So, this is where our Free Guitar Course really starts. :) Ready?
Some basics first. The most widely used guitar tuning is the standard E tuning. It means that the strings produce tones E, A, D, G, B, e. If you need to remember that (to impress some girls, for instance, haha), you can always think of a sentence: Eat All Day, Get Big easy.
So, the thickest string has to be tuned to the E note. How to do that? Well, the first option is to match it with the E note on the piano or another properly tuned guitar. But to really match the right tone requires quite a good ear and some experience. The best option almost always turns out to be a purchase of a special gadget, called electronic tuner. It has a little display that shows you which way to turn your tuning pegs while playing a single string. There is a free option as well – you can get one of the guitar tuning programs and install them on your computer, if it has a microphone. A huge majority of modern computers and especially laptops do have them. And a free guitar tuning program is your first freebie, look below! :)
Once your E string is tuned, the rest is pretty easy. If you have an electronic tuner of any kind, it will show you exactly how to tune all of the other strings. If you do not have one, you need to hold your E string on the fifth fret and match it with your A string. You still remember that the A string is the second thickest string, right? Once your A string is properly tuned, hold it on the fifth fret and tune the D string. And the same goes for the G string. But – life is not that easy, is it? We do have an exception. To tune your B string, you need to hold the G string on the FOURTH fret. For tuning the e string (the last one), hold the B string on the fifth fret again.
This should suffice for more than 95 percent of all songs. Some of the songs require you to use the drop-D tuning, which goes DADGBe. It just means that your thickest string needs to be tuned to the D tone. And if you sometimes need to tune the whole instrument a little bit higher, I suggest you use the capodaster.
I really recommend you to tune your instrument every single time before you start playing. Once you get used to playing a perfectly tuned instrument, it gets really difficult to play a not-so-well tuned one. I wish you all the best and have a great time playing the guitar!