Different eras and cultures have had different tuning standards but today it’s pretty safe to say that ‘standard guitar tuning’ means the same thing for most of the people who play the guitar. You can read a Wikipedia article about standard tuning if you like but here is the information you’ll need the most when tuning your guitar for the first few times:
- 1st string (the thinnest) = E4 (roughly 330 Hz on the tuner)
- 2nd string = B3 (roughly 247 Hz)
- 3rd string = G3 (exactly 196.00 Hz)
- 4th string = D3 (roughly 147 Hz)
- 5th string = A2 (exactly 110.00 Hz)
- 6th string = E2 (roughly 82.5 Hz)
So it turns out that guitar is tuned into fourths (meaning the musical interval between neighbor strings is a pure fourth). For instance, the 6th string is E and when we count four steps up – E, F, G, A then we come to A which is the correct pitch for the 5th string. Another four steps takes us to D (the 4th string) and another four steps to G (3rd string). Now we have an exception: 2nd string is B and it is only 3 steps higher of its lower neighbor. Then again it continues with four steps up and we arrive at the very first string which happens to be E again. So we have come a full circle of fourths with an exception between the 3rd and 2nd strings.
Next time you use our online guitar tuner app, take a good look at the letters that it displays. It’s not uncommon that a guitar is out of tune more than a half step and the tuner starts displaying another letter. If you don’t notice it and tune it to green then you end up with wrong tuning.