The traditional and recommended way to tune the krar or begena is by ear. Listen to songs by accomplished players and intimately learn the melody. Then attempt to play the melody on your instrument and tune the strings till the melody sounds true. You should choose one favorite song for each kignit. Start by tuning the 6th string to the highest note you can comfortably sing. This will ensure that the instrument is tuned properly for your vocal range.
You can also tune your instrument using a piano or keyboard. Please note that western keyboards are tuned using equal temperament while Ethiopian music uses pure temperament. This will cause slight discrepancies in your tuning but it will be acceptable to most.
The main kignits are spelled out below. Click here to go to a kignit player where you can see and listen to all 20 kignits.