E tuning note?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Sound Guy Paul, Aug 14, 2001.

  1. I have heard people say that you should tune to an A rather than an E. Why is this? Is it just because an E is to low and therefore harder to tune accurately?
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    As far as I know, it comes from the classical music orchestra tradition in which all instruments tune to the bassoon's A-440. Tuning forks are also in A-440, so it's a matter of convenience to tune to A and then find E through relative pitch.
  3. qsoxy


    May 4, 2001
    By tuning to the A string, you can tune the rest of the strings relative to the A.
    5th fret harmonic E = 7th fret harmonic A
    5th fret harmonic A = 7th fret harmonic D
    12th fret harmonic A = 2nd fret G
    Using harmonics ensures you get the exact note..pressing down on a fret will bend the string a bit, especially at the higher frets, and produce a slightly sharp tone. Thus using harmonics = better tuning.
    I think the A string is the only one to which all other strings can be tuned to with harmonics, and that's why some people suggest tuning to the A string.
    Also, by tuning all strings relative to A, you ensure that you don't accumulate bad tunings. E.g. lets say you tune A relative to E, and then tune D relative to A. If you were off when you tuned A relative to E, then when tuning D relative to A you might be way off, and the D string will not be in tune with the E string.
  4. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    most tuning forks are tuned to A
  5. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Actually, if your bass is perfectly intonated, it is impossible for every note to be perfectly in tune, at least using just intonation.

    The only way for every note on the bass to be perfectly in tune is to play a fretless and have a very good ear.