# Bass pitch frequencies and other resources?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by wetnoodles, Aug 20, 2001.

1. ### wetnoodles

Aug 5, 2001
Southern California
I am interested in learning more about the physical sound properties of the bass guitar. First off, how do I determine the frequencies (in Hertz) of each note on the fretboard of the bass starting from the low E string? Also, does anyone know of any good books or resources on the net that go into the idea of fundamental frequencies, harmonics, etc. from a musical perspective (specifically the bass)?

Thank you

2. ### seamus

Feb 8, 2001
Jersey

http://www.azstarnet.com/~solo/insrange.htm

Page down to the keyboard at bottom.

see B0? B string, ~31 Hz
see E1? E string, ~41Hz
and so on...

Hope that helps. Maybe someone else could offer book suggestions on this?

3. ### wetnoodles

Aug 5, 2001
Southern California
Thanks Seamus, that definitely part of what I'm looking for.

Does anyone know if there is a mathematical formula to derive all the pitches based on A440?

I swear I'm not intentionally asking others to do research for me, I'm just frustrated and need some starting points. I would eventually like to learn this stuff well and do a nice write up of the physical sound properties of the bass guitar.

4. ### MikeyD

Sep 9, 2000
I'm glad you're trying to learn as much as you can. The standard 12-tone tempered scale is obtained by having each pitch at a fixed ratio of frequency from its neighbor. That ratio is the twelfth root of 2 (approx. 1.059463). If you take this ratio to the twelfth power, you get 2, which is the ratio of frequencies of a full octave. So get your calculator out, count the number of half-steps away from a known pitch (easiest are the A standards - 440, 220, 110, 55, 27.5), then take the ratio to the power of the number of half-steps. If you are going down in pitch, use your result as the divisor. Otherwise, it's the multiplier.
- Mike

5. ### wetnoodles

Aug 5, 2001
Southern California
Thanks MikeyD, I'll test this out. Anymore related info is certainly welcome.

6. ### melvin

Apr 28, 2001
Hey that stuff is interesting, Im gonna start looking at that stuff.

7. ### MikeyD

Sep 9, 2000
Between the formula I gave and the pitch-frequency tables available on the web, that's all you need. If you want to get into the theory of pitch intervals and psychoacoustics (e.g., why a major third sounds pleasing to the ear) - well, that's a big subject. Note that the major third in the tempered scale is not a harmonically perfect major third, and good musicians try to compensate a little if they can.
- Mike

8. ### wetnoodles

Aug 5, 2001
Southern California
Thanks again MikeyD, what you posted was exactly what I was looking for.

Once I tried out the formula and saw it was producing the correct results, I started checking the overtones and noticed what you mentioned; that the major thirds were close to existing pitch frequencies but not perfect. I have a fretless bass so it would be easy to compensate for the slight pitch difference, that is if my ear is good enough to even tell the difference.

Now that I understand how to figure out the frequency in hertz of any pitch on the bass fretboard along with the related overtones, I can now eliminate the guess-work when dialing in my amplifier sound and do it by the numbers.

9. ### MikeyD

Sep 9, 2000
I'm glad you found it useful, and you're welcome.
- Mike

Sep 26, 2000
Wisconsin
11. ### embellisherHoly Ghost filled Bass PlayerSupporting Member

Once your ear is able to tell the difference, it will become very obvious to you when playing say a chord or a root+major 3rd double stop.

That's why I love fretless so much, the major third sounds much better, and the fretless has vastly improved my ears.