Guitar Lesson 1 – Standard Guitar Tuning

Before doing the practice right a way you need to start with basic the steps. The basics include everything from single note to scales. The first article is dedicated to how to tune guitar. The following steps will guide you to standard tuning for guitar. It is the basic tune for beginner and most of musicians. It’s used in many simple songs. from World-Class hits to local songs, for example Nothing Else Matters (Metallica), Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix) and many more.

I’m sure most of you all know how to do it. If you don’t then after this lesson you’ll have no problem to do it on your own. As the separate category of guitar basics it will cover tips how to do it and learn other related basics easy way.

Let me guide you thru the first lesson!

This is the view of classical guitar tuning, known as standard.

standard guitar tune

As you can see then low E string and high E string are the same. The Capital letter “E” (to the left) is the 6-th string on the fret board (the fat string) and the lower case “e” (to the right) string is the first (thin string). Playing both of these they need to sound in one tonality.

Second is the high B string. B string is the older brother of the E string. Tuning the guitar by intervals (fourth’s) they also need to sound the same (in one tone) but that will be covered later in separate article about guitar intervals.

Third string is the G string on the fret board. There’s not much to say about it so let’s continue.

Fourth string is D. Playing both G and D strings – they should sound in one tone (the same). That’s the exception in open string sounding which is quite simple. It can be heard perfect on “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple at the beginning (first chord on open strings).

Fifth string is the A string. And the last one is low E string which is the sixth.

Here’s what we get right now:

  • 1. String – high E
  • 2. String – high B
  • 3. String – middle G
  • 4. String – middle D
  • 5. String – low A
  • 6. String – low E

Remember: First string starts from the bottom of the guitar fretboard. It’s very important to know that! It took a while for me to memorize it. It will help you better to understand guitar tabs in the future!

Ok, now we know strings on the guitar. It’s time to tune the instrument!

Here we go!

Take the guitar and play the low E string. Try to sing with it. Sing something like “doo… doo… doo…” in the same tone with the low E string. It’s very important! Close your eyes, sing and try to memorize the that sound. It will help you in developing ear training and after some time you’ll be able play any song heard on the radio. This is important point in every musicians guide.

If you don’t really sure that your E string is on the right tone then this resource will help you:

I’m trying to help you to understand how to do it right way because these small things lead to big success. Imagine that you’re playing with the band and you don’t know how to play a solo by ear with the lead guitarist or bassist. You’ll be out of tonality which will be very disappointing. Small things lead to big results!

Ok, now our 6-th string is tuned then it’s time to tune other strings.

Play 5th fret on low E string and next play open A string.

They must sound the same! (5th fret on the E string is A note)

Next, play 5th fret on A string. (A string is the fifth) Then play open D string. Conclusion – they must sound the same. 5th fret on the A string is D string.

Then, play 5th fret on D string. Next play open G string. Sounds familiar? They must sound the same. If not, then turn guitar machine heads and try to reach the same sound. 5th fret on D string is G note.

Next play 4th fret on G string and open B string. They must sound the same. This is another exception in guitar theory because 4th fret on G string is B note (not fifth fret!).

Then play 5th fret on B string and open high E string. They must sound the same. 5th fret on B string is E string.

And that’s it!

Remember, the formula. It’s very easy to remember:

The formula – 5; 5; 5; 4; 5
guitar tuning digits

Look at this picture for better understanding. Remember that the guitar is tuned on the 5-fret on every string except on the 4-th fret on G string.

Ok, take a brake now for few minutes and just relax your brain. I know that this is tough

Here’s a video by Marty Schwartz from GuitarJamz.com about how to tune the guitar in standard tuning. It’s very simple. Marty does that really great. I like his teaching skills.

Basically, here he tells the same written above. Take a look at this video and learn it easy way.

For conclusion of today’s lesson, let’s collect everything step by step:

  • This is the standard guitar tune;
  • It’s tuned on every 5th fret of strings, except on G string (where it’s 4th);
  • It’s basic tuning;
  • Sing every note while playing (for better understanding and remembering them!)

Guitar tuning was the first lesson from the guitar basics course. Next one is – knowing notes on fretboard which is essential part in guitar practice.

See you next lesson!


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Guitar Lesson 1 – Standard Guitar Tuning
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