Standard sized guitars are often too large for young players due to the hand span required to fret certain chords. Smaller 3/4 guitars are great for young players, as the guitar is scaled down by a quarter. This means that the distance between frets is less and chords and melodies are easy to play. Tuning a 3/4 guitar is exactly the same as tuning a standard guitar. The strings are all the same pitch and the method of tuning is no different. The most accurate way to tune a 3/4 guitar is by using an electronic tuner.
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Things you need
- Electronic or clip-on tuner
- Guitar cable
Plug the guitar in to the tuner. Using a standard guitar jack lead, connect the guitar to the input socket of the tuner. Make sure the tuner is powered. For acoustic guitars, a clip-on tuner is an adequate alternative to an electronic tuner. They operate in the same way and the only difference is the method by which they receive the note. If you are using a clip-on tuner, ensure that the battery is charged and then clip it to the headstock.
Turn on the tuner. Some tuners turn on automatically when you plug in; others require you to depress a foot switch or manually hit an on/off button. The tuner will normally flash or light up when turned on.
Strike the top E string and observe the reading from the tuner. Your tuner will a display featuring either have either a dial or a series of LED lights. Both display methods are similar. There will be a centre point on the display that indicates that a note is in tune. Your aim is to have the dial hit the centre have the centre light illuminate by tuning the string. If the top E string is flat, the dial will point to the left. If it is sharp, the dial will point to the right. The distance on either side varies in proportion to the amount by which the string is out of tune.
Adjust the tension of the string in accordance with the tuner reading. For a sharp reading, relax the tension of the string by turning the tuning key. For flat readings increase the tension. Use a smooth, gentle action when turning the key to avoid snapping the string.
Repeat this method for the rest of the strings. Once you have your first string in tune, move on to the next one down. Some tuners may require you to manually select the string for which you are tuning by hitting a button. Other tuners will identify the string you are tuning automatically.
Play a simple guitar chord, such as an open E or an open A, and listen out for any clashing or dissonant notes. Sometimes the tuning process takes a little tweaking as strings can slip after being tightened.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure the volume dial of the guitar is on full if tuning an electric guitar. The tuner will give a more accurate reading when receiving a stronger signal.
- Don't strike the string too hard when tuning. Twanging it can cause it to go sharp for a moment which will result in an inaccurate reading from the tuner.
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