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Stupid Newbie Question about Tuning...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Trotsky, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Trotsky


    Sep 3, 2008
    On a 5 string (4-6, whatever), should I start with the B string or the G?

    Does all strings have the same tension?

    Proper way to tune a bass, how do you do it? Do you tune it twice (tuning and fine tuning...).

    Any input welcome,


  2. You can start on whichever string you'd like...

    No, all strings do not have the same tension.

    And, yes, you check tuning a time or two over after you've done it because the neck flexes some bit.
  3. Tejano Joveno

    Tejano Joveno

    Jun 20, 2008
    San Antonio
    don't forget to check intonation by playing each string at the twelfth(sic) fret while using a tuner, if the string is sharp loosen the scew at the base of the bridge saddle that the string sits on. If it's flat tighten the screw. It also helps to stretch your strings after you've strung them by pulling them a little, hopefully someone else can give more detail on it, stretching helps with new strings stay in tune longer. There's my bit of info.
  4. MyUsernameHere

    MyUsernameHere ?????????????

    Nov 3, 2007
    Lexington KY
    Remember also that the F string is the one that can sometimes cause your bass to blow up if its tightened too much.

    Just kidding...its the C string.
  5. LowG

    LowG Supporting Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Milwaukee, WI
    Also as time goes on try tuning without an electric tuner and instead to a "reference pitch" like a tuning fork. This will help develop your ear. Start by just doing it and then check your "ear" tuning to what the tuner says. You'll get closer and closer the more you do it.

    Also think as early as possible about the physics of the process. What does it mean, physically, to be "in tune"? Why do notes that are not in tune to each other "beat"? How does this relate to the way this string itself vibrates? How does this relate to "harmonics". What is the mathematics behind octaves, fifths, and all the e other intervals (if your "A" is vibrating at 240 cycles per second, what would your "D" be?)?

    I know that this is far beyond the scope of the OP, but I don't think it's ever to early to think about these things. Learning about all of those things will lead you to the answer and beyond.
  6. XylemBassGuitar

    XylemBassGuitar Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 14, 2008
    Durango, CO
    Owner and Operator, Xylem Handmade Basses and Guitars
    Also, always tune "up" to the pitch you're looking for. That is, always tighten the tuners up to the pitch you want.

    If you set your pitch by loosening the tuners, it can cause "blowback" or, the action of the tuners loosening even more than where they were set.
  7. I second this. The practice probably comes from the upright bass and related instruments, but it's very sound practice.

    When you tine the string by loosening, it's not unusual for the string to loosen a bit MORE after you finish. But if you tune UP to the note, chances are that the tuning will stay more stable.

    I would also suggest that you learn to tune all strings by ear, given that you have one string correct. It's easy to hit a note at the 5th fret of any 4-string and tune the string above it...or vice versa.
  8. mimaz


    Mar 1, 2005
    Wheeling WV
    Endorsing Artist: Crook Custom Guitars
    I agree with the above post(s) regarding always tuning UP to the correct pitch. In fact, I think it's important to tune up to pitch, give each string a slight tug to stretch, and recheck the tuning. For what it's worth, I always tune the strings very slightly flat, then tune UP to pitch, starting with the lowest string (B, in my case). Now that I'm up to pitch, I give each string a slight pull to settle/stretch, and repeat the process, again starting on the lowest string and moving to the highest. I rarely have any tuning issues at all, and can't even remember the last time I broke a string (maybe 20+ years ago?).

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