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Lesson 3 : Stringing & Tuning

The Names of the Strings

The six strings of a guitar are numbered from first to sixth
starting on the thinnest string and counting up to the thickest
string. The strings also have letter names that correspond
to each string. Memorize the names of your strings.

Proper Right Hand Technique

Hold the pick between your thumb and
first finger. The thumb and pick
should form a 90 degree angle. The
pick should be sticking out from
underneath the thumb a 1/4 to 1/2 of
an inch.

Bracing your hand gives your hand the
needed stability to accurately switch
between strings. Although there are
many different ways to brace, placing
your pinky on the soundboard right
below the first string is the most common
way. You don't need to press hard.

Proper Left Hand Technique

Hold your thumb on the back of
the fingerboard on the upper side
of the neck. Be careful not to put
your thumb on top of the neck.
Your wrist should be low with
some air space between your
palm and the neck of the guitar.

Your four fingers should be evenly
spaced. Notice how the middle
two fingers are coming straight
onto the fretboard. Your first and
fourth fingers are curved slightly
toward the frets.

Tuning the Guitar

Your guitar will need to be tuned before playing. Tuning involves tightening or loosening the strings to raise or lower the pitch
to match a constant pitch. There are three main ways to tune your guitar. You can tune your guitar by using an electronic
tuner, or you can tune by “ear” using the other strings of the guitar, or you can tune to a keyboard.
Tuning with an Electric Tuner
Many electric tuners come with a built in microphone for use with an acoustic guitar.
If you are using an electric guitar you can plug your instrument cable directly
into the tuner. According to the directions of your specific tuner, it will display
whether you need to tighten or loosen the string in order to be in tune. Electric
tuners are an easy to use, fast, and accurate way to tune your guitar.
Tuning by Ear
You can also tune your guitar by listening carefully to the other strings and tuning each string to the others. Here is the process.
· Put your finger on the fifth fret of the sixth string. Now, play the sixth string and the open fifth string. Listen to the
two pitches. If the open fifth string sounds lower than the sixth string then tighten the fifth string tuning key until
the two notes match. If the open fifth string sounds higher than the first note then loosen the fifth string tuning key.
You always adjust the tuning keys of the open string, not the string that you are fretting.
· Next, play the fifth fret on the fifth string and the open fourth string underneath it. Listen to the two pitches carefully
and adjust the open fourth string accordingly.
· Play the fourth string at the fifth fret. Listen and tune the open third string to it.
· To tune the second string, play the third string at the fourth fret and tune the open second string to it. This is the
only string that does not use the fifth fret as the reference.
· Lastly, play the second string fingered back at the fifth fret and tune the open first string to it.