Tuning

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by terryjj1, Aug 20, 2012.


  1. terryjj1

    terryjj1 Guest

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    Interested to know how many of you can tune a bass by ear alone or still use a tuner for at least the A string or all strings?...I use it for the A string and then use the A string to tune the other strings...can get pretty close by ear with the others..I'm still training my ear..

    Thanks

    TJ
     
  2. Jack Clark

    Jack Clark

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    If I had an arco-capable instrument, I'd use a tuner for the A string and go from thereĀ—with a bow, of course, and using harmonics. Nothing like having an instrument in tune with itself. But with my odd pizz-only instruments, I get better and must faster results tuning each string individually with a clip-on tuner.

    I occasionally jam with a bluegrass player with zero music training, who tunes up strictly by ear with no reference tone at all. He's always perfect with my tuner. Must be nice.
     
  3. longfinger

    longfinger

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    I'm curious if people here tune the open strings in pure Perfect 4ths based on one tuned reference string, of if they use tempered fourths where all strings fit in the tempered tuning grid.

    I use the tempered tuning grid, as I figure I'm playing with fretted guitars and tempered tuned pianos. And open string tuning with a tuner is reliable.
     
  4. Jack Clark

    Jack Clark

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    This is a question that I'm asking out of genuine ignorance:

    Given your question: Would it make sense to tune your bass based on one tuned reference string if you were, for whatever reason, playing alone? And would it make sense to tune to a tempered piano or guitar or other instrument when playing with others?
     
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  6. longfinger

    longfinger

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    > Would it make sense to tune your bass based on one tuned reference string if you were, for whatever reason, playing alone?

    Likely yes. Or if you're playing with other non-tempered instruments like string quartet, winds, vocal ensemble etc.

    > And would it make sense to tune to a tempered piano or guitar or other instrument when playing with others?

    Yes I think so when playing with fretted instruments and keyboards. For guitars, we can use the same electronic tuner, and then or/ tune to each other. For acoustic pianos it depends if the piano is in tune with itself. For electronic keyboard, tuning to the keyboard is much the same as tuning to the tuner, except I use my ears instead of my eyes.


    Thing is in reality, it is easier for me to just use the tuner for the open strings and have everything in tempered fourths. I don't play with string quartets and the like.

    For all the stopped notes finger position, I'm finding easier and more useful to play with tempered accompaniment to tune the notes, rather than using the bass' resonances with the open strings, which could give me out of tune notes when playing with the guitar or piano. (Really they are the ones 'out if tune', but it will not sound like it. I will sound out).
     
  7. megafiddle

    megafiddle

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    I tune by ear against either a piano, or guitar, or banjo, depending on who I am playing with.
    I do not tune my open strings to the corresponding notes on a piano, for example. Instead,
    I tune my open string to a corresponding major chord on whatever instrument is the dominant
    chordal instrument in the band. I also check the 12th fret against that same chord, and adjust
    until both open and octave are good.

    I believe the bass needs a little bit of "stretching" just as pianos do, flattening the lowest
    notes. I also adjust intonation by ear, so that both open and 12th fret sound good against a chord.
    That is after all how it's going to be heard in the end.

    I've had the opportunity to hear, and play with, some instruments that sounded incredible, mainly
    because of their tuning. I think it's the single best thing you can do for your sound.

    I don't have perfect pitch, though, and I'm completely lost without some reference. I can tune a bass
    to itself once I get it in the ballpark with some kind of reference. But for actually playing a song,
    I tune to "the band".
     

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