How to Tune a Guitar

Ways to Tune a Guitar to Standard Tuning

Standard tuning, from the lowest sounding string to high, uses the notes E-A-D-G-B-e. The guitar tab below shows the note each open string of the guitar should be tuned to.

Standard Tuning
e|--1st string (highest)--|
B|--2nd string------------|
G|--3rd string------------|
D|--4th string------------|
A|--5th string------------|
E|--6th string (lowest)---|

Using a Guitar Tuner

The easiest and most accurate way (especially for for beginners) to tune a guitar is by using a guitar tuner. There are different types of tuners available; some you can plug your guitar directly into, others use a built-in mic, and others that clip onto the headstock of the guitar.

Snark ST-8HZ

The Snark ST-8HZ is an affordable, and reliable clip-on guitar tuner and metronome. Just clip the Snark ST-8 onto your guitar’s headstock and start tuning! The ST-8HZ features a rotating display, vibration sensor, and a built-in internal microphone to accurately detect the note each string is tuned. The ST-8HZ is great for both acoustic and electric guitars and can even be used for tuning other instruments!

Tuning a Guitar by Ear

Learning to tune your guitar by ear helps train your ear to notice when your guitar is slightly out of tune. Depending on your level of ear training, this method is helpful when a tuner isn't available.

The method of tuning a guitar by ear using each string as a reference

  • ❶ Start by tuning the low E and high E strings from another source like a piano or tuning fork.
  • ❷ When the low E string is in tune, fret the low E string at the 5th fret and play the open A string below it. As both notes are ringing out, adjust the tuning peg of the 5th, or A, string until sounds from both strings resonate the same.
  • ❸ Once the 5th or A string is in tune, fret the A string at the 5th fret and play this string and the open 4th, or D, string below.
  • ❹ Repeat these same steps for every string except when tuning the second or B string. To tune the second or B string, fret the 4th fret instead of the 5th fret of the G string (3rd string).