Play guitar, tune a guitar

GuitarA life without music, it is hard to imagine. There are always melodies that arise in your head or your fingers make up some kind of rhythm on the dining table. Are you in a good mood, then you might even hear yourself hum. Music is part of life, not only to listen to but also to make, to experience. With a guitar for example.

The popular guitar

One of the most popular instruments of our time must surely be the guitar. And it makes sense. A guitar has a wonderful sound and is very versatile. Of course you can make a wonderful guitar solo, but besides this you can also use the guitar to play as a supportive role, to play rhythm. With a couple of well chosen guitar chords you can easily provide simple rhythm. Moreover the guitar has, besides all the obvious musical advantages, one more important pro: it is easy to take with you everywhere you go.

Buying a guitar

With all those musical advantages you may already be convinced to buy a guitar. You head off to the shop to buy a wonderful instrument. If you are still a beginner, you may be better off not looking at the expensive models, but first try out a cheaper guitar to see if after the sale you still enjoy the guitar enough. Because playing the guitar doesn't happen simply by it self, you will have to master the necessary techniques.


Whilst buying a new guitar you have the choice for an electric guitar, a classical model or a western model. An electric guitar has the advantage that the sound is amplified which makes it possible to add a variety of effects to the sound. The disadvantage is of course that you always need an amplifier and therefore taking your equipment with you requires some extra attention, time and effort. A classical guitar or a western guitar has its own sound hole and thus do not require an amplifier. Do you later want to play with amplification, then the provisions for that are for sale. Another difference between classical and western is that the neck of the classical guitar is wider, which makes the strings positioning a bit further away from each other. The three lowest sounding strings are made of nylon, the other three are made of metal. Of a western guitar all the strings are made of metal. The guitar assortment is even bigger by the way. You have guitars with only four strings, but those are bass guitars. And then you also have guitars with a total of twelve strings. Next to every string that you have with a regular guitar, there is an extra string. With the four lowest sounding strings that extra string is tuned one octave higher, with the highest two strings the extra string is tuned the same as the associated string. A twelve stringed guitar therefore knows a fuller, but also a little higher and more exciting sound.

And now: lessons!

Because the guitar is such a popular and common instrument, some people have the naive idea that playing the guitar is very easy, something that you can just start playing. This is of course not the case. With every instrument you need to invest time and effort into learning the techniques, you have to put a lot of time in making the instrument sound clear and fluent. There are lesson methods that you can watch on YouTube or you can make use of online courses. But besides this you can also choose to take classes with an actual guitar teacher. The last one is preferred, your teacher can much better correct your posture and strumming the moment you are playing. With directed instructions your guitar play can improve much faster.

And of course: practicing!

If you choose for the online possibilities, a personal teacher or if you are just by yourself working on your techniques, there is one similarity: you have to practice. Without regularity in practicing you will not improve. Especially in the beginning your fingertips will be cut by the thing strings. It is recommended to play every day for a shorter amount of time than play to a lot on only one day of the week. After some time you will start to notice that your skin of your finger tips starts to thicken and is better resistant to the sharp strings.


Before you start playing you have to tune your guitar, so that the strings together give you the desired sound. If you are playing for yourself, without other people playing together with you, then the strings need to sound in harmony with each other. If you are playing with other people together, then you need to make sure that the tuning of your strings is matching the tuning of the other instruments. To be able to tune you can partly trust your own ears, but you can also make use of tuning aids. :

  • Manually
  • Tuning fork
  • An electronic tuner
  • A tuning app

Tuning manually

If you are tuning manually you need at least one reference note of a correctly tuned instrument as a point of reference, for instance the lowest note, the e. On the guitar e is the lowest sounding string. If you are holding the guitar correctly then this is the top string.

  • Turn the tuning knob of this string until the note sounds the same as the reference note of for instance a piano. When they match, then you can continue from there with your own guitar. You can do this as follows:
  • Press the e-string in the fifth fret (the fifth section on the neck of the guitar, just before the iron fret bar). Now the string sounds higher in pitch. You now hear the note a, that needs to be the same as the note of the second string, the a-string. Because the e-string is already correct, you need to turn the tuning knob of the second string to bring the string to the correct pitch. 
  • Now press the a-string in the fifth fret. Now the a-string sounds like a d, and that needs to be the note of the third string, the d-string. Turn the tuning knob of the third string to make it match.
  • Now press the g-string in the fourth fret . This will make the g-string play a b, the note of the fifth string. Turn the tuning knob of the fifth string to make it match.
  • Now press the b-string in the fifth fret. This will make the b-string sound like an e. Turn the tuning knob of the sixth string to make it match. And indeed, the first and the last string are tuned in e, the last one is one octave higher than the first. 

With a tuning fork

With a special tuning fork you can tune all the strings of the guitar. On the tuning fork you can produce the sound of the different notes, with the tuning knobs of your strings you make the produced note of the string the same as you hear coming from the tuning fork.

With an electronic tuner

With the previous two methods you need your ears to tune the strings exactly. With an electronic tuner it becomes easier, the tuner listens for you if the note is correct. You play the first string and on the screen of the tuner you see which note you hear and if this is correct. Mostly you will see a line that needs to be in the middle of the screen. Is the line to far to the right, then the tone is still to high. With some tuners you hear a beep when the note reaches the perfect pitch.

With a tuning app

Different apps are available for your phone to download that do exactly the same as the electronic tuner. For some of those apps you pay a small amount, but there are also free apps. The functionality is often sufficient for what you are using it for: the tuning of your guitar.

Start playing

Now all the strings are tuned correctly you can start playing your guitar. Very quickly you will be able to play a few chords for yourself or to play rhythm for somebody else who is singing or playing lead guitar. Making music together, that is great!


Article written by: roybor
Times read: 1612x
Added: 22-12-2016 13:24
Last modified: 18-01-2017 21:12

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