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Does Your Guitar Sounds Really Good?
One day you will realize that your guitar doesn't sound as good as your friend's, and not because he is a better player. You are playing the same chords, but your guitar sounds crummy! Why? Because your guitar is not perfectly tuned!
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If this is happening to you, then you must really work on tuning your guitar. Once you get it perfectly tuned, only then the chords will came to life! If you're not perfectly in tune, you're missing out on the entire experience. This is especially true when you're playing electric guitar with distortion. When the notes of a chord are played together, the result should be one full sound that stands on it's own. This is what occurs when you are in ideal tune.
There are two tools that you can employ when tuning your guitar. One is an electronic tuner and the other is your ear. Tuning by ear is far more important because you must be able to be familiar with different pitches in sound. This is vital to being a musician. Ear training takes time. Don't get upset because you can't tune by ear in a week. Your brain needs to get familiar with the notes in music.
I want to share some different ways to tune your guitar. The first is the most typical. It involves matching the notes on the neighboring strings as follows:
6th string, 5th fret and 5th string open
5th string, 5th fret and 4th string open
4th string, 5th fret and 3rd string open
3rd string, 4th fret and 2nd string open
2nd string, 5th fret and 1st string open
With this technique you are matching the notes precisely to obtain the correct tuning. All of the notes are the same in pitch. If you're off on one of the strings, the rest of them will be out of tune, so be careful when tuning.
A second way to tune is by octaves. An octave is the interval between two notes with the same name. If you played the C major scale: C D E F G A B C, the two Cs are one octave apart. You can tune with octaves as follows:
6th string open and 5th string, 7th fret
5th string open and 4th string, 7th fret
4th string open and 3rd string, 7th fret
3rd string open and 2nd string, 8th fret
2nd string open and 1st string, 7th fret
By now you're most likely wondering, "What about the tuning of the 6th string?" Good point. When you tune the rest of the strings from the 6th, it's called "Relative Tuning." Even though you may not be in tune with a piano, you WILL be in tune with yourself and that's fine for practicing.
If you want to be in "Concert Pitch", you will either need to tune from a tuner, another instrument or a pitch pipe. I advise that you get a pitch pipe to start with. It's fine for ear training and it's easier to fulfill than a piano!
One additional way that I tune guitars is by simply using chords. Once you know how they are expected to sound, they become very handy in tuning. Start with E major, then play a G major and tweak it a little if needed, then play the D major. All three are the open position chords at the top of the neck.
After properly tuning your guitar, if you can't get a rich vibration when playing chords then you might consider adjusting the intonation of your electric guitar, as well. You'll be amazed at how great a perfectly tuned guitar will sound! After all, there is really no other alternative!
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