Tuning a guitar without a tuner.

Last night I decided to take up the guitar again. I always tuned it by ear, but can’t remember the sequence of the frets. Going low to high I think it’s the 4th fret for all but one string. Problem is I can’t remember if it’s a) 4th fret to begin with and b) shat fret and what string is different.

Any help?



Fifth fret except on the G - fourth there.

Ah, that sounds so much better. Thanks don’t ask!

What you may have gotten confused in your memory is that this results in the guitar being tuned by fourths - EADGBE. The standard tuning for some other stringed instruments is fifths, and the strings match on the seventh fret - GDAE for a common mandolin tuning, for instance.

Good luck with that, Duffer. I love to hear of people taking up the guitar whether for the first time or after a hiatus. I started playing again around 18 months ago, after eight years or so of hardly ever touching it, and I’m playing better than ever. My reading’s better too.

If it helps at all, you can remember to use the fifth fret to tune the next string to when you realize you’d have to move your hand to play the fifth fret after using your fingers to get to the fourth. That way you can either move your hand or go to the next open string for the same note.

I’ve read several versions of why the G to B tuning is from the fourth fret, instead of the fifth as on all other strings, but I can’t remember the logic well enough to paraphrase it. That may be a decent hijack topic for this thread – or another.

And then, of course, you have a passel of alternate tunings to mess up your head with. But EADGBE is “standard.”

Classical guitar often uses the “drop D”, where you tune the top string a full tone lower, so you have DADGBE, and in some older music a tuning based on the lute is used, where you tune the third string a half-tone down to F# instead of G.