3

I'm in the process of learning to read music and play guitar. I have a book telling me if I play my second string open that it makes a B. Can anyone explain to me why it shows as a G on my tuner? And as I learn the second string all of the notes are wrong on the tuner??

  • Ok. I completely figured out what I was doing wrong! I mistook the first string to be the "top" string (low E), not the "bottom" string (high E)!!!! I feel so stupid now! Been practicing it for days!! Forehead smack!! – Tina Mar 2 '16 at 15:13
  • Glad to hear that solved the problem -- I've converted my comment into an answer. – user28 Mar 2 '16 at 22:06
10

The most obvious reason is that your 2nd string is actually tuned to G. That needs putting right. When your tuner is showing B for that string, then the other notes you play when fretting will show correctly on your tuner - assuming it's capable of showing all notes and not just the 6 open guitar strings. I hope it's tuned to a low G, 'cos it could just be tuned an octave higher, and will be rather tight. Check your G string is correct, press it on the 4th fret, look at your tuner. It ought to read B, exactly the same note as your B string open.

| improve this answer | |
  • I would also double check that all the other strings seem to be tuned correctly and showing correctly on the tuner. If the tuner makes sense for every other string, then the best odds are that the string is mis-tuned. – Todd Wilcox Mar 1 '16 at 19:25
  • Ok. I completely figured out what I was doing wrong! I mistook the first string to be the "top" string (low E), not the "bottom" string (high E)!!!! I feel so stupid now! Been practicing it for days!! Forehead smack!! – Tina Mar 2 '16 at 15:13
  • @Tina - it still isn't right! That string is your 5th , which SHOULD be an A, so if the tuner is recognizing a B, it's still out!! – Tim Mar 2 '16 at 15:21
5

Most electronic tuners will display the note closest to the frequency being detected when you pluck a string on your guitar. So if your second string (which is the next to thinnest string on a six string guitar) is tuned closer to G than B, your tuner will display G.

It's important to tune each string to the correct octave of the pitch it is supposed to be tuned to. In other words, if you attempted to tune a string one octave higher than normal, it would likely either break or in the case of your heavier strings, place a potentially dangerous amount of stress on your guitars neck.

It's best to start with a reference point such as a friend's in-tune guitar, a piano, a tuning pitch pipe or online tuning site.

Since you obviously have access to a computer, go to an online guitar tuning site such as Fender online guitar tuning site or JamPlay Online Guitar Tuner Use one of these sites to match your strings to the pitch you hear on the site for each string - to get you in the ballpark. Then use your digital tuner to fine-tune to the exact pitch.

Good luck and have fun learning to play the guitar.

| improve this answer | |
  • The Fender site is a nice visual (assuming the OP has a fender), but either way a digital tuner that "helps" you get to where you need to be is much better than trying to rely on ear, especially as a beginner, where your note recognition may be (for the time) sub-par. – user6164 Mar 2 '16 at 15:09
  • Ok. I completely figured out what I was doing wrong! I mistook the first string to be the "top" string (low E), not the "bottom" string (high E)!!!! I feel so stupid now! Been practicing it for days!! Forehead smack!! – Tina Mar 2 '16 at 15:14
  • 1
    @ThatWebDude - I totally agree - which is why I said use the digital tuner to fine tune. But without a reference a beginner may never get close enough to the correct pitch for the digital tuner to work. Also, I think you would be surprised how well most students can match pitches. Before digital tuners, we all had to use some sort of reference pitch (often coupled with the 5th fret method which relies on ear). I never had trouble matching pitches and most of my beginning students don't have that problem either. But you are right - some folks are tone deaf. – Rockin Cowboy Mar 2 '16 at 15:22
  • 1
    @Tina - Tina that is a very common mistake that most beginners make. I don't know who invented the string numbering system that seems so counterintuitive. That's why I always say "the thinnest string or the next to thinnest string or next to fattest string etc". I think sometimes even experienced guitarist get confused. – Rockin Cowboy Mar 2 '16 at 15:25
0

Make sure that you are counting the strings starting from the highest pitched one (also the thinnest, and the bottom one if you are holding a standard right hand guitar pointed to your left). It seems likely that you are counting in the opposite direction and playing the A string, which has gone flat and is sounding closer to a G.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.