Lesson 2:
How Frets Work and Tuning Your Guitar

First let's look at the way frets work. When you press down on a string at a fret you change the pitch of the note created by that string. As you move up the neck the pitch gets higher. Each fret raises the pitch by what is called a SEMI-TONE.

Just think of a piano keyboard. As you play the notes, for example, from Middle C, towards the right where the higher sounding notes are, each key raises the pitch by a semi-tone - just like the frets on the guitar.

If you go all the way up to the 12th fret, the pitch will be one full OCTAVE above the open value of the string. For example, the 1st string, the thinnest is usually tuned to the note E at the open position. When you press down at the 12th fret of this string (there's usually a double dot on the fretboard at the 12th fret) the resulting note is also an E, but a full octave higher in pitch.

How Guitar Frets Work

Tuning the Guitar - The Notes at the Nut (Open Strings)

Even though you may not use this information right away, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the note values of the open strings. If nothing else, this will help you tune your guitar properly.

The strings are usually referred to as String 1 - the thinnest string, to String 6 - the fattest string. When you hold the guitar in the usual way and you look down on the strings, String 6 is at the top and String 1 is at the bottom. They are normally tuned like this:
- String 6: E
- String 5: A
- String 4: D
- String 3: G
- String 2: B
- String 1: E

In other words they are: E-A-D-G-B-E

A useful phrase to help you remember this order is...

"Eddie Ate Dynamite Good Bye Eddie

Here's a short video describing this in a bit more detail...

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