You Should Practice Tuning

On June 10, 2013, in Lessons, by Magnolia Guitar

Tuning the 12-String (cc) Photo by Marcus Holland-Moritz

Learning to tune your guitar is one of the first things you learn and it’s fairly straight forward. So much so that few students put much thought into it.

I have EVERY student tune at the beginning of every lesson, no matter what their skill level, because in my opinion you can never practice tuning your guitar too much.

Tuning the guitar should be quick, confident and instinctual. You should know more than one way to tune, in case of an emergency. But more importantly, you don’t want to be the person that takes 5 minutes to tune, while everyone else is waiting.

How quickly and confidently you tune your guitar, is one of the first signs you give of what’s about to come next.

Here’s some of my advice on tuning:

1.) Tune your guitar every time you sit down to play.  You’re a big boy/girl. It’s not that much of an inconvenience.

2.) Make it a habit to tune UP to pitch.  If the note is sharp, tune down below your target note and then tune back up to it to keep from introducing any slack in the string.

3.) Buy a reliable tuner that measures vibrations (like the Snark).  They’re so affordable, I keep one in every case so I’m never without one. That’s planning ahead!

4.) Use a phone or tablet tuner app as a backup since it relies on the mic and needs a quiet environment for it’s accuracy. Check out the insTuner app, which is my current favorite.

5.) If you’re an advanced player, practice talking to your ‘audience’ at the same time as you tune or change to different tunings. This is harder than it sounds and will help you avoid awkward silences between songs.

6.) You can NEVER practice tuning the guitar too much.

Don’t fall into the trap where you think practicing tuning is beneath you. It’s a skill just like any other and you will get better at it the more you practice it. The better you are at it, the quicker and more reliable your tuning will be and the more confident your playing will be… because you’ll be in tune!


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