How To Tune A 12 String Guitar 2021: Which Is Better And Why?

How To Tune A 12 String Guitar 2021 Which Is Better And Why

One of the problems that beginners often encounter is How To Tune A 12 String Guitar. So what are the steps in the process of tuning a 12 string guitar? What preparation is needed for that process? All your questions will be answered in the content below.

Even if you are a professional guitar player, tuning 12 string guitars also requires some support to do it. Follow the article to be able to do it successfully!

How to Tune a 12-String Guitars For You – Best Ways

How to Tune a 12-String Guitars For You - Best Ways

Below is a diagram of the 12-string guitar tuning. As I said in the previous section, the most important difference is the octave higher and octave lower tunings in the E, G, A, and D string pairs.

The two last string pairs, high E and high B, are tuned at the same frequency. Remember to tune each pair’s thick string to the lowest note and the thin to the octave above.

Chromatic Tuner

The achromatic tuner can detect any pitch on a guitar’s Chromatic Scale.

What is the chromatic range? It’s simply the whole range of 12 pitches on a musical scale, including sharps and flats. For example, the C chromatic scale looks like this: C#, D. Eb, Eb. E, F#. G, G#. A, Bb.

How can you use your chromatic tuner to get your guitar into tune?

You will need to set your tuner up and turn it on, depending on the type. Clipping your clip-on tuner onto your guitar is the easiest way. You will need to plug in the tuner if you are using a pedal tuner.

Notice: My 12-string was not with me at the time I wrote this guide. I used my 6-string for all of the examples below. It’s the same process, but you will need to pay more attention to how your string pairs are tuned.

Once it’s connected, it will detect your frequency and tell you how far you are.

As you can see, I am slightly out of tune (somewhat flat), below E.

Here you will adjust the tuning knob until it reaches the center.

My tuner went green after I hit the E spot. You can also see the arrow in the tuner’s middle.

Tuning Apps

Many apps can help you tune your guitar. These apps work in the same way as chromatic tuners, but only in an app format on your smartphone. To ensure that each note is correctly positioned, these apps will work in the same way as a chromatic tuner.

Some apps, however, have preset for specific instruments such as 12-string guitars to make it easier to remember the tuning and get expected results. Both Android and iPhone users have a wide range of options. These options will work for 12 string tuning and are great recommendations.

If you have to choose between a tuning app and an achromatic tuner, it is always better to use the chromatic one. Apps can be inaccurate and, as the saying goes, “close only counts in horseshoes or hand grenades.”

An achromatic tuner will be the best choice to achieve this.

An app is always better than nothing, but it’s useful in an emergency. A downloaded tuning app can be a great help if you have a smartphone. To cover all bases, invest in a chromatic tuner and also download your favorite app tuner.

Online 12-String Guitar Tuners (with your microphone)

Online 12-String Guitar Tuners

I’ll be recommending a few online guitarist tuners in a moment, but before that, I want to highlight a point I made earlier (and try not to make you tune through your microphone!

A microphone is not recommended for tuning your guitar. It adds another layer to the sound that comes out of your guitar and the tuner.

A clip-on tuner physically reads the frequency of your current playing by vibrations in the guitar. There is only one intermediate layer: the solid wood material that the sound passes through.

You can also make noise by tuning through an app or microphone.

For example, if you play the E chord on your guitar, the sound wave must travel through the air to reach the microphone and be picked up along with any background noise.

The audio signal is then converted to an audio signal by your computer (based upon your microphone quality, settings, and background noise) and processed again in the app/tuning software.

I forgot to mention that you can practice in groups (bands, orchestras, etc.). It’s impossible to tune your guitar using a microphone when multiple people are playing or tuning simultaneously.

Bottom line: If accuracy is your goal (and you want to be flexible in any situation), then go straight to the source with a clip-on tuner like UberTuner (Amazon) or FT-1(Amazon).

Here’s the 12-String Online Tuner I Recommend:

It took me a while to find a 12-string tuner online that worked through my microphone.

Tuner-Online was a good option.

Once you reach that page, you need to allow access to your microphone (if using Google Chrome, it will ask you), and then you can start the sounds at the bottom.

The tuner’s Arrow will indicate how flat or sharp you are.

Roadie Automatic Tuner

My 12-string guitar was a pain to tune. I would be mad to have to change so many strings. Roadie’s ‘automatic’ tuner is what I use now. I don’t have to think about it anymore.

Choose the tuning that you wish to use, and then place it on each string. It will automatically tune to pitch.

This is how to tune your 12-string guitar with a Roadie 2 auto tuner.

  • Select the ’12 String.’
  • To open the menu, tap the button.
  • Choose ‘Change Tuning’
  • Choose the tuning that you prefer. Below is a list of all the tunings available:
  • Standard
  • Open G
  • D Modal
  • Drop D
  • Open C
  • Drop A (automatically generated from a 7-string tuning that I made)
  • Place the Roadie on top of the lowest string’s machine head and then pick the string.

It’s easy to create custom tunings for any 12-string instrument or any other instrument.

The Nitty Gritty

Let’s get started! Let’s get started by attaching the chromatic tuner or pulling out our tuning app.

When you are tuning each string, keep track of the tuning peg and string pair that you are using. You can keep track of the octave relationship between these string pairs by using this tool.

As you move through the strings, make sure to follow the arrangement of each note on the respective tuning pegs.

  • G with a lower D Octave
  • Octave lower D Low G
  • Low A High B
  • Octave higher A High-B
  • Low E, High E
  • Octave Higher E High E

The new acronym can be used to enhance your memory mnemonic.

eE aA D gG BB E

You think you know how to do it? This is a little more information that will help you make sure your string tuning is perfect.

Many tuning apps and chromatic tuners will display on-screen frequency readings for the note you are currently playing. It’s easy and efficient to match the note name, but it is also possible to use frequency matching.

As with all sounds, each note has a specific frequency. You can determine the frequency of high E to ensure that your top strings are tuned correctly. Here’s how each note should sound in your string tuning.

  • e: 164.81Hz
  • E: 82.41Hz
  • a: 220.00 Hz
  • A: 110.00 Hz
  • d: 293.66Hz
  • D: 146.83Hz
  • g: 392.00Hz
  • G: 196.00Hz
  • B (both strings), 246.94 Hz
  • E (both strings: 329.63Hz)

Tuning a 12-string guitar requires that you repeat the tuning process for the first string after you have completed the tuning one time.

Guitar strings can hold their tones quite well. However, a 12-string guitar can cause tension to build upon the neck. This could lead to the guitar losing its tune.

Tips and tricks

Beyond Standard Tuning

You can practice the standard tuning we have discussed today to help you develop muscle memory. This will make it second nature when your 12-string guitar is tuned.

There are many options available for you to master once you have mastered standard tuning. There are many options available to you, and your creativity and imagination will dictate how you tune and play your instrument.

If you want to learn how to play your favorite 12 string songs, standard tuning is a good place to start. The rich, robust tones of 12 strings guitars are featured in the famous Ocean fingerpicking composition by the John Butler Trio, Jimi Hendrix’s bluesy Hear My Train a Comin’, and the Beatles’ classic A Hard Day’s Night.

You’ll notice that most of these songs use 12 string guitars, tuned half a step-down. This is because it lowers tension, which allows you to play the guitar with greater enthusiasm and speed. It may also be able to relieve any discomfort you feel in your fingers, allowing you to play for longer.

Tuning half a step lower is an easy next step if you have mastered standard tuning. Once you have tuned your guitar to standard tuning, adjust each string one semitone lower. This is called a half-step.

This will make E into E-flat and D into D-flat. It will be easy to see a flat note when you use your chromatic tuner or tune app. This is the symbol that will indicate a flat note when you tune a step-down.

You won’t see the flat symbol in standard tuning. However, if you are tuning a half-step down, this is what you will want to see to ensure that your strings are in the correct tuning order.

Spending more time on your 12 string guitar will help you become more familiar and proficient at tuning. You don’t matter how skilled you are attuning; slow down to reduce neck tension and maintain precision on each string.

Neck Tension

When tuning your 12 string guitar, neck tension is an important and unique consideration. These guitars are subject to a greater degree of constant tension than 6-string guitars. This means that you will need to be aware of the effects of tension on many aspects of guitar care and tuning.

Your high octave G guitar string will be the highest note among all your strings when you tune. It’s more rigidly strung than the rest of your strings and therefore more vulnerable to snapping. To keep the string intact, tune it carefully and slowly.

It’s a good idea, given the tension, to rest one hand gently across the neck while you tune the guitar. This protects your eyes, face, and other objects that might be in danger if a string breaks or goes flying.


Should a 12-String Guitar Be Tuned Down?

Tuning 12-string guitars down half a step or more was a common practice. This was done to lower the tension of the guitar’s neck.

A modern 12-string guitar doesn’t require tuning down. Modern 12-string guitars can withstand standard tuning’s tension.

A 12-string guitar doesn’t need to be tuned down. However, many 12-string songs do require a lower tuning. These songs can be played properly if your guitar is tuned down.

A capo can be used to tune a 12-string guitar down so you can continue to play in standard tuning.

I prefer to tune my 12-string instrument down a whole step to play all songs written in lower tunings or standard tunings (with a capo).

Can you tune a 12 string guitar with a regular tuner?

The achromatic tuner can be used to tune a 12-string guitar. Pick each string, and the tuner will show you the current note. You will then know what string to tune up or down. I recommend that you start with the strings tuned to the normal 6-string tuning.

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Can You Put 6 Strings on a 12 String Guitar?

You can still put six strings on a 12-string and still play it like a regular guitar. Despite the larger fretboard making it feel awkward to use, it works.

This was my method of choice when I only had a 12-string acoustic. I would take out the paired strings and leave the rest in standard tuning.

You can also see that I moved the strings on the nut to make them more comfortable on my guitar. If the strings are left in their original positions, they feel awkward. It is not recommended to move the strings around as it can damage the nut. However, I didn’t have the money back then for a 6-string acoustic, so that was my only choice.

The nice thing about a 12-string guitar that has six strings is the extra space between the strings. This makes chord playing more enjoyable (at least for me).

If you take out extra strings, adjust the truss rod as the reduced tension can affect the guitar’s relief.

This guide will show you how to adjust a truss rod correctly and its importance.

What is the tuning of a 7 string guitar?

B-E–A-D–G-B–E is the most common tuning for seven-string guitars. For an eight-string, it’s B-E–A-D–G-B–E. An eight-string guitar will use the same tuning but add the F# string. Some players prefer to tune down the lowest string a whole step to A on a seven-string or E on an eighth-string.

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What is the benefit of a 12 string guitar?

A 12-String Guitar’s Advantages: The most obvious benefit of a 12-string is the rich, beautiful tone they produce. This sound is something you won’t get from a traditional instrument. You get a richer sound that can transform any song into something unique with 12 strings.

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What is one octave higher than E?

An octave refers to when you play the same note but eight steps higher. The open low e string, for example, is the lowest octave e on the guitar. However, if you play the second fret of the d string, it is also an e sound. Because each note repeats eight steps higher, it sounds eight times more.

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Can a Beginner Play a 12-String Guitar?

For beginners, 12-string guitars are more difficult to use than 6-string guitars. To make the strings ring clearly, you will need to apply more pressure.

A 12-string guitar is better for you if you have trouble playing chords on a 6-string instrument.

Tuning down can make it easier to play a 12-string guitar. You don’t have to press as hard on the strings if you tune down half a step or a full step.

For beginners, I recommend that you start with a 6-string guitar. You can only move up to a 12-string guitar once you have gained strength and control in hand.

This list of the Top 12 String Guitar Songs includes Guitar Tab for great riffs.


This article will show you how to tune a 12-string guitar. Cazzette has compiled all the methods and instructions. Cazzette is confident that you can do this if you have read all of the instructions.

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