How To Tune A Guitar For Beginners

So, the first thing we need to do is get in tune! If you're sure you have your guitar in tune already or if you already know how to use a tuner, you can skip this lesson.

You should tune your instrument before each practice session. There are a few different ways to do this, such as using a stand-alone tuner or a tuner app on your phone, but I strongly recommend using a clip-on tuner. They’re great for beginners because they’re relatively cheap and super easy to use, which means you’ll get your guitar in tune quickly, easily, and accurately.

One thing that beginners sometimes have trouble with when tuning their instrument is picking the individual strings well enough to get an accurate read on the tuner. There’s a really simple solution to this – just use your thumb instead of a pick! Strum a string with your thumb and then rest it on the string directly below it.

Also, these tuners work best on strings that are already decently well in tune. If, for example, you’ve just changed your strings (Find out how to change your strings here!), you’ll have to use your ear a bit to get the string closer to the note it’s supposed to be. Sometimes you’ll find that you’ll have to tune your strings twice because once you’ve gone through and significantly adjusted the tension on all of the strings, the neck can move back and forth. No problem – just go back through them again for some fine-tuning.

For more help on tuning your instrument, check out my Tune Your Guitar Module.

Recommended Tuners

The clip-on Tuners I recommend are:

TC Electronic PolyTune Clip - more expensive but also more accurate. Great battery life, small and easy to use - and can show the tuning of all strings at once! 

Snark - a basic beginner tuner, easy to use, a bit big but it's clear and not expensive!

D'Addario Micro Tuner - There are tiny clip-on tuners that you can leave on all the time, accurate and easy to use - reasonably priced too!

If you want to go the App route then:

Peterson Strobosoft - these guys make the best and most accurate tuners ever made (Strobe Tuners) and you can get all that accuracy in an app on your phone for hardly any money. I used this app for a long time but find clip-ons easier - the guitar doesn't need to be plugged in for a clip-on, but an electric guitar needs to be amplified for the app to work well.