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tuner question

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by buldog5151bass, Jun 8, 2014.

  1. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003

    We we're having a tuning discussion. Many seem to feel that tunibg on stage is impossible to be done effectively without a digital tuner. I say they are great tools, but a bassist should be able to tune on stage with ears and harmonics alone.

    What say you? Thank you.
  2. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2005
    A bassist SHOULD be able to. Sure. That's a valid theoretical. I have strong relative perfect pitch, so I'm good at it. However, in practice, I have noticed that in some rooms, it's actually quite difficult to perceive "note" as well as other rooms. That makes the whole thing go pear-shaped. If you're a symphonic player, it's much much easier with so many many excellent musicians to get a "mean average" with. But with a band? Man: how are you going to get a reliable reference, unless one of you has perfect pitch? Also: who wants to hear everyone tuning their instruments together without muted tuning? That sounds like a nightmare of re-living my time in the garage as a teenager. Plus: what if you're playing to tracks, an un-tuneable piano, or other un-tuneable instruments, and you f-up?

    I think this is all to say: just use the damn tuner.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Thanks for the feedback.
  4. Bredian


    Apr 22, 2011
    I learned with a tuning fork (guitar, etc) that I still have BUT a Korg digital tuner on my pedal board rules and is blindly fast. I found listening to my last BL retune and downtime and special tune between songs was torture and just plain unprofessional. My ears are busy enough bending strings during tunes.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Too much "either/or" going on in the music world. Tuners are great so you can tune silently on a gig and I use one for sure, but I consider it completely foolish and lacking respect for what you do not to learn to tune by ear to a reference pitch, too. What happens if you're in a situation where you forget your tuner? Or if you're at a jam and have no access to a tuner? Those who tune by ear might be a little obtrusive for a few seconds, but it beats playing out of tune. So I don't consider it as "either you use a tuner or you tune by ear." I consider both very necessary.
    vegas532, Bredian and bassbrad like this.
  6. Well stated!
    JimmyM likes this.

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