, fret 5. This note can be found by simply
lifting your telephone receiver. The pitch you hear is the A we are looking
for. It is a world standard and will be the same A in the US or in Botswana.
What you do is keep the receiver
of the telephone against your ear -or turn on the loudspeaker- so you can
hear the A. You stop the 5th fret on string 1 until your ear tells you
that the 2 pitches are equal. Tense string 1 or loosen it until the 2 sounds
are equal. I often tune my students' guitars over the telephone. You call
me and I hear you play each string and tell you to lower or tighten it
depending on how high or low the pitch is on each string. It takes 3-4
minutes to tune a classical guitar and it is a pleasure to be able to help
Video on how to tune the first string using the pitch of the telephone
Once you are 100% sure that string
1 is tuned, you proceed to tune string 2.
The way you tune string 2
is by stopping fret 5 on string 2 (E) and tense or loosen the string until
it sounds exactly like string 1 (E).
The way you tune string 3
is by stopping fret 4 on string 3 (B) and tense or loosen the string until
it sounds exactly like string 2 (B).
The way you tune string 4
is by stopping fret 5 on string 4 (G) and tense or loosen the string until
it sounds exactly like string 3 (G).
The way you tune string 5
is by stopping fret 5 on string 5 (D) and tense or loosen the string until
it sounds exactly like string 4 (D).
The way you tune string 6
is by stopping fret 5 on string 6 (A) and tense or loosen the string until
it sounds exactly like string 5 (A).
Video: how to tune the guitar using the adjacent string
Digital guitar tuners have
become so cheap that anyone wishing to learn how to tune a guitar MUST
get his hands on one. Tuners work in different ways. They either emit a
sound that you have to match for each string or receive the sound of your
string and tell you to increase or lower the pitch according to the
sound they hear. The table I prepared below is my help to you which resembles
the function of hearing the sound of the given string and matching it by
tightening or loosening the given string.
Press the play button for the string
you want to tune.