Standard guitar tuning is done by tuning each guitar string to its reference note and then making sure the strings are in tune with one another. To tune a guitar accurately, you need a set of tuning pipes or a piano.
- Tune the low E string
This is the thickest string of the guitar and the least likely to go out of tune if the guitar has been properly maintained. Play the low E on the tuning pipe, and pluck the string. Adjust the tuning of the string as necessary, lowering the pitch by turning the tuning key toward you and raising the pitch by turning the key away.
- Tune each of the other strings in the same way
The notes for the other strings are A, D, G, B and E, going up in intervals of five half-steps except for G to B. This interval is four half-steps.
- Tune the strings with one another
If the guitar is part of an ensemble, it needs to be in tune with the other instruments. If it's to be played solo, it only needs to be in tune with itself. Starting with the low E string, press a finger on the fifth fret and play the string, then play the next string open. Tune the A string to match the fifth fret of E. Repeat for the other strings. When tuning the B string, use the fourth fret of G. When tuning the strings, listen for subtle wobbles in sound that indicate atonality.