Guitar Tuning- Part 2

Octave Method Of Guitar Tuning - Excellent


Any tuning method using octaves is correct in principle.  There are many variations and one way is to tune the open B string one octave below the 7th fret B on the high E string, the open G string one octave below the 8th fret G on the B string, the open D string one octave below the 7th fret D on the G string, the open A string one octave below the 7th fret A on the D string and the open low E string one octave below the 7th fret E on the A string. To avoid errors further up the fingerboard, make your comparisons using only fretted octaves between the 7th and 12th frets, and try tuning in this order:

  1. Tune the bass (low) E string two octaves below the treble (high) E string; With the treble E string tuned to a reference note, tune the 5th fret harmonic on the low E string to match the open treble E string.
  2. Tune the D string to the (in-tune) treble E string; compare the octave between the 7th fret B note on the E string and the 9th fret B note on the D string.
  3. Tune the G string to the (in-tune) treble E string also; compare the octave between the 10th fret D note on the E string and the 7th fret D note on the G string.
  4. Tune the B string by comparing the octave between the (in-tune) 7th fret A note on the D string to the 10th fret A note on the B string.
  5. Tune the A string by comparing the octave between the 7th fret E note on the A string to the (in-tune) 9th fret E note on the G string.

 

If you tune all the strings to the same reference string you can avoid a small error on one string affecting the others.  For example: Tune the 5th fret E note on the B string, the 9th fret E note on the G string, and the 14th fret E note on the D string all to the open high E string (which has been tuned to a reference pitch).  Then tune the 7th fret E note on the A string one octave below the open high E string, and the open low E string two octaves below the open high E string. 

Then check that the 5th fret harmonic on the low E string sounds the same pitch as the open high E string. (Since octaves are pure intervals, we also can tune using the octave and double-octave harmonics – above the 12th, 5th and 24th frets.)

 

Fine Tune as follows:

  • The A String: Tune the 12th fret harmonic on the low E string to the fretted 7th fret E note on the A string.
  • The D String: Tune the 12th fret harmonic on the A string to the fretted 7th fret A note on the D string.
  • The B String: Tune the 12th fret harmonic on the B string to the fretted 7th fret B note on the high E string.
  • The G String: Tune the 12th fret harmonic on the G string to the fretted 8th fret G note on the B string.

 

Finally, check that the 12th fret harmonic on the D string sounds the same pitch as the fretted 7th fret D note on the G string.  This is an extremely effective guitar tuning method at getting the best available results out of a poorly adjusted instrument.

   

More information on guitar tuning methods
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Guitar Tuning
Guitar Tuning Part 2

Learn To Train Your Ear

 

Before electronic tuners were in existence, we used to tune our guitars by ear, using an A440 tuning fork.  But even with our reliance on electronic tuners, we still fiddle with our tuning pegs to find that sweet sounding chord up and down the neck.

 

Many of today’s’ guitar players grew up with guitar tuners and never learned to tune without one.  This is unfortunate as they miss out on the ear training that is so important in the presentation of great music.  We seldom pick up someone else’s guitar without tweaking the tuning to our own ear.  Ear training also becomes crucial when playing with others as a group.  When you play along with other guitarists, keyboards and bass, the guitar tuning issue becomes even more important.  Train your ears!

 
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