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Tuning your guitar
Before playing your guitar, you should know a little about why you tune it.
To play your guitar it needs to be in tune. This means that the six strings each need to have a certain note so that when playing a note it sounds clean. Each string is tuned by turning the machine heads at the top of the guitar (headstock).
The standard way of tuning guitar, which is the one most songs are written in, is EADGBE. Each letter represents the tone which the string should be tuned to. The topmost string (the thickest one) should be tuned to E. The second to the top should be tuned to A. The third to the top should be tuned to D and so on.
A trick for remembering each note of the strings is to remember this phrase Eat All Day Get Big Easy. If you remember this you won't forget the order of the notes.
For tuning the guitar there are different aids which can be of great help. Many people use a digital tuner which has en LED display which shows you how much you should turn the machine heads to get the desired note.
These can be bought in all music stores and do not necessarily cost a lot. You can also get tuner pedals and even apps for your smartphone which can help you.
3. Learn to change strings
Should you be so unlucky to have broken a string here is a guide to how you change your guitar strings. Don't worry if this happens occasionally. However if it happens often, there may be a problem with your guitars set-up or even your technique!
4. Maintenance and setting up your bass
The neck of the bass should curve ever so slightly away from you when holding it in the playing position. It may look straight even though it is correctly set up.
This can be adjusted with the truss rod which is a long metal rod positioned inside the neck which can be tightened or loosened in order to relieve tension on the neck.
If the neck is too straight the strings will buzz on the frets and the truss rod should therefore be tightened. Seek help from a professional if you do not have any experience in adjusting the neck on your bass. If you tighten or loosen the truss rod too much, it can break the neck.
The distance between the fretboard and the strings and therefore the amount of pressure required to make a clean sound is described as the guitars 'action'. Some players prefer a high action because of the sound it gives the instrument. For beginners a lower action is recommended. This can be done by adjusting the height of the strings on the bridge.
To change the string height there are screws which can be adjusted. When the strings are low but do not buzz against the fret, the set-up is correct.
The scale is the length from the saddle to the bridge, which can also be adjusted. If the scale is wrongly adjusted, the fretboard will not be in tune. On the back of the saddle there are two screws. You can adjust these forward and backward. This increases or decreases the length of the strings.
If you have a tuner you can tune each string normally and then the same note an octave higher (on the twelfth fret) should be in tune as well. If the scale is incorrect the note on the twelfth fret will not be in tune.
To ensure the strings don't buzz against the fretboard, new basses from the factory are often not finely adjusted. Therefore, it is also important to be aware of set-up when buying a new bass.
5. Playing a song
Are you wishing to play a song? Keep on reading! Songs can have many different chord progressions and while there are some chords that do not sound very well together, there are no strict rules as to which ones you can or can not play together.
Try having a go at playing some of the chord shown earlier in different orders. This might be hard at first but you will get the hang of it.
An easy song to start off with is 'Row row row your boat'. Try playing the D chord all the way through. TTry it out!
If you feel like learning more songs on the guitar, further posts featuring 'How To' guides on playing famous songs will be coming soon. Check out the MusicTutors blog for more details!
This section about our guide to new guitar students is moved to our page for guitar lessons.
7. Get guitar or Bass lessons
If you wish to receive music lessons with one of our experienced and educated music teachers, MusicTutors is proud to offer tuition with a fantastic team of professional music tutors. Fully-vetted and qualified, our music tutors will be able to save you hours of time by offering great advice on technique.
One of the most powerful learning tools is the ability to ask questions. Our tutors give you this power perhaps even in your own home! Finally, You can see some of our music teachers from around the country here:
Guitar lessons in London
Firstly, here's a list of Guitar Tutors in London
Guitar lessons in Manchester
Secondly, here's a list of Guitar Tutors in Manchester
Guitar lessons in Leeds
Thirdly, here's a list of Guitar Tutors in Leeds
Guitar Tutors in Bristol
Lastly, here's a list of Guitar Tutors in Bristol
Bass lessons in London
Firstly, here's a list of bass Tutors in London
bass lessons in Manchester
Secondly, here's a list of bass Tutors in Manchester
bass lessons in Leeds
Thirdly, here's a list of bass Tutors in Leeds
bass Tutors in Bristol
Lastly, here's a list of bass Tutors in Bristol