Tuned my son’s guitar today for the first time

Little SevLittle Sev Posts: 191Member
Hi Guys, & ladies

I decided to tune my son’s guitar today for the first time; I know this should be quite simple but I ended up confused.

Strings 2,3,4and 5 were in tune with each other, strings 1 and 6 were slightly out of tune.

I have a Seiko ST 757 auto tuner, so I decide to tune the 6th string. Am I right in thinking that the 6th string (i.e. top string) when played open should be tuned to ‘E’?
Because when I plug the guitar lead into the input socket of the tuner, set the tuner to auto, and play the open string, the indicator tells me it is tuned at 16% high of A#.

Surely that can’t be right, I must be doing something wrong or is the tuner dodgy, I’ve ended up tuning strings 1 and 6 to the others so at least they are in tune to each other but I know this is not the way to do it.

I’m sorry to bother you with something that to most of you is such a simple task, but I seem to be missing something somewhere.

Any advice would be very welcome.

Thanks,
Keith.

Comments

  • Options
    yes the top and bottom string (1st and 6th) should both be tuned to E

    from the highest pitched string to the lowest (1-6)

    they should be tuned
    E
    B
    G
    D
    A
    E
  • Paladin2019Paladin2019 Posts: 1,607Member
    The tuner is chromatic, so will identify the *note* being played rather than the string you are plucking. Your E string is just really badly out of tune ;\) .

    [ 02 January 2003: Message edited by: Paladin2019 ]
  • Little SevLittle Sev Posts: 191Member
    The tuner is chromatic, so will identify the *note* being played rather than the string you are plucking. Your E string is just really badly out of tune

    When I play the 6th string with my finger on the 5th fret, it sounds only slightly different to the 5th string play open, yet the tuner tells me the string is A#.

    To tune to ‘E’ I have to loosen the tension by about 2 ½ / 3 turns of the tuning knob (is that the machine head) then it is miles away from the other strings.

    Keith.
  • Options
    it sounds like all the strings are waaaaaay out, if they are tuned to a# instead of e then that might be the problem, try tuning them all with the tuner and see what happens, id recommend you set the note manually on the tuner (you can do it on most tuners) thickest string to thinnest E, A, D, G, B, e

    what guitar is it your tuning and how much is it played, when was it last played, is it new, is it really old and just found in a loft etc.....

    David
  • Options
    Don't feel silly about asking questions like this. Tuning can be a complicated business at first , and we've all got to start somewhere.

    Your tuner could be fauly I suppose. Have you tried changing the batteries? Also, what may be happening is if there's some fret buzz (even a very faint one you may not be able to hear) when the low E is played open, this could be producing some harmonic which the tuner picks up. The fret buzz could be coming from some place behind the 5th fret which would explain that the fretted A on the 6th sixth string sounds similar to the open A on the 5th string.

    As you've already tried, it's always a good idea to get practise at tuning by ear. You know to do this by comparing the open note of a string to it's closest relative fretted note:

    Open E (tune by ear by comparing it to a note you know is open E. For example the first note of Enter Sandman)
    Open A = Fret 5 on E
    Open D = Fret 5 on A
    Open G = Fret 5 on D
    Open B = Fret 4 on G
    Open e = Fret 5 on B

    I tune all strings a half step down, but all the intervals are the same, so instead of using Enter Sandman for reference, I might use SRV's Pride and Joy something similar.

    Another method you may find useful when tuning is not to tune the strings in order, but to alternate. The reason I do this is if you just tune all the strings in order, you put uneven strain across the neck of the guitar and you'l also notice that if you tune low E first then all the strings in order up to high e, by the time you get to top e, the added tension of all the other tuned strings will have pulled low E out of tune and you have to start over. I do it in the following manner:

    Low E, High e (then check low E again), A, B (then check low E, high e and A again), D, G (then check low E, high e, A, B, D and G again).

    Looks complicated, but all you're essentially doing is working from the extremities inwards and checking your previously tuned strings as you go, each time you make a change. This should save you time since any changes you need to make after the initial tuning of each string should only be small and the tension will be balanced evenly over the neck at all times.

    Hope this helps. \:\)
  • Little SevLittle Sev Posts: 191Member
    The guitar is a Cort G250 bought from RG as a Christmas present, so it has only been play for a week

    It sound pretty much the same today as it did the first day it was played, but I had noticed that the 1st and 6th strings were slightly out of tune, (to the other strings that is)

    Kieth.
  • Options
    If it's any consolation the low E on my
    Cort G250 is a B****r to tune as well.
    To be fair I was getting the hang of it and my new tuner but that one string took more time than anything else, it dropped back out of tune pretty quickly too.

    I'm changing strings on mine shortly - they need it I think, so maybe that'll improve things.

    \:\)
  • RhodesRhodes Posts: 1,584Member
     Quote:
    Originally posted by Little Sev:
    The guitar is a Cort G250 bought from RG as a Christmas present, so it has only been play for a week

    It sound pretty much the same today as it did the first day it was played, but I had noticed that the 1st and 6th strings were slightly out of tune, (to the other strings that is)

    Kieth.


    I somehow doubt that the string can be that far out if it stills sounds pretty much in tune. A# is as far away from E as you can get, whether sharp or flat. I'd make sure that the tuner is doing what it should do.

    As for chordstrangler's point, I too have a Cort G-250. Mine isn't hard to tune, and it stays in tune pretty well, too. I did think I had a problem with it some time ago, but realised that I was inadvertently knocking the tuning knob / machine head) when I was putting it in to the gig bag. Since I abandoned that and put the guitar on a stand, I have had no further problems. I might be particularly stupid (don't all rush to agree, please ;\) ) but it might be worth checking that you're not doing that.
  • Paladin2019Paladin2019 Posts: 1,607Member
     Quote:
    Originally posted by Little Sev:
    When I play the 6th string with my finger on the 5th fret, it sounds only slightly different to the 5th string play open, yet the tuner tells me the string is A#.



    Wait - are you tuning the E string while your finger is on the fifth fret? If so - don't! - it's supposed to be tuned open.

    That tuner has a function where you can select which string you want to tune and will tell you just 'sharp' or 'flat' until it's in tune, no matter how far out the string is. Try that and see if it helps.

    [ 02 January 2003: Message edited by: Paladin2019 ]
  • RhodesRhodes Posts: 1,584Member
    Ah, well spotted, Paladin2019. That had been bugging me - so it seems that the low 'e' on Little Sev's son's Cort is only about a semitone sharp after all.

    I can relax now. \:\)
  • Little SevLittle Sev Posts: 191Member
    I found a ‘E’ note from another website and put the tuner to the speaker while set to auto, the tuner said the note was ‘B’, remember it said that the 6th string on the guitar was tuned to 16% above‘A#’,

    Now I know your all going to laugh (or perhaps not) but I noticed the tuner was set in the key of ‘F’, I changed the key to ‘C’, that wasn’t a decision based on my musical knowledge, just me playing around with the buttons, and guess what, now when I play the ‘E’ note the tuner says it is exactly ‘E’ at the 3rd Octave.

    So I go back to the guitar and try again, and the 6th string is only slightly out of tune.

    On the tuner you have the choice to use the key of F Bb C or Eb. Now this means nothing to me, but of course this must be important.

    Thanks everyone
    Keith

    PS if anyone needs the ‘E’ note, you can get it here http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/%7Edesmith/guitar/acoustic/info/tuning.htm
  • Options
     Quote:
    Originally posted by Little Sev:
    I found a ‘E’ note from another website and put the tuner to the speaker while set to auto, the tuner said the note was ‘B’, remember it said that the 6th string on the guitar was tuned to 16% above‘A#’,

    Now I know your all going to laugh (or perhaps not) but I noticed the tuner was set in the key of ‘F’, I changed the key to ‘C’, that wasn’t a decision based on my musical knowledge, just me playing around with the buttons, and guess what, now when I play the ‘E’ note the tuner says it is exactly ‘E’ at the 3rd Octave.

    So I go back to the guitar and try again, and the 6th string is only slightly out of tune.

    On the tuner you have the choice to use the key of F Bb C or Eb. Now this means nothing to me, but of course this must be important.

    Thanks everyone
    Keith

    PS if anyone needs the ‘E’ note, you can get it here http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/%7Edesmith/guitar/acoustic/info/tuning.htm



    It's great that you're learning all of this and sharing your experience, but if I can offer you any help at all here, I'd suggest you definitely learn to tune by ear (I only ever use a tuner for precision when recording or setting intonation).
  • Paladin2019Paladin2019 Posts: 1,607Member
    I've been playing 3 or 4 years now, and I think my tunung ear has actually gotten worse - I couldn't live without my electronic tuner!
  • Options
    i can tell you if a strings out by playing someting that uses that string but i am prety bad at getting it back to tune, i got pitch pipes for no apparent reason so are going to try and learn to tune with them and them hopefully completely on my own

    David
  • Little SevLittle Sev Posts: 191Member
    It's great that you're learning all of this and sharing your experience, but if I can offer you any help at all here, I'd suggest you definitely learn to tune by ear (I only ever use a tuner for precision when recording or setting intonation).

    I haven’t had time today, but tomorrow I will tune the 6th string using the tuner, then try to tune all the other strings by ear, then check them with the tuner to see how far away I am.

    Keith.

    PS. I’ve noticed I got 2 new stars from somewhere, thank you very much.
  • Options
    Great idea, Keith.

    Just remember though, the tuner'll make it look as if you're a lot more out than you really are. No-one but people with the most perfect pitch will get it spot on, so keep practicing. Just think. You'll probably end up somewhere in the future playing to people and there won't be a tuner to hand, so learning to tune by ear is very important.
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