How to Play the Acoustic Guitar
Time to master tuning
You should do your own tuning
A guitar is typically tuned by the person who will play it. It is therefore extremely important to get used to tuning your instrument.
Guitar strings can be quite unstable. For instance, their pitch will decrease in hot or humid environments. Brand new strings also take some time to be broken in. A guitar that is out of tune will not be able to play chords cleanly. Therefore, once a guitarist picks up a guitar, the first thing he or she does is tune it.
If you are going to play a guitar, make a habit of always tuning it first! This is very important.
As strings grow older their pitch worsens. Replace old strings with new ones to get the instrument tuned correctly. It is recommended that you replace all six strings together. As shown in the diagram, when turning a guitar you should start from the lowest string and go up. If you tune while going down, you will not be able to accurately tune the instrument.
Basic tuning methods
This section introduces three of the most common tuning methods. Each method involves tuning each string to standard pitch (i.e. regular tuning).
Using a tuner (tuning meter)
A tuner allows you to accurately tune your instrument, even if you are not used to tuning it yet. To use a tuner, you simply look at the meter as you tune the pitch of all six open strings.
Use a tuning fork that sounds the note of A (440 Hz) or an instrument such as a piano to tune open string 5 as you use the positions on the guitar to tune the instrument. First sound the tuning fork, then tune open string 5 to the note of A. Then tune the note sounded when string 5 fret 5 is pressed and open string 4, the note sounded when string 4 fret 5 is pressed and open string 3, the note sounded when string 3 fret 4 is pressed and open string 2, the note sounded when string 2 fret 5 is pressed and open string 1, then the note sounded when string 6 fret 5 is pressed and open string 5.
In this method you use the harmonics generated when playing a string while pressing it directly above the fret. As shown in the diagram, tune the string 5 fret 7 harmonic and open string 1, the string 6 fret 7 harmonic and open string 2, the string 4 fret 5 harmonic and string 3 fret 7 harmonic, the string 5 fret 5 harmonic and string 4 fret 7 harmonic, and then the string 6 fret 5 harmonic and string 5 fret 7 harmonic.
A special tuning method
There is a special tuning method called half step down tuning, in which all six strings are tuned a semitone down from normal tuning. In this case, strings 1 through 6 are tuned in order to E♭, B♭, G♭, D♭, A♭, and E♭.
Guitar tuners normally sold in shops can only tune to E, B, G, D, A, and E, and cannot be used for half step down tuning. If you want to accurately tune your guitar this way, you should use a chromatic tuner, which allows you to tune all 12 semitones.
You can also use a capotasto for this. Attach the capotasto to one fret, tune normally, and then remove the capotasto. Although strict tuning using this method is difficult, it will allow you to tune the guitar down a half step.