This is the Wikiversity Guitar Lessons unit - part of the Basic Blues & Rock project.

Tuning your guitar edit

This section has a companion file, that demonstrates the tuning technique described below.

EADGBE tuning is the "standard" tuning for your basic six-string guitar. We shall start by tuning our A string to A440. (A is the second-thickest string on your guitar.) If you look at the whole string and divide in it half, you will find what is called a harmonic. To play this harmonic, lay your finger lightly on the string at its midpoint (12th fret) and pluck. You can use a pick if you like. Whatever suits you best. You will need a reference or tuning note set to 440 Hz. (440 cycles per second). The harmonic at the midpoint of your A string should vibrate at exactly 220 Hertz (close enough for boogie). If you hear an irritating "wobble", you are either flat (too low) or sharp (too high). Turn the tuning key or peg slowly until the wobble smooths out. If you don't hear a wobble, turn the key to detune the string enough to hear it and pull it back up till its gone. If you still can't hear this phenomenon, you may be tone-deaf and should probably buy an electronic tuner.

You can use for a reference. Alternatively, Audacity generates a nice tone at any frequency you want... Just use Generate > Tone and set it to 440. Or you can buy a tuning fork at your local music store.

Harmonics and string length division edit

Guitar harmonics are found at even divisions of the string length. The strongest are found on the twelfth fret usually marked by two dots either on the fretboard itself, the edge of the neck facing you, or both. This is the midpoint of the string. Each half of the string supports the other half in sustaining the harmonic tone. This is called the "first overtone" of your fundemental A note, which when played open (no touching of the string) emits a frequency of 110 Hz.. Dividing the string in half doubles the frequency to 220. Dividing the string into quarters produces 440 Hertz and can be found at the fifth fret and again up near the sound hole (or near the pickups on an electric) toward the bridge. This is the "second overtone" and is, like the first one an even harmonic.

It so happens that dividing the A string into three equal parts at the seventh fret produces the same overtone that dividing the E string into four parts does. Hence plucking the fifth fret on the E string allows you to pull it into tune with the seventh fret on the A string you are using as a reference. This is the basis for harmonic tuning.

Some basic patterns edit

The fifth, seventh and twelfth frets are important positions on the neck of your guitar. Not only are they important in tuning your guitar with itself, they are also useful for learning scales and chords. To continue tuning the guitar, the same pattern we used to tune the E and A strings can be used to tune the D string to the A, then the G string to the D. Just remember that an overtone (or harmonic) produced by lightly touching the fifth fret on one string matches the harmonic produced by lightly touching the seventh fret on the next string up. ("up" in our case refers to pitch; not a physical direction)

That pattern works until you get to the B string (the second thinnest string). For this string you drop back down to the seventh fret of the (low) E string and play the B string open. It should be the same tone. Now hit the harmonic at the seventh fret of the A string (our reference string) and play the high E string open. Again these two tones should match. Now you can try the fifth/seventh pattern to check that the B and high E are still together (the high E is the thinnest string - low E is the thickest). The basic patterns and harmonic overtones you are using to tune your guitar will help you when learning to play it... And nobody will want to play with you if you are out of tune!

Chord Patterns edit

guitar scheme

Chord patterns can be visualized by guitar scheme, which are either tabs or schemes.

Following picture has example of am - chord tabulature on the third row from the top.

Following picture has example of   - chord scheme on the top.

Two frets up on the next string edit

choosing your 1st guitar