How To Tune An Electric Guitar

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  October 1, 2020

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Important Note: The names of the guitar strings
The guitar strings (from thick to thin, or from low to high) are called: E, A, D, g, h, e.

Which string is tuned first is not important, but it is usual to start with the low E string and “work your way up” to the high E string.

Electric Guitar Tuning


Especially for electric guitars, a tuner is recommended because it can often analyze the very quiet tones of the guitar (without amplifier) more precisely and faster than the human ear.

With the help of the guitar cable, which you also use to connect the electric guitar to your amplifier, the guitar is connected to the tuner.

The string should be struck once or several times and then wait for the tuner to respond.

The tuner shows which tone it has recognized and usually also which guitar string it assigns this tone to (even if the string is detuned, the tuner determines the most probable string to which the tone belongs).

The display of this result depends on the tuner. Especially popular, however, is the display with the help of an indicator needle.

If the needle is in the middle of the display, the string is tuned correctly, if the needle is on the left, the string is tuned too low. If the needle is on the right, the string is tuned too high.

If the string is too low, the string is tightened more (with the help of the screw for the string in question, which is usually turned to the left) and the tone is increased.

If the string is too high, the tension is loosened (the screw is turned to the right) and the tone is lowered. Repeat this procedure until the indicator needle is in the middle when the string is struck.

Also read: tiny 15 watt amps that deliver great punch


Even without a tuner, an electric guitar can be tuned correctly.

For beginners, this method is rather inappropriate because the tuning by ear with the help of a reference tone (e.g. from the piano or other instruments) requires some practice and is rather used by advanced and experienced musicians.

But even without a tuner, you have many other possibilities as a beginner.

Also read: these are the 14 best guitars to get you started

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.

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