Online Guitar Tuner - Standard Tuning

Standard Drop D Half Step Down Full Step Down C# Tuning C Tuning


Standard Tuning is the most popular key for a guitar. Most guitars are set up for standard tuning as it has evolved to give a good compromise between easy fingering of most common chords and straightforward fingering of scales.

When playing with other musicians, your tuning needs to match theirs. If nobody has mentioned tuning to a specific key, go with standard tuning as this is what other guitarists and bassists will almost certainly be using.

If you are practising guitar, you would generally use standard tuning.

When reading tab music where no tuning is noted, you can be fairly sure standard tuning is what you should be using.

Standard tuning is recommended for beginners.

Noted Musicians

Nearly every guitarist will learn using standard tuning. Some will experiment with different tunings from time to time and others will develop a preference for a different tuning.

It’s common for bands to detune their guitars a half step to Eb for live performances. This has the following advantages:

  • Helping a singer reach high notes
  • Making string bending a little easier
  • Making it easier to use heavier gauge strings for a thicker, warmer sound with more sustain
  • Reducing chances of a string breakage
  • To give a more unique overall sound

String Gauge

Standard tuning is the highest in pitch most guitars will use. To get to this relatively high pitch, the strings have to be put under a fair bit of tension. Quite an effort is therefore required to bend strings or even add vibrato in some cases especially when using heavier gauge (thicker) strings. Lighter gauge strings are therefore generally preferred by most guitarists using standard tuning.

These are strings where the thinnest string or 1st string is 0.08 or 0.09 inches.

Lighter gauge strings have less sustain than heavier strings. Turning up the gain should help compensate for this.

Note: If you want to tune higher than standard tuning, it is recommended you use a capo instead. Otherwise you risk your strings breaking and excessive strain on the guitar neck.

Buzzing Strings

If your guitar is tuned down to below standard and you’re having problems with your strings buzzing on the frets, it may be because your guitar is set up for standard tuning but is now detuned. Tuning back to standard may fix this because the extra tension through the strings causes the neck of the guitar to bend slightly creating the ideal concave shape.

If you prefer to tune down your guitar you may need to get it set up differently to cater for this. This usually involved a truss-rod adjustment.

String buzzing can also be caused by worn frets, incorrect truss-rod setup and incorrectly adjusted string height. If in doubt contact a luthier or your nearest guitar shop for help and advice.

Poor Intonation

A guitar with poor intonation will usually sound in tune when playing near the nut but then out of tune when playing further up the fretboard. This may be especially noticeable when playing barre chords.

If your guitar is suffering from poor intonation, replace the strings, tune up and try again. Sometimes old strings are the culprit. If this doesn’t help, speak to a technician or luthier for further advice.