Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Im new to playing bass, so this will probably sound stupid, but can you help me anywa

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by joke, Oct 16, 2001.

  1. joke


    Sep 17, 2001
    Ive seen alot of tabs that have the symbol Eb Ab Db Gb etc. how do you tune your bass to that note, and when do you know that it is at Eb etc.?
  2. I responded to this and didn't notice I was in Mike's forum. I deleted the post.

    Sorry, Mike - I'll pay a little more attention next time.

  3. rockjockjared


    Oct 17, 2001
    Lubbock, TX
    I haven't looked at tabs in a while but if I remember correctly the 'b' is actually a flat this means that you need to tune to Eb and so on...

  4. Tune the Bass normally(Tuner,Ears, Friend) and the fourth fret on the string below is the Flattened (b) note. Fourth fret on the D string is Gb etc. etc. You don't have to tune the Bass to these notes, you just have to put you fingers in the right place to play them as the Tabs demand. Hope this helps.
  5. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    like the folks here said, the 'b' (as in gb) means "flat" or one fret (half step) lower than the note indicated. therefore, 'gb' means 'g flat' (or you could say 'f#,' 'f sharp' - which means one half step or one fret higher) and you would finger the second fret on the 'e' string rather than the third one (which would give you a natural 'g').

    on bass, watt

  6. hi,

    i'm not watt, but here's what i usually do when i don't have a tuner. usually i'm in standard turning, but when i need to go down a half step, i tune the a string first by tuning it to the a-flat (g#) note on the fourth fret of the e string. then i tune the rest of the bass off of the harmonics of the a string.
  7. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    good idea but I guess you need to know you're in tune to begin w/first, huh? well, maybe not 440 a (the standard frequency in hertz for an 'a' note) but at least your 'a' being the same as the cat playing w/you on guitar or keys.

    on bass, watt

  8. mike,

    admittedly, i may be speaking from the experience of someone who may have perfect pitch (i don't know as i've never been tested for it, although many a comrade has told me that i have "a very good ear" [just one? what am i, mick foley? :)]. either that, or 22 years of playing has me very well acquainted with what a properly tuned guitar or bass should sound like...

  9. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    hmm perfect pitch? Not saying you don't have it. but I've never met anyone with absolute perfect pitch.. but being a music major, I know many a people (myself included) with good relative pitch.. There are some people here that have excellent ears.... but perfect pitch is something that is rare.. and to me perfect pitch will hinder you in the long run.. if you have perfect pitch and something is not exactly in tune, it will drive you crazy...
  10. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    well, what I think is pretty important is that everyone playing together has the same 'a' note, for example. what that 'a' note is in hertz (frequency measurement) is secondary to the need to have everyone's machine synced to whatever that 'a' is (440hz, 430hz, etc...). someone who has "perfect pitch," (hears 440hz as 'a') would probably like everyone tuned to that. if you don't have that trait, then it won't bug you, I believe. what would sound conflicting would be everyone tuned to their own idea of the 'a' note (something I went through as a young teenager - we thought that tension on the strings was more about preference about how loose or tight you liked the string under your fingers. we never thought about having to be tuned to the cats you were playing with - just as long as "down on the corner" sounded good to you on your machine!). these are my thoughts on the matter.

    on bass, watt

  11. according to standing in the shadows of motown. james jamerson had perfect pitch. he would come into the hitsville u.s.a. studio for the day's work, plug in "the funk machine" (his fender p-bass) and tune it up completely by ear - no other instrument or tuning device at all, and he'd be in perfect tune.

    me, either i do have perfect pitch (again, i've never been tested) or just very good, experienced ears. :)
  12. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member


    much respect to you cj but again, I don't think it's important to have perfect pitch to be a good bass player. so, if you don't have it - don't fret! I surely don't have it.

    on bass, watt