How Use An Electronic Tuner

Learn How To Tune A Guitar With A Digital Tuner!

digital guitar tunerNow that you know the names of the open strings you can learn how to use a digital tuner.  Once your tuner is on, play your low E string. The tuner should indicate a note, hopefully it is an E. If it’s not an E we need to adjust the tuning to make it an E. Let’s say that you hit your low E string and the tuner display says that you are playing a D flat. D is before E in the musical alphabet, so this means that we need to raise the pitch of the string until it becomes an E. Imagine that the tuner said that the note that you were playing was an F#. In this case, you would need lower the pitch of the note until it became an E. At this point you should use your tuning peg for your low E string to raise or lower the note until it becomes an E.

Okay, you have your E string tuned to an E note, but is it in tune? Most tuners have a needle or some light that let you know if a note is sharp or flat. If the note that you are tuning is flat, the needle or light will be off to the left of center. If the note that you are playing is sharp, the needle or light will off to the right of center. The idea is to “tune up” the note if it is flat and to “tune down” the note if it is sharp. When the note is “in tune” the needle will be in the middle of the display. If you have a tuner with lights the “in tune” light is usually green and in the middle of the display. Repeat this process for all five remaining strings. Don’t be frustrated if you break a string or if it takes you a while to really get the whole idea of tuning. That’s normal.

If you don’t have a digital tuner you can learn how to tune your guitar by ear in the next beginner guitar lesson.

This Lesson Has 71 Comments

  • terry says:

    In tuning a guitar with a digital tuner you didn’t say what “mode” the tuner should be set? I have a “flat” setting and it says the tuner alows the following tuning for a guitar 7B,6E,5A,4D,3G.2B,1F I don’t have a clue what any of that means?

    • Nate Savage says:

      Hey Terry,

      What kind of tuner do you have. If “standard” or “guitar” are modes for your choices I would use those. If you see a 7B in your tuning mode you are in the mode for a seven string guitar. I would stay away from that.

    • Nida says:

      If you find it hard to get a stable drneiag on the tuner (ie the note sends the LED screen flashing in all directions) it is because the tuner is picking up overtones from the other open strings. For example as you hit one string, other open strings will also sound in sympathy and the tuner doesn’t know which tone you’re after. This is even more apparent when using open tunings.Solution: Simply use either your left or right hand to damp the remaining 5 strings and the tuner will do its job without the wide fluctuations.

  • Eddy says:

    Hey,

    The sites great, I really enjoy and appreciate it.

    On the tuner. I down loaded the same ap on my ipod that you use in the demonstration.
    It worked out well the first few times but I had a really re…..ally hard time with my lo E this last time.
    Can you explain what the rest of the stuff on the tuner is? HZ ? Cents ? and why are there more then 1 number to a note? example A2 A3 A4 ect…and how do you know which one to use for which string?

    Lot of questions, sorry.

    Any help would be very much appreciated.

    Eddy

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Eddy – I’m new to this site and to the guitar, so I can’t answer most of your questions. But, I also play handbells, which numbers the octaves. An octave is 8 whole notes and the related accidentals, so A-B-C-D-E-F-G. The next whole pitch above that G is another A, then a B, etc. In order to know which A you’re talking about, you number the lowest A as A1, next octave’s A is an A2, etc. The piano keyboard is the reference point, I think, with octave 1 being the lowest notes.

    • Chrissy says:

      I think that is a piano tuner

  • Gary Goodwin says:

    I have enjoyed this site! But i have a question about the aucostic, does a digital turner have to be hooked up to anything to tune the aucostic guitar?

    • ruby says:

      no, or at least it shouldn’t. I think the video said this already but, There should be 2 modes clip and mic. On mic just put the mic on the tuner as close as possible.on Clip put the clip on your tuner on the top of your guitar’s peghead, hope that helped.

      the

    • Chris says:

      no Gary it should not be connected to an acoustic but there are are some electric acoustic guitars,I’ve seen them. But if not electric acoustic guitar then no.

  • shanto says:

    you are rock bro!

    • Sandie P says:

      I have an electronic tuner on my Epiphone that is attached by velcro just inside the body at the bottom of the sound hole. This works really well as you can just glance down as you play each string. Very easy to see, very easy to use. Easily turned on/off by reaching index finger inside and touching small button. Love it!

  • Beasting says:

    hey nate, i’m new to guitar lessons and i just wanted to say great job you are great at teaching guitar and i just wanted to ask a question or 2.ok, so i bought this guitar tuner, and i used to have a good clean sound after tuning with my old tuner, but now it seems more low pitch even though i am still in tune.i think it has something to do with this calibration button set to 440, and when i set it lower, it sounded out of tune.same for higher. could you suggest a good affordable tuner around 15-20 bucks, or perhaps a good calibration number? im using a deltalab chromatic ct-40 tuner if it helps. thanks, and i appreciate it.

  • Randy says:

    Are there any guitar tuner apps on the android phones that you would recommend? I would also like to know where can I buy a good dedicated electronic tuner and what brand would you recommend. Sorry for the many questions and thanks.

    • Dave says:

      Hey Randy, I have an Android phone and I use an app called “gStrings”. My guitar has a built in tuner and I compared the 2, it seemed to be spot on with my built in tuner. Hope this helps.

  • disha joshi says:

    is it important to have a electric tuner,,if u just play guitar as a hobby??please let me know as soon as possible sir….bcoz i have to begin with playing the guitar…..???

    • KayKay says:

      You don’t necessarily need one, but they are nice to have. You can learn to tune the guitar by ear instead if you don’t want to buy a tuner.

  • jude says:

    can we play guitar without the tuner???

  • SomeOne says:

    I have the same app but it keeps telling me it’s a C when I play the high E. I’m trying to do it but it’s a bet hard. Thanks

    • Estanque says:

      i have the lsoegnt arms in the world.the other one says: i have the lsoegnt legs in the world.The third guy says: i have the greatest guitar talent.so they decide to go to the office of the guinnes book of records.The first guy comes out and sys: Yes! i do have the lsoegnt armsThe second guy comes out and says: Great! i do have the lsoegnt legsThe third guy comes out pretty angry and says:WHO THE FUCK IS IGOR PRESNYAKOV ?

  • Dzoni says:

    Is SOS tuner good?

  • Camy says:

    How do I know what kind of tuner is suitable for my guitar?

    • Ercan says:

      i have the lognest arms in the world.the other one says: i have the lognest legs in the world.The third guy says: i have the greatest guitar talent.so they decide to go to the office of the guinnes book of records.The first guy comes out and sys: Yes! i do have the lognest armsThe second guy comes out and says: Great! i do have the lognest legsThe third guy comes out pretty angry and says:WHO THE FUCK IS IGOR PRESNYAKOV ?

  • Felicitas P. Calicdan says:

    i have a tuner like this i think this is not a good tuner it will not show right things, my Ear is Better

  • Felicitas P. Calicdan says:

    Now that you know the names of the open strings you can learn how to use a digital tuner. Once your tuner is on, play your low E string. The tuner should indicate a note, hopefully it is an E. If it’s not an E we need to adjust the tuning to make it an E. Let’s say that you hit your low E string and the tuner display says that you are playing a D flat. D is before E in the musical alphabet, so this means that we need to raise the pitch of the string until it becomes an E. Imagine that the tuner said that the note that you were playing was an F#. In this case, you would need lower the pitch of the note until it became an E. At this point you should use your tuning peg for your low E string to raise or lower the note until it becomes an E.

    Okay, you have your E string tuned to an E note, but is it in tune? Most tuners have a needle or some light that let you know if a note is sharp or flat. If the note that you are tuning is flat, the needle or light will be off to the left of center. If the note that you are playing is sharp, the needle or light will off to the right of center. The idea is to “tune up” the note if it is flat and to “tune down” the note if it is sharp. When the note is “in tune” the needle will be in the middle of the display. If you have a tuner with lights the “in tune” light is usually green and in the middle of the display. Repeat this process for all five remaining strings. Don’t be frustrated if you break a string or if it takes you a while to really get the whole idea of tuning. That’s normal.

    If you don’t have a digital tuner you can learn how to tune your guitar by ear in the next beginner guitar lesson.

    • Yara says:

      i have the osegnlt arms in the world.the other one says: i have the osegnlt legs in the world.The third guy says: i have the greatest guitar talent.so they decide to go to the office of the guinnes book of records.The first guy comes out and sys: Yes! i do have the osegnlt armsThe second guy comes out and says: Great! i do have the osegnlt legsThe third guy comes out pretty angry and says:WHO THE FUCK IS IGOR PRESNYAKOV ?

  • joshua says:

    hello i have purchased a “First act chromatic tuner” i don’t know how to actually use it please help

  • Anup Bhusal says:

    Hi . I am a beginner and want to know how to tune my guitar for the first time.

  • Hamid says:

    PitchPerfect is a free guitar tuner. I use it and it works perfectly.
    http://www.nch.com.au/tuner/index.html

  • Bill says:

    Is it possible to tune a guitar by ear?:D

    • Sandy says:

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    • Salim says:

      but by the time you’re done with one string and move on to the next you’ll have to redo the first one after you did the third, at least acncdriog to the tuner. to me I don’t hear a difference when I go back so I’m thinking it’s the tuner’s problem. in the accessory bag all that came with it was the tuner, an alan wrench, and the strap so it’s pretty worthless right now. But the guitar itself is worth the buy, you won’t find another one nicer then this for 100 bucks.

  • Alex says:

    You should have a digital guitar tuner on here

  • Maddie says:

    Hey! I love this series, it’s been helping out a lot. But my guitar i think has a built in tuner. It’s an aucostic that plugs into an amp. It has something on that says tuner with a screen with a number on it. How do you use that?

  • sanjay kumar says:

    Thats awesome technique ,abd the technique you use to give lesson through online is really awesome..u r the best guitar teacher i ever seen…………..its so easy ,,,till now hope so omming lessons are also be easy to understand

  • Lizzie says:

    Ok so I was tuning my guitar and the tuner wont pick up the low E and it was right by it. Any ideas why?

  • keri says:

    on the tuner i do not like it at all so i am gone

  • robert says:

    i use a digital tuner, it’s a tune techcost $12.95 Snark makes a great line of tuner s ranging from$30 up.
    for the fellow getting C when you pluck low E, read your instructions and check what mode you have your tuner set to, also check what instrument and frequency its set to. all these should be lite up on your screen, and yes they all make a difference.
    keep pickin’and grinnin’

    • Remleigh says:

      Classes start tomorrow. Will be Monday -Friday 9:00-10:00 PM est.. This class will be on the same page as the LIVE! teditamion for that night. Thus the class is from 9-10 and the LIVE! teditamion from 10-11 on the same page. So you pay 50 points for both the class and the LIVE! teditamion.

  • david says:

    jesus christ i was so frustrated and i had read some things and taken peoples tips but this video made me realize i was thinking of tuning it in the wrong direction and now i konw what the numbers on the tuner mean i cant say thank you enough my god i feel so happy now

  • sstr8shooter says:

    Try out the new Planet Wave mini headstock tuner. Fifteen bucks and it is spot on. Also the only tuner I have not had a bit of trouble with the low E.

    • Shyamal says:

      heeyy bro im 14 and ive been playing with a cliasacsl nylon string and im getting bored with it and i can play like a medium level i like playing jack johnson songs and stuff like that so what sort of guitar should i be looking for around 100 300 dollars?

  • Abhishek Sharma says:

    sir,
    I am a beginner and i want to buy a guitar but I am confused and not able to decide between Epiphone DR 100 and Fender CD60.
    please guide me to get a good one of these two.

  • infinite says:

    Thank you sir alot you are the best…

  • Nick says:

    Hey, I just bought a electric guitar tuner from eBay as it came in a pack, it has 2 settings guitar and bass but I don’t know what a 7b is. Anyone know?

  • la la la:p says:

    oh my god! my guitar souds so much better now, love this series!

  • Alyssa says:

    I still need to get a tuner, but luckily my mom’s friends can tune guitars by ear because they are in a band, so I’m set until I get one. :)

  • venkyzz says:

    thank you

  • lughnasia says:

    In this lesson it states to use a digital turner, if one doesn’t have the funds or ability to have a digital tuner, what is the old school method to tune a guitar? Are there ear training techniques that can be used instead or can I use my piano to do it as well?

  • Bob Smith says:

    hi,i was wondering how is it possible to tune a classical guitar using an electronic tuner(built for electric guitars)?

  • Jonathan says:

    Hey i really like to know what is the app name in this video cause it’s a pretty good app.

    • Ben says:

      Using your iPhone on Safari type in ‘gibson tuning app’ and click on the site an download it from there :)

  • Candace says:

    I just downloaded the app that is seen in this video. Yet, when I play the note it does not move or show the note like yours. The screen is exactly alike and is Gibson. I have the mode in all notes Chromatic What are the correct settings. How do you get your to have the note displayed? Thanks again :)

  • Karl says:

    I have good sucess with the Fender FT-004 clip on chrome tuner; you can buy one on Amazon.com Price: $8.02, but you should buy local first.

  • mary says:

    i really cant seem to tune my guitar properly. it sounds wierd. i got this app but i cant tune the guitar. plz help.

  • Mark says:

    Good information. I could not tune my lower E string to E and needed to know what came before and after and weather to Tighten or slacken. Im a begginer

  • Madeline says:

    hey Nate im new at playing the guitar i actually dont have one yet but ill get it in a couple of days! I could go and take guitar lessons cuz its kinda hard for me to go to one so i just wanted to thank u for giving guitar lessons in the internet!

  • irai lopez says:

    what app is that?

  • George says:

    Hi all,
    I have what seems to me a somewhat dumb (DUH) type question. I have an Intellitouch PT10 Tuner. I also have an acoustic and an electric guitars. The tuner has a range from A=430 to A=450. Which should I use for either guitar? Are the set the same or different?

    Why is there a range…
    I used (the old days) tune by ear and realized now I was pretty close, but it depends on the A=number that I was close to. Now I’m lost.

    Any help or guidance is GREATLY appreciated.
    George

  • Cabrat says:

    Yap, this one is a good tuner, but i also use Cadenza….. it’s highly accurate, and gives me a wide range of options to tune my guitar. It has adjustable A4 frequency, that helps me a lot.
    Recommend.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cadenza-tuner-+-metronome/id482745751?mt=8

  • tim says:

    Hi,
    What key should I tune my elec. In?

    • tim says:

      Its just my tuner says my g strimg is too low but it is higher than the b string…

    • Nate Savage says:

      Hey Tim, from thickest to thinnest strings you should tune your guitar to the following notes EADGBE. It sounds like your G string might be tuned an octave too high. Tune the G string down really low and start over. :)

  • javed deleo says:

    how i tunes my guitar ?? im new in this :/ tell me

    • Nate Savage says:

      Hi Javed,

      There are two lessons here in the Beginner Guitar Quick-Start Series that cover using a tuner to tune the guitar and tuning the guitar by ear. :)

 
 

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