Can You Tune a Guitar Without a Tuner?


Tuning your guitar is part of owning and playing guitar. However, you won’t have don’t have access to a tuner at all times. If guitar players find themselves in this situation, they might think, ‘can you tune a guitar without a tuner?‘ Well, this article will answer this question that has been poking around in your mind.

Yes, it is possible to tune your guitar without a tuner. A tuner can come in handy, but it is possible to tune your guitar manually. You can do this with your good musical ear, which you can develop over time.

This article will discuss on how you can tune your guitar without the help of a tuner. I will also discuss how you can tune your guitar and some tips you can use while you do the tuning process. Lastly, this article will discuss the importance of tuning a guitar and when you should tune your guitar.

Tuning Your Guitar Without A Tuner: How to Do It

First, start with the sixth string while holding down the fifth fret. Doing this means you have A on the E string. Adjusting the fifth string results in an A string. When A string is played with open matches, the pitch of the E string will be played on the fifth fret.

A good tip in tuning your guitar is humming the right note you are aiming to tune. If you do this, you can hear whether the string is tuned or not. You can tell whether the string is too tight or too loose.

When tuning your D string, it should match the pitch the A string while playing fifth fret. Once your done, do the same on every string, except the B string. Suppose it’s time to tune your B string; hold down the G string on the fourth fret. Once the string is tuned in the correct interval, the sound of your guitar will be just fine by itself.

Here is a quick and easy step on how you can tune your guitar:

  • Start with low E string
  • A string
  • D string
  • G string
  • B string
  • High E string
  • Check if everything sound right by playing a chord.
  • When strings sound off, retune them.

Tuning Your Guitar Matching with Keyboard or Piano

Next is tuning your guitar with a matching keyboard or piano. These are great for those who have access to the instrument. You can have a pianist by your side to help you with the tuning.

For you to get the right pitch, all you have to do is play along with someone who plays the piano or another instrument. Just like a pitch tuner, this would be a great exercise for getting your ears used to the notes. This way, you can easily pick out and match the notes.

All you have to do when matching the tune of your guitar with keyboard or piano is to tune your sixth string to the E two octaves below the middle C. You can continue to match each pitch with the right notes when tuning your guitar.

Also, you can go up the keyboard to make sure your guitar is well tuned. Doing this will help develop note-seeking skills on the piano, so you’re kind of hitting two birds with one stone. o

Other Options to Tune Your Guitar

It is great when you have a good grasp of tuning a guitar. You play with different alternate guitar tunings so you can get the right sound. There are different ways you can tune your guitar. However, the most common is Drop D and Open G.

Guitar Tuning with Drop D: Pretty Simple

Guitar tuning with a Drop D is pretty simple to do. All you have to do is start with the standard tuning. When that’s done, move on to the sixth string down to a full step. You will be moving from note E to D. Tune the E string until it is the sam as the D note.

When you’ve done this, it should be at an octave lower. There are some songs that you can practice with Drop D:

  • Harvest Moon by Neil Young
  • Dear Prudence by the Beatles

Guitar Tuning with Open G

When you’re fond of listening to Keith Richards’ playing, you are already familiar with Open G tuning. Most of the time strings are usually tuned in G chord. Here you would strum openly, which you would already be playing a complete chord.

You can start from the sixth string, and the tune will follow these notes, D-G-D-G-B-D.

Tips to Tuning Guitar: Things to Keep In Mind

Most beginners have a hard time tuning guitars. It is best that you listen to the pitches of your guitar carefully. It will take practice to fine-tune the guitar. Most beginners can’t easily listen to two notes and can’t identify which note is higher or lower.

At most, beginners usually hear the same sound, so it is important to pay attention to the first note. When the first note is ringing, hum that note. Then, repeat the note until your humming and the pitch are the same.

Do the same for the segond note. Hum the note first without stopping and then move on to the second note. Feel whether your voice when up or down. If you listened and the second note is down, then it is lower. If it went up, then the note is higher.

Make the proper adjustment until they sound the same. Now, this technique may sound silly, but it does help when tuning your guitar.

Don’t worry, and you will eventually be able to determine the different pitches. Then, you won’t need to hum them anymore. Make sure to tune your guitar everytime you use it. It will make the sound better and will allow you to practice your tuning.

Importance of Tuning a Guitar: The 101

Now, no matter how well you can play the guitar, it won’t deliver the sound you want when it doesn’t sound right. No matter how your fingers are doing the right thing, your guitar will still be out of tune.

Tuning guitars is important since the strings tend to slip around when you use them. They will either tighten or loosen on their own. When this happens, it will result in your guitar changing pitch.

Tuning a guitar is a pretty simple task. All you have to do is adjust the string’s pitch by turning the string’s corresponding tuning key at the guitar’s head.

When the key is away from you, this mean the strings will tighten. It will then result to the pitch being higher. The opposite will loosen the string which will provide a lower pitch.

You can start by turning the keys slightly if you are a beginner. When you hear a different sound, be sure to move the key and pluck the string slowly. Doing this will make sure you are familiarized with the different pitches.

Do not be too forceful or move the key drastically while tuning. It will change the keys at the same time all at once. Also, tightening the keys too much will result in the string unraveling. If you are in doubt, always take it slow.

The Right Time to Tune A Guitar: Be In the Know

When you own a guitar, it is best to remember that these are sensitive instruments. The sound may go out of tune during rainy days or hot summer evenings since th wood expands and contracts. This is all thanks to the changes in temperature and humidity.

Having said this, there’s a huge change the tension in the strings will change. It will result to the guitar going out of tune. Aside from the weather, it can also be out of tune whenever you are playing very hard or often with bend pitches.

During your practice phase, it is best to tune your guitar as they can be sensitive. When you sense your guitar doesn’t sound right, tune it!

Plenty of professional musicians take some time before performances to tune their guitar. There are also some situations where new strings are needed to tune your guitar until they are broken into.

A Tip to Keep Your Guitar Tuned for Long Period of Time

To keep your guitar tuned for long period of time, be sure to change your strings regularly. The ideal is to change your strings once a month to once a week. If you decide to stop playing, make sure to place your guitar in a hard case.

Place it in a cold, dry location to avoid any changes in heat as well as humidity. Wipe down the strings once in a while with a clean, dry cloth when it’s in storage.

Intonation will also help when it comes to tuning the guitar, which means it can hold the pitch up and down on your fretboard.

A good example of bad intonation is open strings on your guitar which will sound in tune, and fretted notes will sound out of tune. The intonation can be affected by wear and tear, especially when you often play or how the instrument was made.

If the reason is the way the guitar is made, it is best to go to the store where you bought the guitar. Ask the people at the store to take a look at the guitar’s intonation, they will be able to provide you with the right intonation..

Final Thoughts

Tuning your guitar is important for you to ensure the sound is perfect. Make sure you tune your guitar every time you use it and whenever you feel like it is out of tune. Choose from the different ways on how you can tune a guitar without the use of a tuner. One is by ear tuning with a keyboard or piano, and so much more. Changing the strings can also help ensure your guitar plays at its best. Happy tuning!

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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