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My bass wont tune.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by abcdefghijklmno, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. abcdefghijklmno


    Jul 16, 2012
    Hello everyone, i need help, i cant seem to tune my bass's d string and i have tried tuning by ear and with an electronic tuner but it wont work. what can be the problem? i have only had my bass for 1 month and havent overtuned any strings. :confused:
  2. Keldog


    Jan 23, 2008
    How old are the strings?
    Check your windings.
  3. abcdefghijklmno


    Jul 16, 2012
    I am using the default strings that the bass has, so i have used them for 1 month.
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    You're probably going to have to be a little more specific. Are you having a problem with the tuning peg? How exactly is it NOT going in tune?
  5. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Could be the string is slipping on the tuning peg. It could also be a problem with the machine head itself.

    How many wraps of string go around the tuner peg? 3 is my minimum preference. If there isn't enough string around the peg, it may not grab.

    Does it seem to get to a certain pitch and then stop going up? Or can you get it in tune and it gradually flattens?

    Once you have tension on the string, do you notice that you can turn the tuning key, but the peg will not turn accordingly? That might indicate a problem in the gearing.
  6. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Could also be bad strings. Try a new set. New strings never hurt :)
  7. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains: FretNation.com
    Tuners could be bad too... (the metal things not the plug in tuner,,, well that can be bad too!)
  8. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    You may have a twisted string. If you install and 'hand wind' the string over the post under tension (rather than tightening evenly via the tuner), the string can get twisted and won't tune properly. Try loosening the string and making sure there's no twist on before retightening.

    Happened to me once and it took a while to figure it out.
  9. abcdefghijklmno


    Jul 16, 2012
    Well, my tuner (chromatic) tunes the other strings fine, but when it says that the d is in tune the string is loose. The tuning pegs are fine, and 3 wraps aof string go around the peg.
  10. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Try tuning by harmonics, then turn on your tuner and see what it reads.
  11. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say you caught the D that is an octive lower on the tuner.

    Make sure that D is the same pitch as the 5th fret note on the string above it.
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Sounds like you may just have the string not tuned high enough, considering you're saying its loose. Try tuning it higher than u think it should go and see how it starts registering on your tuner. Also make sure your tuner isn't tuning that string to a #. Some tuners just have a little light saying its tuning to the sharp of the note.
  13. soulman969

    soulman969 Banned

    Oct 6, 2011
    Englewood, Colorado
    Maybe you could better define "loose" for us. Is it just slightly flat and is that what you mean by loose, or is your tuner showing it's tuned to "D" and the string is floppy loose compared to the others?

    When the bass is in tune your string tension should feel fairly equal across all four strings (or five if it's a five string). There will be some difference in tension as you move up in pitch from the E or B to the G but not so much that one string is flopping around compared to the others. If it is then your tuned an octave lower than you need to be.

    You can play the 5th fret of the E string (A) and the 7th fret of the D string. That A should be an octave higher. If it's the same pitch you're tuned an octave low on your D string. Or you can compare the pitch of the 5th fret on the A string with the open D string. They should be of the same pitch. If this isn't it then maybe you can define the problem a little better.

    Sorry if this seems a bit basic but it's hard to tell just what you mean when you say loose without actually seeing what you're experiencing.
  14. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    We all had to start somewhere, so there is no shame in seeking out someone more experienced (even a guitarist) that can physically show you a few rudimentary things such as how to tune your bass using various methods - tuner, 5th fret, 7th fret-octave, or by harmonics. All these methods achieve the same thing and they're all pretty easy if someone shows you how.

    You might also ask for a demo on how to change strings while you're at it because, no offence, but I wondered as I read other's advice about checking strings etc how, if you were having trouble tuning you would know what to look for with respect to string problems.

    I agree with the poster that suggested that you have tuned an octave lower than the string is supposed to be at, in this case the tuner would still read D but the string would be very floppy
  15. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    Try tugging on the string with your fingers, as if you were "popping" it. Hook your fingertips and grab it- don't pull too hard, but check for a decent amount of tension. If it resists, the core should be OK, but it could just be a bad string, too. If you can't tune it sharp, the core may be slipping inside of the winding.
  16. All great replies to help you so far.
    I'll say to try tuning that D string BY EAR 1st. Get it pretty much in tune with the A string when the A string is fretted at the 5th fret. THEN use the elec tuner to get it spot on.
  17. dalahorse


    Apr 14, 2010
    Or your bass's intonation could be off...

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