E flat guitar tuning is commonly used for many reasons, such as helping the vocalist sing in a more comfortable range. The same way that using a capo allows you to play in a higher key without changing chord fingerings, tuning your guitar down to E flat will allow you to play just like it was in standard tuning. Many artists use E flat tuning, and if you are have trouble learning your favorite artist's songs it may be because they use this tuning method. Several artists, including Guns N' Roses, Relient K, Green Day and KISS, use E flat guitar tuning.
Begin with your guitar tuned to standard tuning (EADGBE).
Tune the low E string down half a step. To do this, loosen the string slightly with the tuning knob and the hold down the fourth fret to check it against the A string. When in tune, the pitches will match.
Re-tune the rest of the guitar like you would for standard tuning using the now E flat string as the reference. Begin by holding down the fifth fret on the first string (E flat), pluck it and lower the second string to match that pitch.
Change the pitch of the third string by holding down the fifth fret on the second string and lowering the third string to match that pitch. Do the same on the fourth string with the third string as the reference.
Drop the pitch of the fifth string by holding down the fourth string on the fourth fret instead of the fifth and lower the fifth string to match the pitch.
Adjust the sixth string by holding down the fifth fret on the fifth string and lowering the sixth string to match the pitch. Your guitar should now be tuned to Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb.
Tips & Warnings
- Use a chromatic tuner or a piano to fine-tune your guitar.
- Play in E flat tuning the same way that you would in standard tuning.
- Be sure anyone you are playing with knows how your guitar is tuned. If you are in E flat and the bassist is in standard tuning, your vocalist will be very confused.
- You will probably have to retune more often using E flat than you would using standard tuning, especially if you are using older strings. Your strings and guitar will be used to the standard tuning, and even though it is only half a step, your guitar will still be more prone to going out of tune.
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