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I just bought a used guitar and when I tune it all strings are good except for the low E string, which I seem to be unable to tune to E2, which it is supposed to be. What could be wrong?

  • How are you tuning it? What reference point do you use? What sort of guitar is it? What strings are on it? So many questions, the answers of which might help resolving the problem. – Tim May 16 at 7:14
  • I'm kind of a noob, but it is a regular six-string acoustic guitar, and all strings are on it. What do you mean by reference point? – user3207230 May 16 at 7:30
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    If you have trouble tuning your guitar via smartphone with a microphone-based app, you might want to get one of those clip-on tuners that you clip onto your headstock. They cost <10 dollar/euro and measure the frequency via vibration. That way, you are less vulnerable to ambient noise. – Ian May 16 at 15:13
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    Seems like it was the smartphone app (which I never had issues with before the new guitar) caused problems when tuning my new guitar for some reason. Depending on the distance from it, it would either register the open low E string as E3 or E2. Will be getting myself a proper tuner shortly. – user3207230 May 16 at 15:25
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    tbh, it doesn't matter which octave it recognises, so long as it recognises the pitch itself - as it's almost impossible to be out of tune by that much. An octave under it would be like a slack rubber band & an octave over... well, you'd never get there in one piece. – Tetsujin May 16 at 16:50
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Taking a wild swing at this...

If you are using a meter & it can't quite grasp the pitch, there are a couple of things you can try.

  • Pluck the string with the soft part of your finger gently - fewer bright overtones means more fundamental frequency for the meter to listen to. If you pull the string too hard it will pitch-bend - it will start over-pitch [sharp] & drop down to pitch over a couple of seconds.

  • Rest your finger gently over the 12th fret & pluck as normal, which will create a perfect octave harmonic & tune to E3.

  • Do it the old-fashioned way & compare the A string to the E on the 5th fret.

From comments
It doesn't matter which octave it recognises, so long as it recognises the pitch itself - as it's almost impossible to be out of tune by that much. An octave under it would be like a slack rubber band & an octave over... well, you'd never get there in one piece.

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