How to Use a Guitar Tuner

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How to Use a Guitar Tuner

The process of tuning a guitar assigns pitches to the open strings of the instrument. It is important to tune guitars regularly to ensure that the notes sound right when playing music. Before the advent of electronic guitar tuners, musicians used tuning forks on one string and the other strings were tuned using this as a reference. Today, musicians can choose from many types of guitar tuners that make it easy for them to tune an instrument quickly and accurately. Whichever type of guitar tuner a musician buys, it is important to know how to use it. Guitarists should also learn about standard tuning and the alternate ways to tune their instruments.

Types of Guitar Tuners

The history of guitar tuning stretches back as far as the history of the instrument. Portable electronic tuners replaced traditional tuning forks. However, there are other types of devices that are useful in different scenarios.

Type of Guitar Tuner


Tuning fork

Offers only one pitch

Tunes a single string

Tuned string serves as a reference to tune the remaining strings

Not suitable for loud environments

Electronic tuner

Available in different sizes

Detects and displays different pitches

Microphone or input jack detects pitch

Includes clip-on guitar tuners and chromatic tuners, which detect any pitch

Use clip-on models and those with input jacks in noisy environments

Strobe tuner

Most accurate

Three types available: mechanical rotating disk, LED array, and virtual

Displays the difference between a reference frequency and the instrument's frequency

Used by instrument restorers, luthiers, and technicians


Guitar tuning apps

Available for smartphones

Phone's microphone detects pitches

Use noise cancelling in loud environments

Online guitar tuners

Available for use online

Musicians listen to pitches and tune the strings by ear

Electronic tuners are the most common type. They are inexpensive, fairly accurate, and many models are small enough to carry all the time. They are available for acoustic, electric, or bass guitars.

Types of Guitar Tuning

Six-string guitars are tuned in different ways. The standard tuning, E-A-D-G-B-E, is the most common form. The letters refers to the pitches of the open strings from the lowest note, which is the thickest string, to the highest note, which is the thinnest string. However, guitarists have the option of using alternate tunings, with the most common listed below:

* Drop D (D-A-D-G-B-E)

* Half step down (Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Gb-Eb)

* Full step down (D-G-C-F-A-D)

* Open D (D-A-D-F#-A-D)

* Open G (D-G-D-G-B-D)

* Open A (E-A-E-A-C#-E)

* Open C (C-G-C-G-C-E)

* Open E (E-B-E-G#-B-E)

* Open F (F-A-C-F-C-F)

Many professional musicians use alternate tuning, as heard in the songs "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones (Open G) and "She Talks to Angels" by the Black Crowes (Open D). Chromatic guitar tuners are ideal for alternate tuning because they display a wide range of notes.

Using an Electronic Guitar Tuner

Electronic guitar tuners come in several styles. They are used in a similar way, regardless of whether they are clip-on, models with digital LED or LCD displays, or analogue tuners with needles.

Place guitar tuners with microphones close enough to pick up the sound of the notes; attach clip-on tuners to the headstock of the guitar; and connect tuners with an input jack to the guitar's output jack. Turn on the tuner. Play the first note, that is, low E for standard tuning, and check that the device is receiving the signal. Cleanly pluck the string without touching any of the other strings.

Digital tuners display a green light if the string is in tune. Flat and sharp notes are indicated by red lights to the left and right of the green light. For analogue tuners, the string is in tune if the needle is at the centre. If it is to the left, the note is flat, and if it is to the right, the note is sharp. Musicians should alter the pitch using the tuning pegs until the tuner indicates that the note is correct. Repeat these steps for all of the guitar strings.

How to Buy Guitar Tuners on eBay

Buyers looking for guitar tuners can choose from a large selection on


. Find a device quickly by using the search bar available on every page. For example, a search for "

clip-on guitar tuners

" displays all matching items. Narrow down long lists by choosing the category filters, such as the condition of the tuner or a price range. Attractive offers are available on the

eBay deals

pages. Guitars should be tuned regularly to ensure that the notes sound right. There are several types of tuners and electronic models are the most common. They range from small units that fit easily into a pocket to large rack-mountable tuners for studios.

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