Tuning Your Guitar – A Guide For Beginners & Parents

As guitar teachers are not currently able to see you in person, you will need to start having a go at getting your guitar in tune yourself, if you are not already doing so.


This is something you should learn how to do anyway, as an in-tune guitar sounds so much better than an out of tune one and will be much more inspiring to play!  Like all elements of playing guitar, it will take time to master but will become easier the more you do it 🙂


There are numerous approaches you can take.  Here are some I hope you find useful… 

1. use reference pitches

Firstly, you should know which notes your guitar strings need to be tuned to and use “reference pitches” so that you can hear how they are supposed to sound.


From the thickest (lowest sounding) string to the thinnest (highest sounding) string, the notes are:



Want a useful mnemonic to help you remember?  Try “Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears”.


This site will help you recognise the sound of an in-tune guitar.  You can also use a piano, keyboard or other instrument if you already know where to find the notes. 

2. download a free tuning app


You can download a free app for your smartphone (there are lots but we recommend Guitar Tuna):


 get Guitar Tuna for Apple/Mac products

get Guitar Tuna for PC/Android products


I would recommend using the tuning app in conjunction with the reference pitches above, so that you get to recognise how the strings should sound and ensure you don’t accidentally tune to the wrong notes (which is easily done!). 

3. buy a clip-on tuner

I would also advise buying a tuner you can clip onto the end of your guitar’s headstock, as they tend to be more accurate than the free apps.


They are pretty inexpensive and many also include a metronome – another essential bit of kit you will need if you want to become proficient on guitar.


Something like this would be perfect for a beginner guitar player.

4. watch our tuning video

Check out our teacher, Mike, showing you how to tune your guitar effectively. He is using a clip-on tuner similar to the one recommended above. 

As I said, tuning your guitar yourself can be tricky at first so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we help you get your guitar in tune 🙂