One of the most important things you can do as a beginner is to learn how to properly tune your guitar. Below you’ll see a layout of what we like to call our “Musical Alphabet”.
These are all the notes that we can play in music, and any song you’ve ever heard, is somehow comprised of these 12 different notes. You don’t have to master all these notes right away, or even know where they are located on the guitar yet, but you do need to know what note to tune each of your six strings to. Below you’ll see the open string notes and a couple acronyms for remembering which string is which. These acronyms are to be said from the top down, meaning you’ll start with your low sounding string, or your thickest string, and move up to your high sounding string, or thinnest string.
Open String Tuning:
E – Eddie (Eat) – Thickest String
A – Ate (A)
D – Dynamite (Darn)
G – Good (Good)
B – Bye (Breakfast)
e – Eddie (Everyday) – Thinnest String
You can say – Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie – to remember that the string names are E, A, D, G, B, and e. Or, you can use the less graphic acronym, Eat A Darn Good Breakfast Everyday. It’s extremely important to memorize each string name, not only so you can properly tune your guitar to these notes, but also because the strings are often referred to by their letter name. You might hear people say “The D string” or “The A string” so it’s important to know which string is which.
To properly tune your guitar, you’ll need to have a guitar tuner. Guitar tuners come in all shapes and sizes but they all do essentially the same thing. They listen to your guitar strings when you play them and tell you what note the string is tuned to. You need to be sure that you tune each string to the appropriate letter described in our acronym above, or nothing you play will sound any good! Once the tuner hears your string, it will also display some kind of meter letting you know if the sound of the string is too high or too low. In order for the string to be perfectly in tune, this meter must land right in the center. Use your tuning pegs to tighten or loosen the strings in order to get your tuner reading right in the center. Repeat the process for each string.
If you don’t have a tuner yet, don’t worry, you can easily pick one up or you can find many free resources to help you tune your guitar. Check out some tuners on Amazon – or go to your local music shop. If you have a smart phone, you can also download a guitar tuner application. As we mentioned, tuners come in all shapes and forms but they all do basically the same thing, so you can’t go wrong! Go grab a tuner and tune those strings to the appropriate notes. Then let’s get rockin!