How to Tune a Guitar with a Piano: The Ultimate Guide

Tuning is a critical skill that every guitarist should develop alongside their playing abilities. A well-tuned guitar is essential for showcasing your talent to its fullest potential. 

While there are various ways to tune a guitar, such as using a tuner, learning to tune by ear using alternative methods can enhance your skills even further. In this guide, we’ll explore how to tune a guitar with a piano, delve into popular altered tunings, and offer valuable tips for mastering this technique.

Why Tune a Guitar with a Piano?

Tuning a guitar with a piano offers numerous benefits. Here are some advantages of using a piano for guitar tuning:

Fixed Pitch

The piano is a fixed-pitch instrument, meaning its keys produce specific, consistent pitches across all pianos. This ensures that your guitar will also maintain a fixed pitch when tuned with a piano.

Extensive Range of Notes

A piano’s wide range of notes enables you to tune your guitar across its entire range, from low E to high E.

Reference Pitch

A piano provides a reference pitch, usually A above middle C, which vibrates at 440 Hz. Tuning your guitar to this pitch guarantees consistent string vibrations.

Step-by-Step Guide to Tuning a Guitar with a Piano

Before diving into the steps to tune a guitar with a piano, let’s briefly review standard guitar tuning.

A quick look at the standard tuning

Standard tuning refers to tuning the guitar strings from lowest to highest as follows: low E, A, D, G, B, and high E.

  • The low E string is tuned to E2 = 82.4 Hz
  • The A string is tuned to A2 = 110 Hz
  • The D string is tuned to D3 = 146.8 Hz
  • The G string is tuned to G3 = 196 Hz
  • The B string is tuned to B3= 246.9 Hz
  • The high E string is tuned to E4 = 329.6 Hz

Essential Tools for Tuning a Guitar with a Piano

To tune a guitar with a piano, you’ll need:

  • a guitar
  • a piano

Optionally, you can use a digital audio workstation (DAW) or a tuning app. However, we recommend relying on your hearing to train your ear, even if you have access to these additional tools.

Step-by-step guitar tuning with a piano

Once we know the standard tuning, we can get down to the piano.

Find the middle C on the piano

Middle C on the piano corresponds to the C note on the 1st fret of the B string. It is situated just below the two black keys in the center of the keyboard. In other words, middle C = C4, which is the 4th C from left to right on the piano.

Find which piano keys are equal to your guitar strings

  • The high E-string (1st string) is one key to the right of middle C.
  • The B-string (2nd string) is next to C on the left.
  • The G-string (3rd string) is one key to the left from B.
  • The D-string (4th string) is two keys away to the left from G.
  • The A-string (5th string) is two keys from D.
  • The low E-string (6th string) is two keys from A.

For more clarity, view the following picture.

Standart tuning

Start tuning the guitar

  • Press the piano key that corresponds to the string you are tuning.
  • Immediately after, play the string.
  • Listen carefully to see if the two sounds match.
  • If there is a difference, turn the tuning peg on the guitar in one direction or the other until the two tones sound the same.
  • Repeat for all strings.

Popular and Easy Altered Tunings

If you’re looking for a change from standard tuning, we have some great alternative suggestions. Keep in mind that all altered tunings are based on standard tuning.

Tuning your guitar to Drop D

Drop D tuning is similar to standard tuning, with the difference being the sixth string is tuned down by one tone, from low E to D. Thus, the tuning becomes DADGBE.

A drop D key is to the left of the low E in standart tuning, as shown in the picture below.

Tuning your guitar with piano


This tuning is perfect if you want to add a folk or Celtic sound to your music. If so, then follow the steps:

  • Drop the low E string one step to D.
  • The A, D, and G strings stayed in place.
  • Drop the B string one step to A.
  • Drop the high E string one step to D.

Tune guitar to piano

D Standard Tuning

This is an easy way to tune because all you have to do is take everything one step down.

The picture shows exactly which are the keys.

piano and guitar

Open D Tuning:

Often used by slide guitar players, as it allows whole chords to be played using the slide.

  • Drop the low E string one step to D.
  • The A and D strings stayed in place.
  • Drop the G string half step to #F.
  • Drop the B string one step to A.
  • Drop the high E strings one step to D.

want to play

Drop C Tuning

Creates a heavier, lower sound suitable for heavy metal and hard rock.

Look at the picture to see the right piano keys you should use.

tune a guitar with piano

Open C Tuning:

To tune the guitar to open C, you should tune it like this:

  • Drop the low E string two steps down to C.
  • Drop the A string down one step to G.
  • Drop the D string down one step to C.
  • The D string remains in place.
  • Pick up the B string by half a step to C.
  • The high E string remains in place.

Guitar tuning with piano

Tuning your guitar to Open G

Open G is an excellent choice for folk musicians but is also suitable for playing blues. It is achieved with the following steps:

  • Drop the low E string one step to D.
  • Drop the A string one step to G.
  • The D, G, and B strings stayed in place.
  • Drop the high E strings one step to D.

know how to tune

Drop B Tuning:

Two options are available for this tuning method.

  • Option 1: Drop the low E string by two and a half steps, leaving other strings unchanged
  • Option 2: Drop the low E string by two and a half steps, and reduce all other strings by one and a half steps. Check the piano keys for guidance in this setting.

Tuning guitar

Tips for Tuning Your Guitar with a Piano

Use your hearing

Train your ear by tuning your guitar by ear. This will help you develop your ability to recognize the right tones, leading to better music.

Check the intonation

After each adjustment, check your intonation. Ensure each fret on your guitar produces the correct pitch by:

  • Playing an open string
  • Playing the same string on the 12th fret
  • Comparing the two sounds
  • If the pitch at the 12th fret is out of tune, adjust the saddle on your guitar
  • Repeat for each string

Practice tuning your guitar

Tuning your guitar can be challenging, but it becomes easier and more accurate with practice. Don’t be discouraged if you’re a beginner; like any new skill, it takes time to perfect.


The tuning of your instrument greatly influences how your music sounds. Dedicate enough time and attention to perfect it. Regardless of the tuning method you choose, remember that exceptional playing results from a combination of talent and a well-trained ear.


Can I tune my guitar with a digital piano or keyboard?

Yes, you can tune a guitar with a digital piano or keyboard. However, ensure they are well-tuned and capable of producing a consistent pitch before using them for guitar tuning.


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