MusicRadar Basics: how to tune an electric guitar

Everything you need to know to get started on the electric guitar

MusicRadar Basics: electric guitar part 3 – how to tune an electric guitar

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Ordinary electric or acoustic guitars have six strings, and in the guitar's 'standard' tuning they are tuned to the following notes: E, A, D, G, B and E.

You should always tune your guitar before you play it. During long playing sessions you may even need to stop and retune. It doesn't take long; and playing an out of tune guitar isn't an enjoyable experience and the unpleasant sound can hinder your progress.

To tune up, the easiest way is to use an electric tuner like this. There are lots of different types, including pedals and clip-on tuners; any of these is fine, and you'll soon get used to using whichever type you've chosen to buy.

To use it, you simply plug your guitar in, then pick a string. We'll start with the low E. The tuner shows you whether the string is too tight or too slack; simply adjust the corresponding machinehead to alter the pitch. When the needle is in the middle, the string is in tune – simple! Repeat this for all six strings and your guitar should be in tune.

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