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Harmonic double bass tuning like Edgar Meyer?

Discussion in 'Ask the Berklee Bass Department' started by atomicbass, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. atomicbass


    Mar 9, 2010
    Hi there,

    Love your Berklee photo! My dad went to Berklee back in the mid-1950's (for jazz guitar)...so I always knew there was a "Berkley" on the east coast!;)

    Here's my question: I saw Edgar Meyer perform last Sunday in Albuquerque. (He was awesome!!!) I wanted to ask him a question, but I think he had a cold, and disappeared right after his concert.

    I noticed that he tuned his bass differently than I do. He used harmonics, but bowed 2 strings at a time (interval), and his 2 fingers were very close together. I think he might have been tuning a harmonic third or fifth, but I'm not sure.

    (I tune the "regular" way with harmonics...across 2 strings, but use the same tone on each with my hand spread open across the 2 strings.)

    Any of you pros know how to tune like Edgar did?


  2. Steve Bailey

    Steve Bailey

    Feb 15, 2013
    Good timing for this question. 9 of our bass students and I got to spend a couple hours with Edgar a couple of weeks ago. He played his whole solo program for us, and made a really cool hang for the students.
    Need I say it was a magical experience.

    His tuning is typically E B E A, with a low C extension. That's simply Solo Tuning with the low string left standard.

    Edgar, aside from being one of the all time great Arco soloists, is a great composer, unique pizz stylist AND a wonderful person!

    Anyone who gets a chance to catch his solo show will not believe their ears and eyes.
  3. atomicbass


    Mar 9, 2010
    Thanks, Steve! Appreciate the fast response.

    I figured his tuning was different than standard E A D G. I've never heard anyone tune harmonically like he did, tho...it was almost like he was tuning a violin! I was puzzled by how he used fingers 1 & 2 to set the harmonics across 2 strings, instead of fingers 1 & 4.

    Your 9 bass students were VERY lucky to have spent time with Edgar....they will remember that experience forever! (Like when I saw Gary Karr play in the 1970s...I was in awe...still am!)


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