Have you ever listened to a detuned guitar? It does not sound very pleasing after all. All acoustic guitars carry the tendency to lose their tuning slightly over the course of a few hours. Over a couple of days, they end up completely detuned. This is primarily because the strings of the guitar are constantly in stress and are hence pulling against the tuning pegs. This pull causes the tuning pegs to slowly rotate and to slightly loosen the strings.
So the first thing to do whenever you pick up your guitar to play is to tune it. While tuning with the help of a digital tuner is extremely easy, being able to tune with an ear could actually be very handy in cases where a digital tuner is not available. However, this is a skill that has to be learned and practiced.
The exercises mentioned below will help you in train your ear to recognize the exact differences in pitch, hence allowing you to tune your instrument by ear. Moreover, these practical exercises are designed to train the ear in hearing small changes in pitch in both the directions.
Things that you will need:
A digital tuner for ear training.
- Tuning the note lower and bringing it back
- In order to develop a good sense of pitch, you must begin tuning your guitar with a tuner so as to have a good reference to compare with.
- Hit the low E note, and note the physical location of Low E in the physical tuner of the guitar.
- Keep on hitting the note, and in doing so, carefully listen to the pitch.
- While letting it ring slowly, turn the pitch lower just a quarter clockwise turn and then rotate it back to its original position while listening to the changes in the pitch.
- Keep a note of the way a difference in sound is generated as you move lower, and then bring it back to the right pitch.
- Use a tuner to check the accuracy in pitch, of the note that you have returned to after lowering it.
- Carry this on for each string until you get it right.
- Tuning the note higher and bringing it back
- Simply carry out the same procedure as mentioned above, with the only difference that you will have to take the note higher a quarter turn, and then bring it back to the right pitch.
- While bringing a note from a higher pitch to a lower pitch, bring it a little lower than you are supposed to. Then, raise it a little higher to the right pitch. Do check your final note against a tuner to measure your accuracy.
- Carry this process out for every string, and do it quite often.
While the above-mentioned exercises will most certainly help you in ear training, tuning by ear is a skill that is developed slowly and requires disciplined practice. Dedicating about 10-15 minute in one session, with three sessions a day would slowly do the trick.