Tuning your guitar is an essential skill that every guitarist should learn. Keeping your guitar in tune allows you to play songs accurately and have your instrument sound its best. Fortunately, tuning a guitar is a simple process that takes just a few minutes once you get the hang of it. In this article, we’ll walk through the step-by-step process for how to tune a guitar using both electronic tuners and by ear.

What You’ll Need

To get started tuning your guitar, you’ll need:

  • Guitar
  • Tuner (electronic tuner, smartphone app, free online guitar tuner, or other device)
  • Small screwdriver (for tuning peg adjustment)


  • Pitch pipe, tuning fork, or reference tone

How to Tune a Guitar With a Tuner

Electronic guitar tuners are the easiest way for both beginners and experienced players to get their guitar in tune. Here are the steps:

  1. Turn on your tuner and select the tuning you want to use (standard tuning is E-A-D-G-B-E).
  2. Strum your low E (6th) string and watch the tuner meter.
  3. Turn the tuning peg for the low E string to adjust the pitch up or down until the meter shows the string is in tune.
  4. Move to the A string and repeat steps 2-3, tuning the string to match the meter.
  5. Work your way through tuning the D, G, B, and high E (1st) strings using the same process.
  6. Strum all the strings together and make fine adjustments to get everything in tune.

Using a tuner is fast and accurate. It takes the guesswork out of tuning so you can get playing quickly.

How to Tune a Guitar by Ear

Learning to tune by ear takes practice but is a valuable skill. Follow these steps:

  1. Start with your low E string. Play the open string and tune it to match a reference tone from a pitch pipe, tuning fork, or online source.
  2. Fret the 5th fret on the low E string, which should play an A note.Tune the open A string to match the fretted A.
  3. On the A string, press down at the 5th fret, which is a D note. Tune the open D string to that pitch.
  4. On the D string, fret the 5th fret again, a G note. Tune the open G string to match.
  5. On the G string, fret the 4th fret, which is a B note. Use that to tune the open B string.
  6. Finally, fret the B string at the 5th fret, which produces an E pitch. Use that to tune the open high E string.

Tuning by ear takes a good sense of pitch matching. With regular practice, you’ll soon be able to get your guitar tuned quickly without needing a tuner.

Tips for Keeping Your Guitar In Tune

  • Tune your guitar before each practice and playing session. Strings drift out of tune over time.
  • Replace old strings regularly. New strings hold tune better.
  • Stretch strings gently after putting on new strings to help them hold tune.
  • Check tuning periodically as you play and make quick adjustments.
  • Store guitar properly when not playing to avoid temperature and humidity changes.

Tuning your guitar regularly and correctly will help you sound your best. Master the tuning techniques outlined here and you’ll be ready to play any song confidently.