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There is a trade-off, though. In order for equal temperament to work, the only interval that is true to natural harmonics is the octave. All other intervals are a little off from the pure intervals found in the harmonic series (in other words, in nature, in the physics of sounds). For example, a perfect fifth in equal temperament is just a little smaller than a pure perfect fifth.

Because the piano is such a popular instrument, most listeners are comfortable with equal temperament. And yet, there is the fact that the intervals are not exactly "in tune". Musicians who can make small tuning adjustments very quickly (vocalists, woodwind and brass players, and even players of unfretted strings, like the violin), often find themselves abandoning equal temperament when they can, and adopting the pure thirds and fifths of just intonation .

You cannot tune a guitar instantly, as you can a voice, or even a (non-open-string) note on the violin. But you can tune a guitar relatively quickly; say in between songs. And guitar players rarely need or want to play equally in tune in all keys. Many styles of guitar music favors easy-to-play keys, like E minor or D major, and avoids keys that require lots of barre chords, like A flat major or C sharp minor. So most guitarists do not use equal temperament tuning.

Tuning fork

Tuning forks that sound the popular tuning note "A" (which can be used to tune the fifth string) are very easy to find; tuning forks that sound an "E" (which can be used to tune the first and sixth strings) are also pretty easy to find and are more useful for guitars.

A tuning fork is inexpensive and can easily be brought along. Another advantage is that if you touch it to the sounding board of an acoustic guitar, you will get a sound similar in color to the sound of that guitar being played. This can make using a tuning fork easier and more accurate than tuning to a sound that is a very different color (like a pitch pipe or electronic tuner). Some guitarists prefer to use a tuning fork.

    Using a tuning fork

  • Hold the fork by the stem only, leaving the tines free to vibrate.
  • Rap the tines once against something that is hard enough to start them vibrating. (But try not to rap them on something that they will dent or mark; your knee is a good choice.)
  • Immediately (but without touching the tines) set the stem lightly on the body of the guitar. Tune the string to the sound the guitar makes.

Using a tuning fork well requires a little practice and is slightly cumbersome. It may be difficult for young players, and even experienced players won't want to bring along five or six different tuning forks. This brings us to the preferred methods for tuning guitars.


As discussed above , guitar players, like vocalists and wind players, don't have to use equal temperament. Many prefer instead to tune the guitar so that it sounds good in keys that are easy to play. One popular way to do this is to tune each string to the one below it, giving pure fourths between most open strings, and a (close to pure) major third between the second and third strings. (You don't need to know about fourths and thirds to tune your guitar, but if you want to know, please see Interval .)

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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Akash Reply
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characteristics of micro business
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Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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Difference between extinct and extici spicies
Amanpreet Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Beginning guitar. OpenStax CNX. Aug 18, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10421/1.2
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