What’s that horrific sound?! Must need a tune..

I realized that while attempting to learn the guitar chords off the internet, my guitar, no matter how gently, aggressively, precisely, or even randomly strum, my guitar sounded nothing like the videos from JustinGuitar on YouTube, Check out his talent here! My guitar, rather than sounding like a beautiful musical instrument, resemebled more fo a screeching cat – can you imagine? Ouch. I will save you from an audio recording of my guitar playing prior to tuning to save your ears.

So what better way to learn how to tune my guitar than YouTube? I went to a few different video sources but stumbled upon this one that broke down the steps for me. I am a list person and enjoy knowing there are steps a person needs to take in order to accomplish a task they have set out in front of them. Much like this learning project journey, I realized that there are more steps that need to be taken and explored prior to even beginning to learn Johnny Cash “I Walk the Line”.

Being a true beginner when it comes to guitar, I am clueless when it comes to what the strings are called, how to properly hold my hand, how to strum the chords without a pick, and how to know that what I am playing is similar to what it is meant to sound like. This video, though helpful, had me crossing off tip #1 as I was unable to purchase a tuner.. I needed and wanted to learn how to do it without the extra tool.

I appreciated that Nail Guitar Skills talks about the differences and similarities between tuning an electric vs. an acoustive guitar and shared when the right time is to tune a string after strumming. Without that tip, my guitar would still be a music disaster.

Tuning Tips Video:


After playing around and attempting to tune my guitar, I found myself lost and getting frustrated with the videos I had found. I was never able to fully tell if my guitar was properly tuned – my ear is not properly equipped to know what sounds right versus what needs another turn to the left or the right.

I found myself needing human interaction to help take my learning to the next level and to receieve affirmation that I was on the right track with properly tuning my electric guitar. I texted my friend who then responded with his own list of to do’s when tuning a guitar, it always amazes me how kind and helpful people can be! I asked him at the beginning of my learning journey if it would be ok with him if I shared the help he provided me on my blog, of course he was just happy I wanted to learn the guitar so he agreed!

Thankful for helpful friends:

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After attempting my friends version of tuning my guitar I felt I had a good handle on things, until we facetimed and I realized I was completely wrong and my guitar still was not ready to be played. Ugh. (I never imagined I would struggle this much with learning an instrument. It reminded me of the frustration I often hear from peers and students who have difficulty writing, so I am appreciative I am experiencing this frustration, even if it is in a different area.) I finally had a set of ears, though not mine, to help me tune my guitar and train my ears to be able to do it alone. Reinforcing that I am a better collaborative learner when it comes to unchartered territory.

I learned that using the 5th fret works to tune every string except for string 2, where you have to use the 4th fret to reach the desired sound, I should wait until the chord has levelled out before attempting to tune, and that if I am ever unsure of the tune of my guitar, to always take 5 minutes before playing to fiddle with the knobs. This was a very important step on my learning journey, one that challenged me but allowed me to become more intouch with my musical ear and understanding of my guitar and how it works.

Though I am still learning and trying to train my ear, I have made some progress and can tune my guitar, enough, to continue my learning journey with happy ears and a happy household. Well, we will see!

My tuning attempt:

Finally uploaded my videos to Youtube – Enjoy! (Updated on June 27th) 

Sorry for the dog barking in the background – thank you for listening!


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