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How many octaves...?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by DaMaGe, Inc., Mar 23, 2005.


  1. How many octaves lower is a bass than guitar? One, right?

    I'm going to do a 'speech' for English class tomorrow, so I thought I'd ask here just to make sure.
     
  2. DaftCat

    DaftCat

    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat
    Sounds correct to me.
     
  3. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    On a normal four-string, the low E is an octave lower than the low E on a guitar. Although some subcontra basses are going down to a low C# at this point (a full octave and three half-steps below a bass' low E).
     
  4. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    only one octave?

    I thought the low E on a 4-string bass was atleast 2 below a low e on a guitar?
     
  5. Yeah I thought it would be about 2 octaves as well.
     
  6. I seem to remember that it's 2 octaves ; but it's written 1 octave lower to fit on the staff.
    Maybe someone with better theory than I have will chime in.
     
  7. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Play the E on the D string of your bass-it's the same octave as the low E on a guitar.
     
  8. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Both guitar and bass are transposing instruments. That means that the written notes are not the ones you hear. For both instruments, transposition is the same: They're written one octave higher than the actual pitches. For instance: The open E (1st string) on the guitar is written in the fourth space, treble clef, but you hear the first line E. The bass' open G is written in the fourth space, bass clef, but you hear the first line G. (Lines and spaces on music notation are understood from bottom to top)

    Now, as for the difference between them, the bass' open G sounds the same than the guitar's G on the sixth string, 3rd fret (timbric considerations aside, of course). The open low E of the guitar sounds the same than the bass' E on the D string, 2nd fret. If you compare both instruments' open low Es, there's a difference of ONE octave between them.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    One octave here in Jersey.

    Cept my piccolo bass, they seem to be the same...
     
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    One octave.
     
  11. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I'm surprised so many people thought it was 2 or more-the first thing I do when I play for a guitar to tune to or tune to a guitar is to fret the E on the D string.
     
  12. didn't adler make a bass tuned eadg only two octaves lower? i think i recall seeing it here. i think it was somewhere around a 39" scale, maybe it wasn't adler...
     
  13. Thnx for the help.

    So when you compare both instruments open strings, like both open E's, or a both open A's ect. ect. to eachother, it's one octave. :)

    I was always sure it was, but a friend of mine started about a bass being tuned two octaves lower and that got me confused. :p
     
  14. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    ok, so i am mis-informed somewhere along this line or reasoning and need to be corrected:

    If the A string on a guitar is 440 (this maybe where my theory starts to go bad) and an octave is a doubling of frequency...then the A string on a bass would be 220 Hz. The E string would then be
    ~164Hz and the low B would be 123 Hz. But since we know the low B is really ~31 Hz....my math isnt adding up.

    so where did i go wrong?
     
  15. msquared

    msquared

    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
  16. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    As msquared said, open A on a guitar is 110Hz, it's 55Hz on a bass.
     
  17. DougP

    DougP

    Sep 4, 2001
    ...and knowing is half the battle. thanks
     
  18. mattmcnewf

    mattmcnewf

    May 27, 2004
    bass is only a octave lower but its has alot more bassy than a guitar note in the same octave.
     
  19. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA!
    y'all serious? :eyebrow:
     
  20. with one of those conklin seven strings, you CAN be two :bassist: