The 5th Fret Tuning Method is a simple way to check your tuning and to tune your guitar. With this method you have to get at least one of your strings in tune (preferably the low E string), because from that string you will tune the rest of your strings using that as a reference. If you don't have access to a tuning fork, keyboard, or other tuning device, then that's fine. You can get one string as close as you can by ear and then tune the rest of the guitar to it. The guitar will be in tune with it's self and will sound just fine, even if every string is a little sharp or flat.
Open Strings - Down below I will talk about playing Open Strings. To play an Open String means to play a string without fretting anything. So that's why it's called Open.
How to tune a Guitar
Use the picture as a reference, Assuming now that your 6th String(Low E string) is in tune....
- Fret the 5th fret on the 6th String, If your guitar is in tune or close, then if you pluck the fretted 6th string and the open 5th String, they should sound pretty close. Tune the pegs on your 5th string until they match the 6th String.
- Now that the 5th String is in tune we can now tune the 4th String to it. It is the same process as before, fret the 5th fret on the 5th string and play the string and the Open 4th String, and then turn the pegs on the 4th String till they match.
- Same process again, fret the 5th fret on the 4th String, and tune the Open 3rd String to the fretted 4rd String.
- Now this is where it changes, Instead of fretting the 5th fret on the 3rd String, you fret the 4th, (Just like it shows in the picture). So you fret the 4th fret on the 3rd String and tune the Open 2nd string to it
- For the last string, we fret the 5th fret on the 2nd String this time. We then tune the Open 1st String, to the 5th fretted 2nd String.
Now, do you know why we nick name it the 5th Fret Method? Your guitar should now be in tune. For a simple check to see if you do it right, you play both the 1st and the 6th string at the same time. They should sound similar, but just in a different octave. They both are tuned to E, they just are in different Octaves.
Guitar Tab to check tuning
This tab shows you quickly what frets and string to play to check your tuning.
Video of how to do it
Congratulations on tuning your guitar!