Have you got a guitar and want to start playing? It’s a great way to get creative and have a lot of fun, but you need to make sure it’s in tune. A lot of people have guitar lessons, or look for online help. They can get to a good level of guitar playing without actually knowing how to tune the guitar itself. They’re making a big mistake, as you need to make sure your guitar is in tune before you start trying to tune it.
If you haven’t got one already, you should pick up a guitar tuner. This makes the job a lot more easy. Tuning by ear is probably want you want to do at some point, but that’s really only reserved for at least intermediate to advanced guitar players. If you’re new to things, then you should pick up a guitar tuner. There are a few different types, and they’re more affordable than you might think. There are a few different types of guitar tuners.
In this article, we’re going to look at the different types of guitar tuning machines along with how to use them to tune your guitar. As well as that, we’ll look at some options for tuning your guitar without a guitar tuner. So what types of guitar tuning machines are there?
Types of guitar tuning machines
Did you know that there are actually 3 different types of guitar tuners? These are vibration-based tuners, microphone tuners and plug-in or pedal tuners. They can all do a good job in helping you tune your guitar, but some are better than others, depending on your tastes and skill level.
Vibration tuners clip onto the head of the guitar and work by sensing the correct vibration level of each string. They’re perhaps some of the easiest tuners to use. They’re also good because you can use them even in areas where there’s lots of noise around.
When you pluck the string with one of these tuners, it will automatically show you on its LCD screen what you need to do next. They’re normally quite accurate.
Microphone tuners are perhaps the most common. These are put near your guitar and will pick up the sound when you pluck a certain string. They’ll then tell you how you need to tune a string until it gets to the perfect note. These are good pieces of equipment and can be beneficial because you don’t have to actually clip anything to your guitar (saving clutter). However, the one downside is that you’ll need to be in a quiet area as external noise can confuse the machine or make it inaccurate.
The other type of guitar tuner is the pedal or plug-in variation. These are slightly less common. They work by connecting directly to an electric guitar. Obviously, they can only be used with the right type of guitar and aren’t for acoustic variants. They are super-accurate and precise, but also quite expensive.
How to tune a guitar with a guitar tuner
Now we’ve looked at the different types of guitar tuners available, you probably want to know a bit more detail about how to use an electronic tuner. After all, they are the best option, especially for people new to playing the guitar or those who don’t have a very good ear for the right tone or note.
These guitar tuners might often be referred to as automatic guitar tuners, but they aren’t actually automatic. In other words, they don’t tune your guitar for you (that would be good). But they do give you an automatic reading of how in-tune (or normally out of tune) you guitar is and how to fix it.
An electronic guitar tuner is quite self-explanatory. While they might start off as a slightly different piece of equipment, they work basically the same way. They’ll tell you which string they think you’re trying to tune. If they’ve got this wrong, one of your other strings might be way out, but you can come back to this. Move to the string it thinks you’re trying to tune, or manually tell the tuner which string you’re on.
The display on the tuner will give you a reading of a needle and show how far away you are from the correct note. You can then keep plucking the string and tuning at the same time, to get closer to the desired perfect note until you’re there. You should get a different light to show you when you’ve hit the spot. When the needle hits the middle of the oscillator, a green light should come on. You can then move on to the next string.
Some guitars will need tuning more than others, especially if you play them a lot. Eventually, you might get used to knowing how each string should sound just after it has been tuned, but plenty of people use automatic tuners for decades, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
How to tune a guitar without a guitar tuner
If you don’t have a guitar tuner, you’ve still got a few options. Some people have a good ear for sounds and have never really used a guitar tuner. If you’re one of those people, then great. But if not, there are still a few things you can do.
As with almost everything these days, there are a few smartphone apps that can help you. Many of these are free. You can simply download the app and put it near your phone. This will work a lot like a microphone-based electronic guitar tuner. You’ll get a reading as to how far out of tune a certain string is, and you’ll be able to keep plucking and working through a method of trial and error to fix it.
If you don’t have a smartphone app available, you can try listening to tuning videos online and getting the right note by ear. This is a bit more difficult and some people won’t be able to manage it. If that’s the case, then treat yourself to an electronic guitar tuner, they’re the best option.