Tuning your guitar is an essential skill. Its great to have electronic tuners but its also great to develop your ear so you can hear when strings go out of tune. This can happen more often if you are playing the guitar very hard or bending strings. The standard guitar tuning is from lowest to highest E, A, D, G, B, E. There are many popular alternative tunings like DADGAD and others where the guitar is tuned to a chord. The great thing about experimenting with guitar tunings is it forces you to think differently on the fretboard, or may inspire a different approach to a song. Try some different approaches using our guitar tuner above and you can read about them below.
With these tunings they should be fun and inspire you to new directions. If you are beginning there is no need to learn alternate tunings, you can just stick with standard tuning and spend time learning all the other stuff there is to learn on the guitar. There are some artists who constantly use alternate tunings, but many guitarists spend most of their lives in standard tuning, maybe with an occasional drop D. It is good practice to memorise the notes that make up Standard tuning.
And check out our video Tuning A Guitar here.
Standard Tuning EADGBE
Standard guitar tuning.
Traditionally used to create a Celtic or ethnic sound, this tuning has been used by many guitarists including Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. Checkout guitarist Pierre Bensusan who spent years perfecting DADGAD tuning for stuning effect on solo acoustic guitar
D Major - DADF#AD
Open D tuning is a great tuning for blues or slide work
Drop D - DADGBE
Drop D tuning - dropping the 6th string down to D is a easy way of giving adding an extra dimension to the bass strings where you can easily make octaves
Double Drop D - DADGBD
Double Drop D gives you extra D power
Drop C - DADGBE
Drop C tuning - again this allows some interesting deep bass notes
C Major - CGCGCE
Open C tuning - with the 6th string dropped down to C this gives a big dynamic range to your guitar sound
D minor tuning is a rich sounding minor tuning
Open G tuning is a great tuning for blues guitar work. By barring the top five strings you create a major chord
Create Your Own Tunings
Many artists create their own tunings for songs, Joni Mitchell is a great exponent of altered guitar tunings
Looking for a physical Guitar Tuner?
We recommend Snark Clip On for an acoustic and Boss Chromatic TU-3 for electric both great workhorse devices.