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Ever have a night....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ProfGumby, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. ProfGumby


    Jan 15, 2007
    Michigan's U.P.
    Did you ever have a night where nothing sounds right? I am having one right now...My Ash Jazz bass is in tune, according to the tuner and my other basses, but it just sounds off....when playing alond with cd's, it sounds like it is tuned too high or something....everything sounds off....

    I haven't tried any others yet....

    But did you ever have a situation where something just doesn't sound right, or sound in tune etc....
  2. Sub5ound

    Sub5ound Banned

    Sep 6, 2008
    Catskills, New York
    Do you know how to check your intonation? Is a fretted note at the 12th fret the same as the open note? Or is it sharp or flat?
  3. I just went through this while recording this past week. I used the studio tuner and had a well broken in set of strings on my bass. For some reason every string seemed a bit sharp. He even did a close up of each note on each string and each note was exactly the same pitch off on each note that I played. The B string was right on though, but I tuned that by ear since the tuner wouldn't pick it up. I thought it was the intonation and was planning on going to get a set up when Chris, the studio owner, calls me and says that someone messed with the tuner and adjusted it from 440 to 445, making everything sharp. I was glad to hear that since I didn't really have an extra $70 for a set up. So it may be your tuner or your intonation or even the way you're pressing down on the strings. Sometimes that will throw off the note.
  4. DaveF


    Dec 22, 2007
    New Westminster, BC
    Two things usually cause this for me....

    1) Sitting too close to the speaker or using headphones. Notes always sound a little off with headphones to me.

    2) If I'm really tired, I often perceive notes to be "off" or "bad sounding"

    So I usually try to get a good sleep! :)
  5. I believe you can also attribute this to ear fatigue. At some point, you just have to put the bass down and rest your ears for a while.
  6. Earwigger

    Earwigger I'm a Roland man now.

    Aug 23, 2005
    Cleveland, Ohio
    The tuner being uncalibrated is usually the cause of that. It should be at 440hz. Even being at 441 will make a pretty noticeable difference. On my tuner the calibration buttons are right next to the power button, so I hit them by accident all the time.
  7. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Beware! All recordings are NOT tuned to an A 440 pitch. It is not uncommon to have some variation. It may not be your bass at all.

    Good luck with it.
  8. Yup, it has happened to me (just a few times)...

    It's like a warble-y sound, like the sound is dizzy.

    Only cure I know, was already listed above...find silence, and rest your ears.
  9. kb9wyz


    Sep 8, 2008
    Totally, Bro.

    This Wednesday at practice (worship band) there was this song with a whole lot of Chord/Non-root thing going on. When I played it with the piano, it sounded fine. When I played it with the guitars, which is how it will be on Sunday, I thought my head would explode. I had to stare at my hand to make sure I was hitting the right notes because it all sounded like horse flop.:mad:
  10. hesham8


    Mar 21, 2008
    Today's been like that at band practice. I played everything perfectly, but it didn't sound like it to my ear. Judging from my life experiences, I'm going to be a total mess in front of that A&R guy come Friday - but then resume perfection the day after.
  11. gillento


    Oct 15, 2005
    Luxembourg, Europe
    Nordstrand pickups
    Maybe you are fingering to hard with your left hand, causing the fretted notes to go sharp.
  12. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    tonite's gig, :rolleyes:

    for some odd reason everytime i went to my b string's low E note, it sounded really weak, whereas all the other notes sounded fine! came home thinking i had a deadspot, but it sounded ok. ugh... think billyfitzmo mentioned something about this to me a little while ago.

    and dont even make me bring up thurs' guitar tracking session... :(
  13. I remember hearing at some class that tuning is different in europe and in the usa, europe has A at 440hz and the usa have A at 442hz, it does make a huge difference, a friend of mine has a tuner he got from america and when he tunes up with it and the rest of the band with another one it sounds really out of tune!
    Also depending on what kind of tune you are playing along, its not rare to hear old bands play completely out of tune on recordings!
    A few beatles, led zep, bob marley tunes are just a tuning nightmare! ( listen to I shot the sheriff from marley, his E string is almost half a tone flat)
    Also, there is a third possible explanation, how it was recorded!
    Back in the days everything was tape recorded, to make it short if you play the tape faster or slower than it was turning when recording you change the pitch! It was used often because it also changes the sound a little but the pitch to! I think a good example is Lucy in the sky with diamonds, lennons voice was tweaked that way...
    Some tunes are impossible to play in tune to without being out of tune, if that makes any sense! If its not your bass its the CD, little chance its your ears...
    Hope this helps.

    Im just speaking about playing along some audio tracks here, nothing do do with things sounding odd live!
    Just thought about another one, listen to the famous version of No Woman No Cry on Bob Marley legend, its also off by at least a semi tone, that was either because they where all tuned to an out of tune piano or tuner or its because it was recorded live with a tape recorder and then mixed at a different play speed like i explained earlier...
  14. A 440Hz is concert pitch.

    Many philharmonics, however, will tune to A 442Hz...

    the extra 2Hz injects a bit more "presence" into the music and makes everything sound a little more "dramatic".

    One band I played in in the mid-80's used to tune to A 442Hz. I liked the sound.

    I rely on my tuner, but I ALWAYS double check with the keys at church (my tuners set on A 440 and so is the piano). And then I check with the guitarist and make him move to where we are.
  15. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Fatigue or a headcold can make pitches sound off to me.
  16. ProfGumby


    Jan 15, 2007
    Michigan's U.P.
    I have to check that out, as my son is always messin with the tuner and sometimes I have to hunt for it as he leves it all over the house....
  17. ProfGumby


    Jan 15, 2007
    Michigan's U.P.
    Rest assured, that is not it....probably the best thing I ever learned was how to set the intonation on my basses! :D

    Though you are absolutely correct that intonation being off makes all sorts of off notes....I just checked the tuner and well, it was calibrated at 479.....I think we have a winner!!! I tuned up and played along with the track and it sounds right again...well, except for the sucky bass player in my desk chair...

    I was so sodding tired and wiped out from a super long day of work, no wonder I didn't catch that!

    BTW, someone mentioned that many artists back in the day played so far out of tune etc...I was trying to play along with Strange Brew and while I don't think Jack Bruce ever played way out of tune, I do know he pretty much never really played the same song, the same way twice!

    Thanks for all the great replies and some interesting info about 440 vs 442...my only experience with a 442 was a Hurst Olds in the 80's and that was a whole different sound!


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