How To Tune The Guitar With A Digital Tuner - Riff Ninja Guitar

How To Use A Digital Guitar Tuner

This lesson will show you how to tune the guitar with a digital tuner.

As you’ll see on the screen, this lesson is using a Seiko tuner. Seiko does not sponsor riffninja.com, but there are a lot of excellent features on this tuner, so that is why this one is being used.

This tuner is called a “chromatic tuner”. Chromatic means that it covers any note that is possible in the twelve-note spectrum of music. The advantage of a chromatic tuner is that it will cover any tuning that you can possibly think of on the guitar.

In the right hand corner of the tuner it shows you the note that is closest to where your guitar is tuned at the time. In this first example, it says “2E”. This means that the string you are now playing is the second octave E note – just out of tune.

In the left hand corner of the tuner is a negative number with the word “cent” beside it. This is telling you how much out of tune you are from the “2E” on the right. It measures the number of vibrations in the string.

This tuner has lights under the sharp and flat symbols to tell you which way your guitar is out of tune. It also has a meter to show you exactly how far out of tune you are.

If you’re a beginner, the strings are numbered from the bottom and go up. For instance, the bottom thin string is the first string. The top string, the thickest string, is the sixth string.

Guitars are sensitive to temperature change. You may have to tune your guitar more than once to get it down. Bring your guitar into the room you’ll be playing in, let it warm up and get settled with the room temperature, and then tune it.

This tuner is about $45, and completely worth it. You can plug your guitar into it, and it also has a microphone you can use. The downfall to a microphone is that it will pick up any other noise around it like someone talking or another guitar. Once you plug the guitar into the tuner though, it shuts the microphone off so it’s only listening to your guitar.

If you want standard pitch, then your sixth string (the lowest sounding string) should be tuned to E. The fifth string needs to be tuned to A. The fourth string is D, third string G, second string B, and the sixth string is the high E.

You’ll notice as you tighten your strings, the meter will move. With this tuner, you’ll never get the numbers on the left to read a perfect 00 every time. But if you can get the numbers between -01 and 01, that’s tuned properly.

The meter will also react to how hard you pluck the string. Just touch the string, and then let the note ring out. Don’t hit it too hard. Also, if you’re using a pickup, make sure that the volume is up on the instrument or it won’t pick up the guitar properly.  

If you don’t pay attention, you could easily tune your guitar to the wrong pitch, so keep an eye on the note showing on the bottom right.

Depending on how your tuner is programmed, some tuners will read Bb while others will read the same note as A#. They are the same note.

If you liked this video and learned something from it, riffninja.com/beginner will tell you about a beginner course that is out. Check it out!

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