How To Tune Your Spanish Guitar
Learning how to tune your Spanish guitar is of vital importance simply because even the greatest player in the world is going to sound bad if he or she is playing a badly tuned Spanish guitar! Often students are surprised to find that tuning accurately is harder than they expected, it's actually quite a delicate task and just as learning chords or fingerstyle requires time and practice, so too does tuning a musical instrument.
You will find this online tuner very helpful. Just click on the string you wish to tune and adjust your guitar string until it matches the tone you are hearing...
Perhaps the easiest and most direct route is to purchase a digital tuner from a guitar store. They range in prices but a decent one will cost around $30. As it's an investment you will be constantly using I think it's worth it. On a guitar tuner you'll get a readout telling you if the string is sharp (too high) or flat (too low) and this allows you to tighten or loosen the string accordingly until you get a green light telling you that the string is now at its correct pitch.
One thing you must know in order to tune successfully are the names of each string, this is so you can correctly match up the string you are trying to tune with the meter on your tuner. We call the thickest string on your guitar the 6th string and it goes down 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd until you reach the thinnest string which is the 1st. Each string is tuned to a specific note…
6th String or Low E is tuned to the note of E
5th string = A
4th string = D
3rd string = G
2nd string = B
1st string or High E = E
You can remember the names of your strings easily by remembering this key "Elephants and donkeys grow big ears".
E - Elephants
A - And
D - Donkeys
G - Grow
B - Big
E - Ears
Another popular one is…
E - Eddie
A - Ate
D - Dynamite
B - Bye
E - Eddie
Once you know the names of your strings you'll be able to correctly match them up with the data from your tuner and ensure that you are tuning the correct string to the correct note.
When you first try to tune a Spanish guitar, especially one which is new, you'll find that you will have to repeat the tuning process frequently. This is because the nylon strings are new and will stretch for around a month before finally settling down. Once they settle you won't have to tune your guitar so often and things will become more stable. The first time you tune a Spanish guitar you'll have to continuously tune the strings up and down for about 10 to 15 minutes before it will become stable, even then, after a few minutes playing you'll find that some strings will have already gone back out of tune again. This is completely normal and all due to the fact that the strings are new and still stretching out.
When tuning your guitar try to find a quiet place where you'll be able to concentrate and hear each note clearly. Learning to tune your guitar well is a kind of art which you'll become much better at with time and practice. Eventually your ears will become quite sensitive to how the strings should sound and you'll use your tuner only a rough guide, from there your ears will take over to make the final small adjustments. This process can take a few years to develop but it will come, trust me.
If you are going to put in time, practice and effort into learning Spanish guitar then you owe it to yourself to have your guitar well tuned. That way your guitar will respond to you with the best sound it can from whatever you are doing and you'll be getting your just rewards. Don't sell yourself short through playing a badly tuned guitar!
For more guidance on how to tune your Spanish guitar please see the video demonstrations.