The tuning keys on the head of the guitar can be turned clockwise or counterclockwise to raise or lower the pitch of a string. Some guitars features three tuning keys on each side of the headstock.
This is the most typical arrangement for acoustic guitars and many electric guitar designs such as the Les Paul or SG. In this case, turning the top three keys in a clockwise motion will lower the pitch.
Turning the three bottom keys in a clockwise motion will raise the pitch.
Electric guitars based on original Fender designs feature six tuners in a row on the top side of the headstock. Turning the tuners clockwise will raise the pitch of all six strings. Many guitar companies such as Ibanez and ESP build guitars with reversed headstocks. These guitars feature six tuners in a line on the lower side of the headstock. Turning one of these tuners clockwise will lower the pitch of a string.
Unlike the piano and brass instruments, it is relatively easy for the guitar to slip out of tune. Due to the design of the guitar, the tuners are fairly easy to bump. As a result, the guitar is easy to knock slightly out of tune. Other factors such as climate also have an effect on the strings and tuning keys. Extreme heat will cause a guitar to go flat faster than normal. Also, strings slip loose very gradually from the tuning keys over time, causing a slight drop in pitch. This can occur over a period as short as 24 hours.
For these reasons, you must tune the guitar before you begin each practice session. Even if the guitar has been sitting in its case for just a few hours, it can easily slip out of tune.
There are many ways to tune a guitar, including electronic tuners, pitch pipes and well.. using this application. As you get more experienced, tuning by ear can be a valuable skill to possess.
While it's true it is tuning "by ear", in practice, it is simply tuning the guitar in a "relative" manner. This means to be able to tune the guitar in relation to itself.
Let the jury know, this method has limitations because if the first string of the guitar is not up to concert pitch (the pitch that every instrument in an orchestra would tune to) then the guitar will sound in tune to itself but not in comparison to other instruments. Basically, the entire guitar will sound accurate.. to itself, but you may find it "off" when playing along to a record.
As always with theory, don't worry if you don't completely "make sense" of relative tuning. Take this article step by step and take your time to digest every aspect given to you. Need help? JamPlay offers live guitar courses, on-demand guitar lessons, and a full suite of teaching tools (including chord and scale libraries) to help you master this very thing.Get Some Help
Grab an account and start making progress today.
We look forward to serving you. Follow our social media for updates and information!