Tuning your guitar is something that every guitar player needs to know how to do! In this masterclass from James we look at the things to avoid and correct tuning technique to help your guitar stay in tune.

Summary: Tuning your guitar

Your absolute first step at this point is to ensure you know the names of the strings! Sounds obvious, but if you don't then you won't be able to use the tuner! Just to recap, here are the notes of the neck.

It's also important to know all 12 music notes as you will be tuning through all the notes to find the correct note. For example, if you are tuning to A, you will more than likely see a G# at some point on the tuner. It is your task to recognise that G# is the note before A, and therefore that you need to continue tuning upwards. Here are those 12 notes in sharps and flats (most tuners display sharps instead of flats). If you want more detail on any of these basic theory concepts, please check out the Theory Lab section, starting with Essentials Part 1.

Equipment: What you will need

You will need a tuner of some kind. There are many available and here is a run down of the most common types you can get.

1. Tuning Apps

If you have a mobile with apps then you can get access to a massive range of tuning apps. They range in quality, but are a nice easy way to get your hands on a tuner. All you need to do is put the phone nice and close to you when you are playing the guitar and the app will pick up the sound and you can tune the guitar. Simple as that!

2. Pedal Tuner

If you are slightly more advanced and getting ready to start gigging, your first pedal on your board should be a tuner! These are perfect for live use because as soon as you turn them on they cut your signal going to the amp. This allows you to tune in silence between songs. They tend to be more accurate than other tuners simply because you are plugging directly into them via a cable. Once again, you can get a wide range of pedal tuners, so be sure to try a few before you buy.

3. Clip-on Tuner

Clip on tuners are growing in popularity, and we used a clip on tuner in the video. The clip-on tuners tend to be a nice balance between the app and the pedal tuners. They work on vibrations from within the wood, so are less susceptible to picking up other sounds (which could happen with the microphone based app tuners). They are small, easy to quickly clip on to the guitar and relatively cheap compared to the pedal tuners. We would recommend these types of tuners as the perfect place to start as a beginner guitarist.

Ready to move on – remember to check out every lesson in this unit first – then try the next unit...

How To Change Guitar Strings

In this comprehensive string changing course, James takes us through how the pros change strings! We begin our course with an introduction, talking about how often to change strings and which strings to use.