Used by the renowned funk musician Curtis Mayfield, F sharp is one of the guitar's most popular open tunings. Opening up new tonic possibilities and perfectly suited for slide guitar, you can get your guitar into F sharp in about 5 minutes with the steps below.
Make sure your guitar is in tune in standard (E-A-D-G-B-E) tuning. It is easiest to put your guitar into F sharp using the benchmarks of standard tuning.
Using your online tuner as a guide (see Resources), slowly raise the pitch of your low E string to F sharp, which is a whole step above E. Be very cautious and only turn the tuner in small increments, as quickly tuning a guitar string (in either direction) can cause it to snap suddenly.
Repeat the above step so that your tuning is as follows (from bottom to top): F sharp, A sharp, C sharp, F sharp, A sharp and F sharp. This means both E strings will be raised a whole step, the A string will be raised a half step, and the D, G and B strings will be lowered half a step.
Re-check the tuning of all the strings after you have tuned the top E string, as tuning one string can cause others to go out of tune. After giving the guitar a little time to adjust to its new tuning (10 to 15 minutes), it will be ready to play.
Because the low and high strings are tuned up a whole step, thus putting more tension on them, they are more likely to break. Use caution when playing or tuning in F sharp. Do not rapidly switch back and forth between tunings, as tuning itself slowly weakens strings over time.
Erik Steel is a graduate of the University of Michigan, earning his bachelor's degree in Russian. Steel has worked as writer for more than four years and has contributed content to eHow and Pluck on Demand. His work recently appeared in the literary journal "Arsenic Lobster."