How to Tune Classical Guitar

How to tune a Classical guitar

You may be experiencing difficulties in achieving the proper note when playing your guitar. One thing you may think is the problem is the style which you play. However, it is not the case because you need to know to Tune Classical Guitar.

Now you know where the solution is. You have to do a big job on the strings, which may even include replacing the existing ones. You may not have noticed that strings do not stay long before losing their quality and taste.

Related article: 11 Best Classical Guitar Strings for Beginners

There are several things we have to learn before we get into the process of tuning the guitar.

The strings

There is so much we have to learn about the strings and classical guitars. Classical guitars make use of nylon strings, which are ideal for playing classical music.  However, if you have to play any other kind of music, you can do it, but you may need to know How to Tune Classical Guitar and change the strings.

Some problems come along with the various types of strings. One common challenge that they all come with is exposure to wear and tear. Even if the string is from the best supplier and brand, it will take some short time and spoil.

Some of the factors that contribute to such quick deterioration are the weather conditions and other physical factors. You can easily have the strings getting piled with dust making the shape uneven. When playing the guitar, if you have acidic hands, you make the strings age faster.

The strings end up losing the quality hence affecting the sound production. Uneven stretching is also another thing that makes the strings begin to deliver a bad performance. It is essential to ensure that you choose the strings that will provide the best service.

Determining the quality of the strings

There are several tests you can do to tell if the string is good or bad. Firstly, you will play the lowest note and the highest note. If the guitar has 12 strings, you should play the one at the bottom and the top. You will play the string E for a six-string guitar, which happens to be the lowest and the highest note.

When playing these strings, you need to be very observant as they must produce the same harmony. The sound should be the same but under different keys. If it does not happen, then something is wrong with the strings. you therefore need to know how to tune a classical guitar.

The second method involves the level of vibrato. When you play the guitar by plucking the upper string, you should experience some orderly vibration until it stops. However, when you feel something uncomfortable with the way the sound gets projected, something isn’t okay.

At this point, you will need to make some changes to the guitar so that you boot its functionality. If the strings are new, making some adjustments is very okay. If they seem to be dysfunctional because they are old, you will need to change them.

Changing the strings

The first quick solution that you need to implement when working on your guitar is changing the strings. The process of changing the strings is simple and straightforward. Let’s see how to string a classical guitar.

  1. Remove the existing strings

You will begin by removing the strings that are already in the guitar. The process involves loosening the pegs and then pulling strings out. When doing this task, you need to ensure that you can trace which string came from which point.

  • Maintain the guitar
See also  How To Paint Guitar Pickguard

After removing the strings, you need to do some simple maintenance, such as removing the dust particles from the guitar parts. If there are any broken elements, you will also have to work on them to ensure the guitar is again in an improved state.

  • Fix the strings

At this point, you will fix the new strings. You will begin by unpacking them while observing to know which string gets to a specific part. You can use the previous ones to match and then fix them up. Make sure that each string uses the proper router to get fixed.

  • Tighten the strings

Once done fixing the strings, the next thing you will do is to tighten them. When tightening, you will need to caution to avoid damaging the strings and parts of the guitar. Once you have tightened the strings, the next activity that comes is tuning the guitar.

How to tune a classical guitar

Before you get to the actual process of tuning, you need to locate the notes of the guitar. The last string and the first string from the bottom get indicated as E, which means that the note is E. When you begin to tune, you will ensure that your tuning device can play the note E.

When you arrange the notes from the lowest sound to the highest sounds, they will be E, A, B, C, D, E. This arrangement gets maintained on the guitar strings making it simple to identify each.

Tips to tuning a classical guitar

  • The first thing you need to have is the confidence that you will get it right. You do not have a reason to get worried about adjusting the knobs.
  • Play the note before identifying the one that is in tune. By doing so, it becomes easier to note the various strings and the accurate notes. The purpose of tuning, in this case, is to confirm if the note is accurate.
  • Tune the notes and the pitch from below. As you manage the tunes, ensure that you do the tuning from the lower notes to the higher notes and not from higher to lower. When you do so, you make the efficiency of the tuning process excellent.

Tuning the guitar

Various ways help you to tune the guitar. We will highlight the most practical methods that you can comfortably use. We will show you how to tune a classical guitar.

Tuning using the ear

This method means that you will begin to tune by listening instead of using a device for the same. When using this method, you will hear the sound note from an external device then begin to adjust the guitar until the sounds math.

It means that you should have mastered the notes properly to get to the point of determining by the ear. This is how the process works.

  1. On the sixth string, you will play the 5th fret and pay attention to get the sound it will produce.
  2. After that, you will play and listen to the fifth string.
  3. Begin to tune the fifth string, match the pitch between the 5th fret and the 6th string until you feel they match. This can take several times of play.
  4. Continue with the tuning process by ascending upwards. The fifth fret and the fourth string must also match for them to be in tune.
  5. Repeat the same process until you get to the first string. When doing the second string, you will make use of the 5th fret until they match.
See also  How to wash guitar pick

How do you know that the strings are in tune

If you want to know that the string is out of tune, you will listen to the warbling sound. What brings about the warble is the vibration of the strings that are in a different tune. Every time you get closer to the correct tune, the warble begins to lower until you get a steady tune. So when doing the tuning, you will observe the warble sounds.

The disadvantage of this method is that you will end up getting harmonics that are incorrect. The ability to listen and master the correct notes depends on the person listening, hence becoming less effective.  A different method for this case is therefore ideal.

Tuning the classical guitar using harmonics

Harmonics is another excellent method that can make the process of tuning convenient and swift. You will love using harmonics because you will release the left hand and do the tuning while the notes are still ringing

This method employs the use of various tools that have a pitch. You can therefore choose to use a piano r a tuning fork to achieve the mission. Before you get to tuning, the first thing you will do is to identify note E’s location in all the harmonics. The method works as follows.

  1. Play the lowest note on the fret with the harmonics lower E. if it is a piano, you will go for the key that is at the lowest and press the note E.
  2. On the harmonic, you will play the 7th fret and then try to differentiate the two. If there is no difference, then your tuning process is very successful. The moment they fail to match, you will have to make several adjustments until you get the proper harmony.
  3. This stage is slightly different as you will tune the fifth string while paying attention. You will tune until the sound it produces matches the one on string number 6.
  4. Repeat the process fr all the remaining strings observing the sequence of the 4th to 3rd and 5th. When you have all the strings producing similar and clear notes, you will have achieved the objective.
  5. For the second string, you will use the harmonic of the 7th fret.  The first string will also need some tuning from the 7th fret and observing the fifth string. The notes must create harmony for you to say that you have achieved the mission.

The disadvantage of using this method is that there are high chances that the harmony will not be accurate. However, the challenge gets encountered by the first and second string tuning that gets done using the 7th string.

You may also assume that the guitar’s pitch is accurate, which may not be the case. It poses a challenge because there is no way the harmony can be accurate when the pitch is inaccurate. When using nylon strings, this becomes a common challenge.

Tuning using a tuning fork

The tuning fork works the way the harmonics do. Its major difference is that it has a vibration rate of 440 hertz/ second. You will find the A pitch at which the vibration gets created. To do the tuning, you will match the 4th string and the 7th fret, then pair with the note D. Once they match, you will have achieved the tuning objective. You will employ the same method to get the other notes conveniently.

See also  How to Paint a Guitar Headstock

When checking for the intonation, you will play the 12th fret and then hit the actual note. If there is any difference, then the intonation is inaccurate. In case you find one string is off and the rest are okay, you may need to make some changes to the strings.

Tuning using a reference note

Using the reference note is the most effective method. You will pick the note to use from an app of the piano and then assume all the notes from this one. The most commonly used note is E, and this is how the process works.

  1. Start by tuning the reference note such as D or E. If you have chosen E, you will start by playing the note E and the 2nd fret of string 4.
  2. Then play the lowest string with note E and listen. These notes are usually in octave and will produce the same sound.
  3. Play the note on the second fret of string four and match it with the one that is in string B on the 5th fret. It is a slightly higher note, but when they match, you are on track.
  4. When the fifth and third strings are open, you can choose to tune using harmonics adjacent to the fifth fret.

Tuning the classical guitar is a good thing, especially if you have noted the basics. Many methods work, but the ones we have highlighted are quick and reliable. Below is a short YouTube Video on how to tune a classical guitar.


How do you tune a classical guitar?

A guitar’s tuning fork usually comes pre-tuned to either 440Hz or E 329.6 Hz, the equivalent of first string fifth fret; second string tenth fret; fourth seventh harmonic and fifth five fret harmonics respectively for A tone. The other option is B=266Hz (the standard) which provides accessaments like drones ( Drone ).

How do I know if my guitar is tuned?

With an electric tuner, you don’t need to worry about winding strings for other notes. All it takes is turning on the device and strumming any string–it’ll tell if your guitar has lost its tune within seconds.

What key is a classical guitar tuned to?

There are six strings on a guitar, and they can be thought about in descending or ascending order. The thickest string is called the 6th-sized” low E.” In standard tuning this means it has an extra tension which causes it to sound lower than other notes such as G# (guitar #4) or A2( sixth course).

Is it okay to use a pick on nylon strings?

One of the most notable differences between nylon string and steel-string guitars is that players of the former need not use a pick, while those who play with picks have more projection when playing other instruments.


We have gone through multiple methods of tuning the classical guitar. You may choose to master all the techniques or pick the one that you will comfortably work with. Some daily practice with the assistance of an app or any other device will help you quickly achieve the objective.

You no longer need to look for technicians to work on your classical guitar. With a simple guide like the one we have provided, you can now do your tasks without having o hassle much.