May 1, 2023

B Standard Tuning: How To Tune Your Guitar To B Standard

Have you listened to a song, and the guitar parts sound really low?

Really, really low?

Is that even a guitar you’re hearing, or is it a bass? And how can you even reach those notes on a guitar?

While the standard guitar has 6 strings, you’ll occasionally come across specialty guitars that have 7 or even 8 strings. More and more guitarists have been using these guitars to reach lower notes.

That said, you don’t need more than 6 strings to be able to get those extra-low notes that songs in B Standard Tuning call for — here’s everything you need to know about B Standard tuning and how to tune to it.

What Is B Standard Tuning?

B Standard tuning is the lowest you would ever tune a standard guitar.

You could technically tune lower to A Standard, but most guitars aren’t designed to handle the lack of string tension, which can lead to other issues.

B Standard will give you a low, deep tone while providing similar chord shapes and solo runs to Standard Tuning.

The standard EADGBE will be changed to:

  • Low B

  • E

  • A

  • D

  • F#

  • B

The addition of the E Major scale’s lower perfect fourth B gives you a familiar, yet unique sound to your guitar.

How To Tune Your Guitar To B Standard

[RS+] How To Tune Your Guitar To B Standard - Tuner App

Working from the string closest to you, tune the following strings:

  • String 6, the biggest string closest to you, will go from your Low E to your Low B

  • String 5 will go from A to E

  • String 4 will go from D to A

  • String 3 will go from G to D

  • String 2 will go from B to F#

  • And finally, your thinnest string farthest from you will go from High E to High B

After going through each string and tuning it to the right note, strum your guitar and check for any vibrations that don’t feel quite right. Try playing through a couple of familiar chords to feel the difference in playability.

There will be a difference in the feel of your guitar, since the strings will be much looser throughout.

If you’re without a tuner but need to get to B Standard in a pinch, you can tune your strings by matching them to notes you play on another string.

We’ll start with the string closest to you, which is your Low E.

To get this to your Low B, play the second fret of the A string (the second-closest string to you, aka String 5), and tune your Low E until it matches that note, which is B. Remember, you’re tuning down, so your Low B should sound lower in pitch compared to the B you’re playing on the second fret of your A string.

To get your A string (String 5) to E, play the second fret of the D string (String 4), and match the notes, just like you did above.

To get your D string (String 4) to A, play the second fret of the G string (String 3), and match the notes.

To get your G string (String 3) to D, play the third fret of the B string (String 2), and match the notes.

To get your B string (String 2) to F+, play the second fret of your highest string (High E, String 1), and match the notes.

Last but not least, your highest string is just the High B to your Low B, so you can head back down to that thickest string (String 6, closest to you) to match the notes.

A Few Technical Checks

If you have a string action gauge, it’s a good time to check your string height at the 12th fret, and increase or decrease the string heights at the bridge. This is unfortunately not an option for acoustics with bridge pins.

If you have a small ruler, you can also take these measurements. The ZERO marking on the ruler must be at the edge, with your measurements being taken from on top of the metal fret itself.

Check the straightness of your neck by comparing the distance at the 1st fret, and the distance at the 12th fret. This distance should be consistent, with no bows or arches as you look down the fretboard. If the neck isn’t straight, you’ll need to find the right Allen key and adjust your truss rod.

Use a Quality Guitar Tuner

[RS+] How To Tune Your Guitar To B Standard - Tuner In-Game

To tune as low as B Standard, you’ll need a quality guitar tuner that either has B Standard programmed, or lets you tune chromatically.

Rocksmith+ has an in-game tuner with more than 30 tuning options for your guitar. It works directly with either the Rocksmith+ Connect app on your phone or through the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable to get your guitar in perfect tune.

Changing Strings for B Standard Tuning

While you could drop your daily played guitar to B Standard tuning to learn a new song, it might be worth setting up a second guitar if you find you really like the songs played in B Standard and want to stay in B Standard by default.

The major change you would make in this second setup would be switching to a larger string gauge.

On your guitar, thinner strings are used to play higher note tones. This is why your low E string is so much larger than your high E string. While they are both playing an E note, the frequencies are very different.

Frequency is how fast a string vibrates as it is played, measured in hertz (Hz); this is the number of times the string changes direction per second. If you have a smartphone, you can see this clearly by taking a slow-motion video and plucking your low string.

The low E string on your guitar vibrates at 82.41 Hz, while the high E string vibrates at 329.63 Hz.

The smaller string is able to change directions more rapidly.

Since you are lowering the overall sound of your guitar, your current guitar strings would have to be loosened to a point where they become floppy, and lose their crisp sound. To avoid this, you can use a larger string.

Buying Guitar Strings For B Standard!

[RS+] How To Tune Your Guitar To B Standard - Guitar Strings

With B Standard tuning being more of a niche tuning, you may find it difficult to find the right strings at your local music store.

Some manufacturers have created string sets to meet this need, with sizes such as 13/72 and 12/72.

Another way to acquire the needed strings is to buy a standard pack of strings, omitting use of the high E string, then purchasing a singular 15 gauge string to take its place. You can usually find a singular guitar string for around just $1.

A final option, and one many guitarists opt for, is to purchase a 7 string guitar set, again getting rid of the high E string. These sets are designed to reach that low B, and will remain consistent to a single manufacturer’s string design.

Possible Changes With Larger Strings

As you string your guitar with thicker strings, you may need to adjust the string nut. Each string is designed to sit relatively firmly within the nut without a lot of movement, ensuring it sits all the way to the bottom. When moving to a larger string, you may need to open up the string gaps on the nut just a bit.

Another common change when altering guitar string sizes is adjusting the truss rod. A different string will need more or less tension to achieve a proper action. This could alter the force against the neck, and ultimately change the arch. You’ll need to tighten or loosen the truss rod.

You may need to adjust the bridge height for the individual strings. With larger strings on your guitar, it could change the overall height that the string sits at. Adjusting the bridge can help equalize all of your strings relative to each other and the fretboard.

Each component has a maximum bored hole size. You’ll need to check the rear attachment to the guitar, and the tuning pegs themselves to make sure the string will fit.

While all of this sounds like a lot of work to change your guitar's tuning, these basic adjustments can really improve the playability of your guitar, and should be periodically checked and adjusted.

Tuning Your Newly Strung Guitar

If you’re planning on staying in B Standard Starting from Standard E tuning, you can still follow the above steps to tune, after you string your guitar with the new set of larger strings.

It’s important that you take your time when reducing the tension from your old strings, as well as when you’re tightening your new strings.

Once you have the new strings installed, tighten them simultaneously, moving between strings to tighten each string just a bit at a time — you shouldn’t have one string tightly in tune while the rest are so loose they’re still flopping around. These unequal tensions could cause issues with your guitar.

Once you get the strings to tension, tune your guitar to BEADF#B, starting at the string closest to you**.**

Try Some New Songs

[RS+] How To Tune Your Guitar To B Standard - Song List

Now that your guitar is tuned to B Standard tuning, try playing through some familiar songs, chords, and solos, really taking in the differences of depth within the music.

That's one of the main goals with B tuning --- depth.

If you’re looking to learn a range of songs in B Standard tuning, check out Rocksmith+.

Once you open the Rocksmith+ app on your computer, click the “SEARCH” tab at the top of the screen. While you can organize by genre and difficulty, you can also filter by tuning — click the “ALL GENRES” category to see all of the B Standard songs.

At the top right of the screen, click on the “FILTERS” tab which will drop down, allowing you to filter the more than 6,000 songs by arrangement, tuning, capo, difficulty, genres, creators, and status. By clicking the “TUNING” option, you can choose from more than 30 different tunings, allowing you to practice songs for your current guitar setup.

Once you choose a song you want to learn, you can use the slider option to choose a difficulty. Under the slider, it will explain what is changing with difficulty, such as the addition of chords, solos, and so on. 100% difficulty is equal to the music being played by the original artist, allowing you to work your way up to a performance standard.

This increased difficulty means you can learn ANY song, starting at your current playing level, and advancing as you grasp new concepts and each part of the song.

B Standard tuning is just the beginning. With more than 30 alternative tunings to try out, Rocksmith+ lets you practice new songs every day to help you get where you want to be.


Musician Who Popularized 7-String Guitar - The New York Times

Frequency and Pitch | Iowa State University

How Guitars Work | Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation

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