I want to learn a song and tabs on the internet say that I need to tune my guitar 1/4 step down.  How do I go about doing that on an electric tuner accurately?  Does it have something to do with the Hz thing?


I've been doing this by instinct for years without giving it much thought so I'm glad you asked about this.  First of all recording and playback machines aren't always 100% accurate so if you're listening to a recording and it sounds a little flat, it may be intentional and it may not.  Also the person who wrote the tablature may have said tune down 1/4 step simply because his cassette player or turntable without a strobe light sounded that way.  In most cases if I wanted to play along with a recording and didn't want to sound sour, I would just tweak my tuning up or down slightly to fit.  When I played the song separate from the recording, it didn't matter much anymore, so I just played tuned to standard pitch.

There are cases though where the 1/4, 1/2, or full pitch lower is intentional...

If you're tuning down one full pitch, then you would just tune the strings lower until your tuner reads
D  G  C  F  A  D  low to high.

Tuning down 1/2 pitch would be
Eb  Ab  Db  Gb  Bb  Eb  low to high.

The tricky part is the 1/4 step.  Try tuning your guitar 1/2 step down to Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb low to high on the tuner as mentioned above, then sharpen each string slightly.   On a chromatic tuner try sharpening each string by about +40Hz on the scale.  Again, this is not exact.  Listening to the recording will be the only way to really get in tune.

Bob, Gman ( o )==#

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