Contact: Kelsey Austin


Location: New York, U.S.

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How to Tune a Guitar

      Without a Tuner

   If you are looking for How to Tune a Guitar (With a Tuner) that is the previous article.

 Back when I started playing guitar a tuner was a luxury. No, its not cuz I'm that old, its cuz I was 10, and couldn't afford a tuner. So, I got pretty good at tuning by ear. This method will help train your ear to be more sensitive to pitch. A good ear is a huge asset no matter what instrument you play. With a little practice you might be able to hum that Low E without a reference note.


   The fact is, a tuner is a piece of tech. It has to have power via batteries or power outlet. Batteries die, your ears won't. So when you are in the middle of a gig, and your clip on tuner dies, you can shrug it off. You'll have the confidence to tune by ear and continue the show.

Pro Tip: To get a really stable tune, stretch each string after you tune it, then retune. This will increase the longevity of your tune. By pulling on the string, you are taking out the tiny bit of slack left in the string wraps around the tuning post. 

Step by Step Tuning

Most guitars have six strings. From top to bottom they are E-A-D-G-B-e. Those are the notes we want to be tuning to. Without a tuner, the next best method will be to use the guitar's fretboard as a reference. The only catch is, you'll at least want to have your Low E string in tune. Without that, your guitars strings can technically be in tune with eachother, but your guitar could be off pitch with another instrument. You'll see what I mean.

Steps for Tuning

  1. Pick the low E string (the thickest string) while fretting at the 5th fret, then pick the next string (A string). 

  2. The goal is to match these to notes. To do that, tune the A string to match the 5th fret E string.

  3. The pattern will continue for each string.


4.  When finished, you can confirm everything is correct by strumming an open E chord. Your ear will learn to          detect even the tiniest inconsistencies.

5.  Rock On.

E String @ 5th Fret = Open A String

A String @ 5th Fret = Open D String​

D String @ 5th Fret = Open G String

*G String @ 4th Fret = Open B String

B String @ 5th Fret = Open e String

* Note that the fret changes for the Open B   String, Use G 4th fret.