How To Tune A Guitar In 5 Minutes Or Less: Guitar For Beginners

Hey there! Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

How To Tune A Guitar In 5 Minutes Or Less: Guitar For Beginners
Auto Draft


Tuning a guitar may sound complicated, especially if you are new to the hobby. However, it generally does not take more than several minutes. How to tune a guitar quickly?

To tune a guitar quickly:

  1. Prepare the tools
  2. Decide on the tuning
  3. Adjust the tuning of strings by twisting the tuning peg on the guitar headstock. 
  4. Check tuning using a tuner
  5. Test play to verify overall accuracy

In this post, we look at how you can quickly tune your acoustic guitar strings, possibly in under 5 minutes. We also share some tips you can use to tune your guitar so you don’t look too much like a greenhorn rookie.

Want to see the latest guitar accessories that are popular right now? Just click here!

Step 1: Get The Tools Ready

Before you start tuning, make sure you have the tools ready. Fortunately, you do not need a full arsenal of tools to get the job done. Here are some essential tools you need to tune your guitar and how to use them effectively.

Electronic tuner: This device is simple to use: just clip it onto your guitar’s headstock, pluck the string, and watch the tuner display the note you’re playing.

It shows if the note is sharp or flat, guiding you to adjust the tuning key until you hit the correct note. This method is especially useful if you’re learning to play different chords and need precise tuning.

Tuning Fork: An old-school but effective tool. Strike it and hold it close to your guitar’s body; it emits a pure tone. 

You can then tune your low E string to match the sound of the tuning fork. Repeat the same process with the other strings.

Tuning Phone App: Many apps are as effective as a physical tuner. They usually work with the built-in microphone in your digital devices to pick up the sound of each string. 

You just pluck the string, and the app will indicate whether to tighten or loosen it. Adjust until you get it right.

Spare Strings: Optional, but sometimes, you may discover some of your strings having defects – they may have deteriorated, rusted, or simply need replacements. Having some fresh strings with you ensures you can replace strings quickly.

Step 2: Decide Your Tuning

Now that you have your tools ready, the next thing to do is to choose what tuning you want for your guitar. While standard tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E) is a staple, other popular tunings exist.

They offer unique sound flavors for both beginners and experienced guitarists. You may consider these tunings too:

Drop D tuning

To achieve this, tune other strings as normal EADGBE, but lower your low E string one step to D. This tuning allows for deeper, richer sounds and is perfect for playing heavier, more rhythmic music.

It’s popular in rock and metal but can also add a unique twist to folk songs.

Drop D tuning also simplifies playing power chords, as you can strum the lowest three strings without fretting. As a result, it became popular with punk rock.

Open G Tuning

Open G tuning, another favorite, involves tuning your guitar to D-G-D-G-B-D. It’s a staple for blues and country guitarists. This tuning makes playing major chords easy – strum all the strings open for a G major chord.

Slide guitarists particularly love this tuning for its harmonic richness. The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards is a notable enthusiast, using it to craft many of the band’s iconic riffs.


DADGAD is often associated with folk and Celtic music. It’s tuned from low to high using the D-A-D-G-A-D configuration.

This tuning is ideal for fingerstyle guitarists due to its harmonic versatility. It allows for simple and complex chord structures and is great for experimenting with new sounds.

When choosing a tuning, consider the music genre you’re playing – some music genres use certain tunings more.

If you’re into rock or metal, Drop D might be your go-to. For blues, country, or slide guitar, Open G is ideal. If you’re into folk or want to experiment with fingerpicking, try DADGAD. 

Step 3: Tune The Strings

Now that you have decided on the tuning, the next step would be to actually tune the strings. The steps below assume you are tuning to the standard EADGBE tuning.

Start with the low E string (the thickest string). Turn on your tuner and pluck the string. Watch the tuner – it will show if the note is too high (sharp) or too low (flat).

Adjust by turning the tuning key until the tuner indicates that your string is perfectly in tune. Tighten the tuning key to raise the pitch, and loosen the key to lower the pitch.

In most tuners, the needle should point toward the middle or green range on your tuner.

Next, move to the A string. The process is the same: pluck the string, check the pitch, and adjust the tuning key accordingly. It’s essential to be gentle. Over-tightening can snap the string while under-tightening will lead to a flat sound.

Continue this process with the rest of the strings. These are the D, G, B, and high E strings. Remember, you’re tuning each string one at a time. 

For a more accurate tune, especially with new strings, pluck the string a few times and allow the tuner to read the pitch. New strings may require a few tweaks as they tend to stretch and go out of tune quickly.

If you’re stretching new strings, do it gently. Pull the string away from the fretboard, then return. This helps the strings settle in and keeps your guitar in tune for longer.

Another point is that if you notice strings showing many issues or physical defects, consider replacing them with new strings. At least you will spare yourself the problems of constantly returning your strings or breakage.

Step 4: Check & Test Play

Once you finish tuning, it’s crucial to check and test-play it. This ensures that your guitar doesn’t just sound in tune when you pluck each string individually but also when playing them together, such as in chords and melodies.

Play Simple Chords

After tuning each string, the first thing you should do is play a few chords. Start with some basic chords like G, C, and D. These chords involve strings across the guitar, which are great for checking the overall harmony. 

If something sounds off, it might be because the strings went slightly out of tune while you were tuning the others, which is common, especially with new strings.

Consider stretching the strings slightly in this case, and then tune every string again.

Play Big Chords That Uses All Strings

Next, play a chord with all six strings, like an E major or A minor. This will let you hear how the strings sound together. You might find that some adjustments are needed.

Sometimes, a string might be slightly sharp or flat. This may be more noticeable when playing a chord than when plucking the string individually. This is also more likely if your strings are not the same age – say, if you replaced only a few new strings while leaving some untouched.

Play Scales

Another great way to test your tuning is to play scales like the pentatonic scale. Listen carefully and identify if there’s anything off, and tune again if needed.

This checks the tuning across the fretboard and helps your fingers get a good stretch. Which is beneficial for both the strings and your playing.

Check For Intonation

Also, consider checking the intonation of your guitar. Play a note at the 12th fret (the harmonic), then play the 12th fret pressed down.

These should sound the same. If they don’t, your guitar might need more than just tuning. Consider a more serious adjustment work, such as on the truss rod.

Remember, tuning a guitar is not just about getting each string to the correct pitch. It’s about ensuring that every note, on every fret, sounds harmonious.

So take your time, play various chords and notes to verify the tuning, and tune again if needed. 

With practice, your ears will become more attuned to even the slightest pitch discrepancies, making you a more precise and skilled guitarist. Don’t be surprised if you can tune by ear without any tuners later!

Similar Posts

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments