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Basic tuning

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by John Spoon, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. John Spoon

    John Spoon

    Dec 12, 2006
    Hi, I'm new. I just got a relatively cheap 4/4 sized double bass. I've tuned it EADG, but the strings seem really really loose and I can't get much of a tone out of the E. The other 3 can be sounded, but I'm just wondering if I'm after tuning an octave too low or something. Is this possible?

    I'm a little reluctant to experiment in case I tune it too high and the thing explodes. :bag:

    Yeah, I know it's a dumb question. But anyone know any simple ways to check if I'm pitching in the right octave or not? None of these emoticons look quite embarrassed enough. :(
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Took me a while but I found an online piano keyboard at http://flashmusicgames.com/piano3o1.html

    The lowest G on the keyboard corresponds to the G string on your bass, at least what I hear from my PC.
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004

    It is most likely a 3/4 bass. If you are just installing the strings, did you make sure that the sound post is in place?
  4. I've seen cheap new basses come with strings that aren't really bass strings, and they feel about like you describe. They're just meant to hold things together until somone sets the bass up, I guess. Anyway, best bet is to get another musician, teacher, luthier etc. to look at it. To be tuned an octave too low seems to me like it'd be pretty obvious, so my bet is on the strings... :rolleyes:
  5. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Indeed! Excellent point.
  6. John Spoon

    John Spoon

    Dec 12, 2006
    Thanks for the replies!

    It's definitely a 4/4, and when I say cheap, I mean about $2,500, not $500. The sound post is in. It came with strings attached (pardon the pun) but loose and with the bridge removed. There was marks to indicate where the bridge goes. The setup etc was done in the shop. But that was in a far away land.
  7. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    What makes you think it is a 4/4? What is the string length (i.e., from nut to bridge)? As evidenced by many threads here, what is referred to as a 4/4 or 3/4 bass is not standard. It is the case, however, that most of us play what would be regarded as 3/4 basses with string lengths around 41.5-42.0".

    Where are you located? While $2,500 is certainly in the lower end of pricing given the enormous range covered by double basses, that amount certainly can fetch a quite respectable instrument-- usually an upper-end laminate or a hybrid. In what "far away land" was the setup done?

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