[linux-audio-user] in tune - stupid thread --- OT how to tune a guitar

John Check j4strngs at bitless.net
Tue Dec 21 02:32:34 EST 2004

On Monday 20 December 2004 08:12 am, geekery at jamesfenn.co.uk wrote:
> Okay, sorry for this just had to bite as most guitarists are taught dodgy
> tuning methods... This one is for equal temperament, which you have to use
> because you have frets in a fixed position. Bear in mind that the
> intonation on your guitar has to be in for this to work (check the harmonic
> at the 12th fret with the fretted note there, they should be exactly the
> same) :
> 1 get your A string in tune from a piano, pitchfork, whatever... A is a
> good oneto start with because the peg is a little bit protected and it is
> the standard tuning note.
> 2 tune the low E by comparing the 5th fret on the E with the open A
> 3 tune the D by comparing the 12th fret harmonic on the A with the 7th fret
> on the D string
> 4 tune the G by comparing the 12th fret harmonic on the A with the the 2nd
> fret on the G string
> 5 tune the B by comparing the 5th fret harmonic on the A with the 10th fret
> on the B string

This is the method I use. 

BTW, if you watch the B as you're cranking it'll resonate when it's 
fundamental coincides with the harmonic so you don't really have to pluck it. 
This is helpful in certain situations. The wrapped strings are too heavy to 
take advantage of the effect, but the A has enough mass relatively speaking. 

> 6 tune the top E by comparing the 5th fret harmonic on the A with the 5th
> fret on the top E string

> The rationale for all this is first that you are tuning everything off of
> the same string so you don't get compound error from tuning every string
> from the pitch of the last one tuned (A from 5th on E, D from 5th on A,
> etc) and secondly the harmonics which produce octaves should be perfectly
> in tune whereas the 5ths are out in terms of equal temperament.
> The only problem is getting to the pegs with your right hand while fretting
> with your left quick enough before the harmonics die out...

Beats trying to fret a note and crank any day.

> Good luck getting that thing in tune,
> James Fenn

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