This is a guitar tuner (Electronic)
This is a guitar tuner (Machine Head)
This is a guitar tuner. (Hand)
All three of these things work together to tune a guitar to proper pitch.
The standard guitar tuning is E A D G B E from lowest to highest (fattest string to skinniest string).
The electronic guitar tuner senses what pitch a given string is at and shows the pitch on a window/screen.
The guitar ‘tuners’ (machine heads) are the things you twist to change the pitch of a given string.
The person doing the twisting (their hand) is also a guitar tuner because they manipulate the string watching the electronic tuners screen and twists the guitar tuner to get to the pitch she or he wants.
This is obviously a play on words as most folks already know this stuff.
But there are a few more things that are good to know if you want to get your guitar in tune and keep it there.
Electronic tuners are the de facto tuning aid for most guitarist.
They can be cheap or expensive, big, small, some are a pedal and have a jack to plug a guitar into, some have a microphone or some can be clamped to the guitar, usually at the head stock.
Pick what ever works best for you.
This one is a Fishman tuner that clamps onto the guitar headstock.
It is red / orange when the string is out of tune and the little lines next to the string letter tell you if you are sharp or flat.
It is green when the string is in tune.
Machine heads are the tuning keys on the head stock of the guitar. These are what you turn to actually change the pitch of the guitar string.
You need good quality machine heads so you can tune your guitar swiftly and accurately. Many who buy what most folks would say is an inferior guitar are simply buying a guitar with cheap machine heads.
I have used many different styles of machine heads. I have on one of my builds the Grover locking machine heads. I like them. This particular model achieves the locking function without using the screw in retainer at the underside of the tuner. I also have on another guitar a set of locking tuners that uses the retainer screw in locking mechanisms.
Bad machine heads don’t twist in a smooth manner and they don’t hold the string solid after the machine has been twisted. Any give by the tuner and your guitar will go out of tune.
You also need to make sure the strings are traveling over the bridge and through the nut in a smooth manner. Any binding will cause difficulty in tuning your guitar.
Tuning a guitar is the very first and most important thing for achieving a good guitar recording.
Next time we’ll look at intonation and tremolo bridges.