One of the most important things for a guitarist to do is learn how to tune the guitar.
It doesn't matter how good a player you are – if your guitar is out of tune, you will never sound any good.
And it's incredibly simple to do as well – you won't even need a tuner after you practice for a bit and train your ears.
How To Tune A Guitar Properly?
Make sure to make this your routine in future – tune it before every gig and practice session.
Most experts advise the purchase of an electronic tuner as they are not very expensive and can save lots of time and trouble, especially if you have to tune with a lot of background noise going on.
But it is still a good idea to learn how to do it by hand.
That is, you should increase the tension on the string until it reaches the desired tone. If you go too far, then slacken the tension off and start again, rather than trying to reach the desired tone from too tight string tension.
It's your best bet to tune the guitar every time you pick it up.
- When tuning the guitar yourself, you will need to start with the low E or sixth string. All background noise and distraction should be eliminated before you start.
- Get a reference pitch from another guitar that is in tune, a tuning fork, piano or the electronic tuner.
- Slowly turn the peg of your sixth string until it sounds identical to your reference. Remember the tune-up rule.
- Next, go to the fifth or A-string and tune it. To do this, you hold down the fifth fret of the E-string and pluck and the open A-string.
- Listen for a beating or pulsating sound. Adjust the A-string until that sound disappears.
- Next, you hold down the fifth fret of the A-string while you pluck it and the D-string.
- You do the same thing for the G, B and E-strings.
If you want to use a pitch pipe to tune your guitar, you can do so without much effort:
- It is simply a matter of blowing through the appropriate holes in the pitch pipe and adjusting the strings on your guitar until they match the notes.
- You should start with the sixth E-string. Do the top E-string, before going to the others.
- An electronic tuner uses a simple display screen to tell you whether the notes are in tune or not.
- You simply need to strum one string at a time, the tuner will listen to it, and the display tells you whether it is too high or too low.
What could be simpler?
How to Do Guitar Repairs?
The best way to make repairs to your guitar is to take it to a professional guitar maintenance specialist.
Most repairs are beyond the expertise of an amateur, and if you attempt to fiddle with it yourself, you could cause even more damage.
One way to do this is to never leave it in a hot car. The adhesive used on guitars will break down at a high temperature, and a closed car on a hot day far exceeds this limit.
If you have to travel with your guitar, always be sure to pack it in a hard case with plenty of padding around the neck. If it needs to go by plane, use an additional, well-padded box.
One of these is adjusting the intonation of your electric guitar.
This will need to be done if you have changed the thickness of your strings, or the action, which is the distance between the strings and fretboard.
Some say it should be done twice a year regardless.
It is accomplished by moving the bridge saddle either forwards or backwards. (That is the bit of metal on the bridge on which the strings rest).
Adjusting the screw that holds it in place does this.
Some guitars have an allen key for this job, while with others a small screwdriver is the only tool you'll need.
It only needs to be moved a tiny bit, so be careful how much you turn the screw.
When adjusting, you need to make each string sound the same on the 12th fret as it does when played in open position.
Each time you make an adjustment, you'll need to tune the string back to E again before checking the intonation.
Sometimes the truss rod on an electric guitar will need adjustment, but unless you are sure you can do it properly, it is best to take it to a pro.
The truss rod is a piece of steel that runs down the neck of the guitar. Adjusting it will relieve a concave or convex bow in the neck.
If it is not done correctly, your guitar may be damaged permanently and irreparably.
How to Hold the Guitar Correctly?
It is essential to learn how to hold the guitar correctly. Otherwise, you will be uncomfortable, and you could injure your wrists and hands if you play a lot from the wrong position.
You'll also find it more challenging to play. That said, most budding guitarists have no difficulty maintaining the correct position, as it is both easy and comfortable.
Although we usually see performers standing up to play, it's a good idea to sit in the correct position for practice, then you'll be more at ease and won't get so tired.
- Sit in an upright position – your back of the guitar touching your chest and the neck of the guitar parallel with the floor.
- If you stand to play, you'll need to have one foot up on a footstool to form a rest with your leg for the guitar, or you'll need a strap over your shoulders to hold it up.
- If you choose to use a strap, a wide one will disperse the weight and so be more comfortable.
- Rest the right arm and hand over the guitar and use your right-hand fingers for strumming.
- The right hand should naturally fall to where the sound hole is.
- The strings should be strummed directly over this hole, as that is where the sound emanates from.
- To play while seated, rest the body of your guitar on whichever thigh it feels most comfortable.
- For a right-handed person, this will usually be the right leg, while lefthanders will prefer the left leg.
- Let the thumb of your fretting hand rest at the back of the guitar's neck, and you'll find that when you are playing chords, your thumb will be pressed quite hard against the backside of the neck.
- Test various thumb positions while playing different kinds of chords and scales to see which ones suit you best.
- The left hand will be molded to the curved shape of the guitar's neck.
- The fingers of both hands should be curved at the knuckles, with the left-hand fingers balanced on top of the strings located at the fretboard.
- Moving the wrist rather than the fingers is best for strumming. Once you get your position right, the actual playing techniques you must learn will be easier to manage.
- Those who are left-handed can either purchase a guitar specially made for left-handed people, or you can re-string a right-handed guitar, so the strings are the opposite way around. The thickest string should always be closest to your face.
As you can see, it's not nearly as hard as you may have thought. The best part is that it's similar to riding a bicycle – all you have to do is to learn to do tuning once.
Train your ears and try memorizing how the correctly tuned note sounds and you'll be good for years to come – a couple of minutes a day is all you'll need!
Here is a good tutorial for visual learners:
Want to learn more about the guitar and other musical instruments? Well, I've gotten all sorts of tutorials here at Blue Buzz Music – tune in and get to learning already!