How To Tune Your Guitar By Ear

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In this lesson, we're going to take a look at how to tune your guitar by ear. There are two main methods you can use to tune your guitar without a tuner, and we'll take a look at both of them. The first is called the 5th fret method and the second is called the harmonic method.

Unfortunately, you can’t tune every single string on the guitar by ear. You’ll need to find something like a piano, another guitar, or anything else you know will be perfectly in tune to match your low E string to. Once you’ve matched that string to your reference tone, you can use the 5th fret method to tune the rest of the strings.

The 5th Fret Method

Fretting the 5th fret on your low E string will give you an A note, which is the note you’ll be tuning the next string to. Match the two tones to one another. Then you can do the same to tune the D and G strings as well. When it’s time to tune your B string, you’ll need to fret the 4th fret of your G string. After that, you can go back to the 5th fret of the B string to tune the high E string.

The Harmonic Method

Once you’ve used the 5th fret method for all the strings, you can fine-tune your tuning with the harmonic method. Go to your low E string and play a natural harmonic right on top of the 5th fret. Then play a natural harmonic on the 7th fret of your A string. The two harmonics are the exact same pitch. When playing both together, listen for a warbling sound and tune up or down to slow the warbling down until it goes away. You can do this for all the other strings except for the B string.


This lesson is just a small excerpt from Guitareo. There, you can fast track your progress on the guitar with step-by-step video lessons, fun play-along songs, and all the community support you need. If you want to watch the rest of the series that this lesson was taken from and continue to build on your momentum, you can head over to Guitareo.com and try it risk-free for 90 days.