What Are the Guitar String Frequencies? Explanation and Sound Samples


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There are several tuning configurations for the guitar, what are their different frequencies?

Note: Note frequencies are general information, but I do want to thank Michigan tech for putting all the frequencies in one table.

I’ll be sharing the Standard Tuning along with its frequencies (this is what most guitar lesson books are written in) and I’ll share several alternate tunings and their frequencies.

Standard

This is the standard tuning of a guitar. This is what all the music books are written in and where most beginners start. There’s no limit as to how much or how little you use alternate tunings, but this is where most people start.

NoteFrequency (Hz)
E282.41
A2110
D3146.83
G3196
B3246.94
E4329.63

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Standard Guitar Tuning Sample

Drop Tunings

Drop D

NoteFrequency (Hz)
D273.42
A2110
D3146.83
G3196
B3246.94
E4329.63
Drop D Tuning Sample

Drop A

NoteFrequency (Hz)
A155
A2110
D3146.83
G3196
B3246.94
E4329.63
Drop-A Tuning Sample

Open Tunings

Open A

NoteFrequency (Hz)
E282.41
A2110
C#3/Db3138.59
E3164.81
A3220
E4329.63
Open-A Tuning Sample

Open B

NoteFrequency (Hz)
B161.74
F#2/Gb292.5
B2123.47
F#3/Gb3185
B3246.94
D#4/Eb4311.13
Open-B Tuning Sample

Open C

NoteFrequency (Hz)
C265.41
G298
C3130.81
G3196
C4261.63
E4329.63
Open-C Tuning Sample

Open D (More Common)

NoteFrequency (Hz)
D273.42
A2110
D3146.83
F#3/Gb3185
A3220
D4293.66
Open-D Tuning

Open E

NoteFrequency (Hz)
E282.41
B2123.47
E3164.81
G#3/Ab3207.65
B3246.94
E4329.63
Open-E Tuning Sample

Open F

NoteFrequency (Hz)
C265.41
F287.31
C3130.81
F3174.61
A3220
F4349.23
Open-F Tuning Sample

Open G

NoteFrequency (Hz)
D273.42
G298
D3146.83
G3196
B3246.94
D4293.66
Open-G Tuning Sample

Popular Tunings

There are hundreds (Wikipedia) of tuning options for the guitar so there’s no way I could list all the possible options, but I asked around in an online guitar community and found out some popular tunings that guitarists use. It turns out that many enjoy some of the following that I already listed above:

  • Drop D
  • Open F
  • Open G
  • Open C

DADGAD

NoteFrequency (Hz)
D273.42
A2110
D3146.83
G3196
A3220
D4293.66
DADGAD Tuning Sample

Half-Step Down (Jimi Hendrix Style)

NoteFrequency (Hz)
D#2/Eb277.78
G#2/Ab2103.83
C#3/Db3138.59
F#3/Gb3185
A#3/Bb3233.08
D#4/Eb4311.13
Half Step Down Tuning Sample

Which String Has The Highest Frequency In Guitar?

E4 has the highest frequency on a guitar with standard tuning.

Which one is meant to be tuned to E4? If you take a look at the picture below you’ll see the blue arrow is pointing to the thinnest string on the guitar–this string is meant to be tuned to E4, which is tuned to 329.63 Hz.

In contrast, E2, the string which is the thickest and is right next to my pick shown in the picture, is 82.41 Hz.

Are Some Tunings Bad For My Guitar? (A Warning About Alternate Tunings)

Now that you have all the frequencies for many of the common guitar tunings, you may want to go try them all out to see which one sounds best.

This is completely fine, but you might want to have your cheap strings on first. The thinnest guitar strings are most susceptible to snapping when tuned too high. If you go too far above the standard tuning for each string, you run the risk of snapping your strings.

It’s also possible to put too much stress on the delicate balance of your guitar’s neck relief (the bow in your guitar neck). Be warned, and be careful.

That being said, most tunings for the high E4 string don’t go above F4 for the reason of not wanting to snap their strings. The lower strings have a bit more slack (and therefore flexibility).

What Pitch Should My Guitar Tuner Be Set To?

It turns out that what we decide to be the frequency for the note C is somewhat arbitrary. There is no (at least not that we’ve discovered) magical connection between a note and its frequency. Over the years, musicologists and musicians have settled on A4 (A in the 4th octave) as 440Hz.

There are of course other options–but to keep things simple and to be on track with most circumstances you’ll be in, 440Hz will work great for you.

Just for fun, though, if you would like to see the frequencies for a guitar tuned to 432 Hz (a common standard used mostly in the past)… here you go!

NoteFrequency (Hz)
E280.91
A2108
D3144.16
G3192.43
B3242.45
E4323.63
432Hz Standard Tuning Sample

Peter Mitchell

Founder of this website. Lover of sound, music, hot sauce, and technology.

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