1. Turn off. If you are on stage, please turn off/mute the sound feed going to the audience. The audience does not want to hear you tune.
2. Tune up to the note. When you are tuning, never tune your machine heads down to the desired note. You should always start flat and then sharpen the note until the pitch is correct.
3. ALWAYS use a tuner. Tuning your guitar going string by string, fretting the 5th to get the note on the next string etc, does not work. Let me repeat, This method will NOT get your guitar in tune. There are a number of reasons why it does not work. First and easiest to understand is that, as you push down on a fret, the harder the force you push down, the sharper the note gets. Unless you push down with the precise amount of pressure as defined by your guitar manufacturer, you will end up compounding your sharp or flatness as your progress up your strings. The gauge of your strings and what is suggested by the guitar manufacturer also will compound the issue. The more scientific reason this does not work has to do with temperance tuning and how an octave is divided into 12 tones. We won’t get into the details in this article but we will have a future article on this topic.
4. Wait a second. when you first strike a string the note is slightly sharp. You need to wait a beat after plucking the string to see if the note you are playing is sharp or flat. Constantly picking the string as you tune will make your entire guitar tuned slightly sharp.