How To Tune A 12 String Guitar: The EPIC Guide

older acoustic guitar hanging the wall

Tuning a 12-string guitar can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right approach and tools, it's definitely doable. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player, it's important to know how to properly tune your guitar to ensure the best sound and playability. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of how to tune a 12-string guitar, step by step.

To tune a 12-string guitar, start by tuning the lower E, A, D, G, B, and high E strings using a guitar tuner or tuning fork. Then, tune the octave strings on each of the six courses by matching their pitch to the corresponding lower string.

How to Tune a 12-String Guitar Diagram (Chart)

Here's a table for tuning a 12-string guitar:

StringNoteTuning Method
1 (high E)EGuitar tuner or tuning fork
2 (octave E)ETune to 1st string
3 (B)BGuitar tuner or tuning fork
4 (octave B)BTune to 3rd string
5 (G)GGuitar tuner or tuning fork
6 (octave G)GTune to 5th string
7 (D)DGuitar tuner or tuning fork
8 (octave D)DTune to 7th string
9 (A)AGuitar tuner or tuning fork
10 (octave A)ATune to 9th string
11 (low E)EGuitar tuner or tuning fork
12 (octave low E)ETune to 11th string

It's important to note that the octave strings (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12) should be tuned to the corresponding lower string in each course. For example, the 2nd string should be tuned to the same pitch as the 1st string, and so on. This will ensure that the guitar is properly tuned and sounding its best.

Tuning a 12-String Guitar with a Chromatic Tuner

Tuning a 12-string guitar can be challenging, especially for beginners. However, with the help of a chromatic tuner, it can be made easier. Get my favorite guitar tuner here to tune your 12 string guitar.

Here are the steps to tuning a 12-string guitar with a chromatic tuner:

  1. Start by tuning the low E strings of the guitar. Tune the first E string to E2 and the second E string to E4.
  2. Move on to the A strings. Tune the first A string to A2 and the second A string to A4.
  3. Tune the D strings next. The first D string should be tuned to D3 and the second D string should be tuned to D4.
  4. Tune the G strings. Tune the first G string to G3 and the second G string to G4.
  5. Tune the B strings. Tune the first B string to B3 and the second B string to B4.
  6. Finally, tune the high E strings. Tune the first high E string to E4 and the second high E string to E5.

It is important to note that the octave designations may differ based on the tuning of your guitar. Make sure to check your guitar’s specific tuning before proceeding with tuning.

Using a chromatic tuner can make the process of tuning a 12-string guitar much easier and more accurate. Simply follow the steps above and you will be well on your way to tuning your 12-string guitar with confidence.

Differences In 6 String Guitar vs 12 String Guitar Tuning

When tuning a 6-string guitar, the standard tuning is E-A-D-G-B-E, from low to high. However, when tuning a 12-string guitar, the tuning is the same but with doubled strings, creating a total of 12 strings. The lowest strings, E and A, have their doubled strings tuned to an octave higher than the main string, while the remaining strings have their doubled strings tuned to the same pitch as the main string.

One important thing to keep in mind when tuning a 12-string guitar is the tension on the neck and bridge. With twice as many strings, the tension on the neck and bridge is increased, which can cause issues such as buzzing or even damage if not properly addressed. It's important to check the guitar's neck and bridge for any signs of warping or damage before tuning and to make any necessary adjustments to ensure proper tension and alignment.

Another important consideration when tuning a 12-string guitar is the type of strings used. It's recommended to use lighter gauge strings to reduce the tension on the neck and bridge, which can help prevent damage and improve playability. It's also important to ensure that the strings are properly seated and stretched to prevent slipping or detuning.

Overall, while tuning a 12-string guitar may seem intimidating at first, with some practice and attention to detail, it can become just as familiar as tuning a 6-string guitar. Properly tuning and maintaining a 12-string guitar can help ensure optimal sound quality and longevity of the instrument.

What is the proper tuning for a 12-string guitar?

The proper tuning for a 12-string guitar is similar to a 6-string guitar but with an octave and doubled string. The most common tuning is EADGBE for the first six strings, and then the bottom four strings are tuned in pairs an octave apart. The 7th and 8th strings are both tuned to the note B, the 9th and 10th strings to E, and the 11th and 12th strings to G#. However, alternative tunings are also used, depending on the player's preference and the style of music being played.

Is there an app to tune a 12-string guitar?

There are several apps available that can help you tune your 12-string guitar. Some popular options include GuitarTuna, Fender Tune, and PitchLab Guitar Tuner. These apps use your phone's microphone to listen to the sound of each string and provide visual feedback to help you tune them accurately.

Additionally, some apps allow you to select different tuning modes, including those specifically designed for 12-string guitars. However, it's important to note that these apps may not be as accurate as a dedicated chromatic tuner, so it's always a good idea to double-check your tuning by ear.

Online 12-String Guitar Tuners (with your microphone)

Here are some links to online 12-string guitar tuners that use your microphone:

  1. Fender Online Guitar Tuner -
  2. -
  3. -

Please note that the accuracy of online tuners can vary depending on factors such as the quality of your microphone and ambient noise. It's always a good idea to also have a physical tuner on hand to double-check your tuning.

12-String Guitar Tuning Frequencies

When tuning a 12-string guitar, it is important to know the correct frequencies for each string.

Below are the standard tuning frequencies for a 12-string guitar:

  1. High E (octave higher than the 1st string on a 6-string guitar): 329.63 Hz
  2. B: 246.94 Hz
  3. G: 196.00 Hz
  4. D: 146.83 Hz
  5. A: 110.00 Hz
  6. Low E (octave higher than the 6th string on a 6-string guitar): 82.41 Hz

It is recommended to use a chromatic tuner or an online tuner to ensure accuracy when tuning a 12-string guitar to these frequencies. Keeping the guitar properly tuned will not only improve the sound quality but also prolong the life of the strings and the guitar itself.

Is tuning a 12-string guitar hard?

Tuning a 12-string guitar can be a bit more challenging than tuning a standard 6-string guitar due to the additional strings and increased tension. However, with practice and the proper tools, tuning a 12-string guitar can become easier. Using a chromatic tuner or online tuner can help ensure accurate tuning and save time. It is also important to regularly change the strings and keep the guitar properly maintained to make tuning easier.

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David Sandy

Hey there! My name is David Sandy and I'm the founder of Sandy Music Lab. I've been playing guitar for several years now and created this site to be able to share and explore music with others.
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