Tripboba.com - Though it can be overwhelming, tuning a 12-string guitar will become familiar once you have tried and mastered it. If you play regularly, tuning a 12-string guitar is an important thing to do. To tune a 12-string guitar, you have to keep in mind that each string is made in pairs.
How to Tune a 12 String Guitar
The first 6 strings can be tuned to your standard 6 strings i.e. the notes E, A, D, G, B, E. Then, you will tune the 4 lower string pairs one octave higher to the notes E, A, D, and G. The last high pair of strings correspond to the standard notes, which are the notes B and E.
Read the following guide to know how to tune a guitar that is a 12-string guitar.
Step 1. The first thing not to forget about tuning a 12-string guitar is that the strings are paired and will be tuned synchronously. You won't tune each string individually like you would with a 6-string guitar.
Step 2. Look at your lower string pair. It will be thicker and they are the ones you tune with the standard 6-string tuning. This means they will be the notes E, A, D, G, B and E.
Step 3. There are 4 pairs of lower strings that are paired with the E, A, D and G strings. Each of the note will be tuned up to an octave higher. This means, when you tune the lowest E string, it will be an octave higher than the thick E. Playing the strings at the same time must show that the strings are in tune because they will play in tune. The sound you will hear will be an octave different.
Step 4. The B and E are the taller strings. They are tuned in exactly the same way as the other strings. By playing the B string at the same time, you will find that they sound identical to each other. The tuning for the 12-string guitar has its own notation and is written as eE, aA, dD, gG, BB, EE. In this notation, all uppercase letters are set to the standard 6-string setting. All lowercase letters indicate a tone set to an octave higher than the others. This way each string on the guitar will be tuned as follows:
- e – higher octave tuning
- E – standard 6 string tuning
- a – octave higher tuning
- A – standard 6 string tuning
- d – higher octave tuning
- D – standard six string tuning
- g – octave higher tuning
- G – standard tuning
- B – standard tuning
- B – standard tuning
- E – standard tuning
- E – standard tuning
Step 5. Once you've tuned the strings a few times, the whole process will make more sense and you'll find that it just got easier.
Tuning Half a Step Down
If you've done some research on 12 string guitar tunes, then you've probably noticed many of them have been tuned for guitar tuned half a step down. The reason is that standard tuning can put a lot of strain on the guitar neck. 12-string is a lot of tension for the guitar to take up, so you can reduce some of the stress by tuning it this way.
Reducing the tuning by half is also a good way to get used to playing it. This helps relieve finger pain.
To tune your 12-string guitar half a step down, start by tuning your guitar using the standards. Then, take each string and tune the semitone which is your half step. For instance, in this process the E string will become flat E, the A string will become flat A, and so on.
All of the 12 strings are tuned as if they were in 6 pairs and the 4 lower pairs would still be an octave apart. The difference here is that each string will make a semitone sound that is lower than the standard tuning.
Tuning to Drop D
The Drop D tuning is also a popular way of how to tune a guitar, which in this case is a 12-string guitar – many songs use this tuning type. Again, you'll want to tune your guitar to the standard tunings we outlined earlier. Then, take your bottom pair of E strings down one full step so they are now a D. All the rest of the strings will stay the same. Only the lowest pair of strings will be changed, remaining an octave apart but set to D.
Tuning for Open Tuning
The 12-string guitar can be tuned to any open tuning you want. As long as you remember to play each string on the pair and the lower 4 pairs are an octave apart, you can use any open tuning you wish.
Using the Tuner
There are several methods of tuning a 12-string guitar you can use. It all depends on the tuner you have and the technique you prefer.
The best way to tune your guitar is to use a color tuner. Many modern tuners have to include a color mode. This type of tuner can be used for all notes on your instrument. This is why it's great for 12-string guitars because your 4 strings are tuned up to an octave higher than standard.
Using the tuner, you can select individual strings. Your tuner will pick up on the sound and tell you exactly what the note is. All you need to know from then on is what you want to tune down or up.
It is recommended that you always start by tuning the 6-string tuning to the standard guitar tuning. Once they are correct, you can move on to tuning the string pairs. This helps you to make sure that each paired string is in the correct note.
There are several apps out there that have been specially designed to help you tune your 12-string guitar. Even if your application only has standard tunings, you can use them as color tuners for your original 6 strings.