# Knowing The Letter Names

Previous Lesson
Next Lesson

If you've gone through all of level 1, you can use your knowledge of the letter names to find your way back when you get lost tuning a certain string. This is kind of a messy situation, and it can be tricky to get out of. Keep in mind that if you're not having this problem at this very moment, you don't really need to understand all of this, but it can be good to watch it anyway, so you'll remember that the information is here, if you should need it someday.

So let's say that I thought I was tuning my A string, but I was accidentally turning the peg for the D string, so now that's way off. I turned it so many times, before I realized what was going on, so now I have no idea if my string is too high or too low.

Let's see what our tuner says, and we're mostly paying attention to the letter name. It's says we're closest to the letter B.

We know that it's supposed to be a D, and we're usually within a note or two from our actual pitch. If we get much further away than that our string is either so loose that you won't miss it or it's so tight that it breaks.

Let's consider both options. If you go up the alphabet we have A B C D. So B could two scale-steps below our D note that we need.

Alternatively if we had somehow tuned up to the higher octave of B, let's count our way up the scale to see how many steps we're away from D note. So we play D, E, G, G, and then it repeats A, B. So we'd be 5 scale steps too high, and in that case our string would have probably broken, so I think it's safe to conclude that our pitch is too low and we have to tighten the string to raise it.

If this is confusing when it's verbalized like that, try to write about the musical alphabet going ABCDEFG ABCDEFG and then you'll be able to see what I'm talking about visually. Whichever letter the tuner says, is it closest on the left side of the note you want? Or is it closer on the right side? If it's closest on the left side, your string is probably too low and if it's on the right side your pitch is probably too high.

So now that we've concluded our string is too low, so let's try carefully turning it up C, that's a good sign. The little dot next to the letter means sharp, so now we're going the right way.

Now it says D and we can see that the needle says we're still a bit too low. And now we have our D.

I hope this tutorial has helped you get in tune and that you feel prepared to overcome any tuning obstacles you may encounter on your journey. Remember that the best way to avoid these problems is by being a little extra careful whenever you tune. Pay careful attention to the letter name on your tuner, make sure you're tuning the right tuning peg and use small adjustments at a time. That'll save you many headaches along the way, but if it happens, don't beat yourself up. Just come back to these lessons!

Instructor Anders Mouridsen
Tutorial:
Tuning
Styles:
Any Style
Difficulty:

You need to be registered to ask our instructors a question.