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How do you tune

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ex34.6, Mar 22, 2006.


  1. ex34.6

    ex34.6

    Mar 17, 2006
    Oregon
    I was curious how you guys tune your bass. Do you just tune EADG, or do you use your frets. What I've always done is for the e string, for example, I would try to get as close as possible to intune while playing an E and an A.

    I hope that made sense.
     
  2. flatwoundfender

    flatwoundfender

    Feb 24, 2005
    I tune EADG with a tuner then compare harmonics to check.
     
  3. ex34.6

    ex34.6

    Mar 17, 2006
    Oregon
    I know a lot of guitar players who do this, and I've tried, but I can't quite figure out how.
     
  4. Kheos

    Kheos

    Aug 12, 2002
    Belgium
    very easy
    first you make sure one string is in tune(let's say you go old fashion and tune your A string by a tuning fork, like I do)
    you play the harmonic on the E string on the 5th fret and compare it to the harmonic on the 7th fret on the A string

    if you play around with the tuning pegs you should hear
    wangwangwangwangwaangwaangwaaangwaaaangwaaaaaaaang and the moment you hear waaaaaaaaa, you know your strings are in tune
     
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Get a tuner. They are inexpensive, available and quite accurate.
     
  6. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    I use those little knobs at the end of the bass.
     
  7. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    I tune the 2nd octave A harmonic to an A on the piano, then tune the rest to that harmonic. To check the quality of my tuning job I play a C9 chord (no 7th) by fretting the C on the A string and playing all other 5th fret harmonics. If anything sounds off, I tweak accordingly.

    If there's no piano, I let the guitar player tune to himself then I tune to him.

    Tuners suck. They're nowhere near as accurate as the human ear.
     
  8. WillBuckingham

    WillBuckingham

    Mar 30, 2005
    I'm not so sure about that . . .
     
  9. I always tune by ear , my guitar player brougth a tuner one time It was a hassle to tune (all those leds ) . I just preffer to trust my ear . ;)
     
  10. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    To elaborate on tuning be harmonics... It may seem obvious, but when I first tried to learn to do it I didn't realize you had to play both harmonics at the same time. When you do so, you can actually hear the notes go out of phase, and you get a wierd spirally sound as the two signals clash with each other. As the "spinning" sound slows down, you're closer to being in tune, as it speeds up, you're getting farther out of tune.

    Once you're perfectly in tune, you should hear the notes perfectly, as if you only played one harmonic.

    HTH,
    -Dash
     
  11. Yeah. In the absence of a tuner, I'll usually get a "G" from either the guitar or piano, (usually the piano, since that's a set intonation and we have to tune to it; takes too long to re-tune a piano on stage...but I digress...) and after getting the "G" in tune, I'll do the rest with the harmonics using the "G" string as my starting note.

    I've heard an old wive's tale that once you tune the rest of the strings, the "G" isn't in tune anymore because you've changed the tension on the neck by tuning the other strings. IMO, it wouldn't change that much, unless you're REALLY out of whack. Anyone else heard this?
     
  12. flatwoundfender

    flatwoundfender

    Feb 24, 2005
    Yeah, I think that's only for new strings, or if your bass was really out of tune, if your slightly out of tune it probably won't change much, at least not enought to be noticable.
     
  13. barthanatos

    barthanatos Insert witty comment here

    Feb 8, 2006
    South Carolina
    Um... as far as I know this is absolutely true. I always go back and check everything after tightening up the other strings. The further out of tune you start, the stronger the phenomenon.
     
  14. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    日本/Alyeska
    Me too. Doesn't take long to run back through one more time, but once again, usually only noticeable if you were really far out of tune to begin with.
     
  15. Poop-Loops

    Poop-Loops Banned

    Mar 3, 2006
    Auburn, Washington
    To elaborate on this:

    If you have your A string at 440hz, and you're E 5th fret is at 439 (slightly flat) or 441 (slightly sharp), you'll hear a "wang" once per second. If it's either 438 or 442, you'll hear 2 per second. See where this is heading? The more times per second you hear it, the further apart the two frequencies are.
     
  16. ghorvers

    ghorvers

    Dec 22, 2005
  17. I use a "pitch pipe". It's easier the an electric tuner IMO, it's cheaper, it helps train your ears, it doesn't need batteries, and it doesn't break as easily.
    Pitch Pipe > Electric Tuner
     
  18. CrazyArcher

    CrazyArcher

    Aug 5, 2004
    Israel
    I usually tune it by ear according to the sound from GuitarPro, or if I don't have a PC available - by harmonics.
     
  19. remo

    remo

    Jan 15, 2005
    ALWAYS tune UP to the note, never down to it... the string tension through the nut and around the peg is always more uniform and way less prone to the SLIPPAGE that occurs when you tune DOWN to the note... this is the biggest tuning tip out there..

    I usually detune each string about a 1/2 step down and tune up from there.. E then A then D so on.. then I give the strings a bit of an upwards pull to make sure they all the slip from the tuning peg and nut is out, then one more final tune UP to the note... If I go higher than the note I start the process again..

    this way i only tune once a night and she stays spot on all night.
     
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    No use whatsoever if you're playing gigs in noisy clubs - electronic tuners are a must and I always carry spare batteries for all my gear!
     

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