Not so fast. Better learn the basics first and make sure that the guitar is in tune.
This is a short tutorial for beginners.
Now, others would suggest a tuning fork (which works if you are not tone deaf) or maybe you have bought an acoustic with the built-in tuner (comes with the high price though). Either way, there will be times when the only available guitar is the classic one and you better know how to do this the old way.
Note: For guitar convention, the topmost base string is the #6th string while the last string or the thinnest is the first.
You'll see this on some guitar tabs you'll play as you level up your skills later on.
On your own. Here we go.
|6th string, 5th fret|
6th String, 5th Fret
This is the most critical part as the lowness or the highness of the guitar tune will depend on this step. After tuning the 6th string to your desired pitch, this influences the rest of the strings. An open 6th string is normally an "E" note by convention. Adjust this to the standard "E" tuning.
The trick here is to memorize a song or a tune in your head that you play using mostly the 6th string. For me, I use the intro from "Come As You Are" by Nirvana. This is one of my favorite songs so I have the pitch and tone in my head-and-ear already.
Now, after getting the "E" right, hit the note of the 6th string on the 5th fret. You are actually playing the base note "A" or "la" in classic note octave.
Pluck it alternately with the 5th string (open). They must sound the same. If not, adjust the 5th string to get it to sound the same as the 6th string. Play a song in power chords using only the two strings. Sounds good? You got the 6th and 5th string in tune.
|5th string, 5th fret|
Hit the 5th string on 5th fret. You are now playing the base note "D" or "re" on octave. Pluck this alternately with the 4th string (open). The 5th string and the 4th string must sound the same. If not, adjust the 4th string until the strings sound exactly the same. You now have the three base strings in tune.
4th String, 5th Fret
Play the 4th string on 5th fret. This note is "G" or "so" on octave. Pluck this alternately with the 3rd string (open). The 4th string and the 3rd string must sound exactly the same. Again, make adjustments to the 3rd string if this is not the case. You now have 6th, 5th, 4th, and 3rd strings in tune. Two more to go.
|4th string, 5th fret|
|3rd string, 4th fret|
3rd String, 4th Fret
Play the 3rd string on 4th fret. This note is "B" or "so" on octave. Pluck this alternately with the 2nd string (open). The 3rd string and the 2nd string must sound exactly the same. Adjust the 2nd string as needed. You now have 5 strings in tune.
2nd String, 5th Fret
Last string to go. Play the 2nd string on 5th fret. This note is "E" once more at higher octave. Pluck this alternately with the 1st string (open). The 2nd string and the 1st string must sound exactly the same, otherwise, adjust the 1st string. You now have all 6 strings in tune.
|2nd string, 5th fret|
Play your memorized song (by head and by ear) to test your tuning. If the rhythm sounds good, you got it!
As simple as that.
Now keep playing, rock on, and play that funky music! Of course, I prefer punk.
This is Red. Thanks for coming in my room. The Red Room.