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Tuning a Bass Using a Tuner? (Standard 4 String)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by simardbrad, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. simardbrad


    Jan 6, 2006
    I really need help. I just got a Squire starter for christmas and I just bought this Yamaha tuner at my local music store for $30 CND and I'm having great problems.

    [​IMG] That's the tunner.

    I've tried all tutorials and it just doesn't work. I pluck the E String which is the biggest one, I tried adjusting the things on the head and my tuner picks up the string as an A, D and G, it goes to E for like 1 seccond. Same with every string. It will pick up the other strings but not the same one. Please somebody help me. I've tried the harmonics also.
  2. simardbrad


    Jan 6, 2006
    Could somebody please help me. My Bass is crazy out of tune right now. I need to get it fixed.
  3. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    Did you make sure that your bass' volume knob is at maximum and the cable is OK?
  4. simardbrad


    Jan 6, 2006
    Well the cord seems fine since when I play with my amp there is no feedback or fuzz. It's clear. Yes my volume is high. The problem is that I go to www.tunemybass.com and when I play their E string it says that it's in tune.
  5. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Get a better tuner? Is it in bass mode?
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

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

    Well, I don't know this tuner. Is is automatic or manual? On manual tuners you must select the string you're going to tune (with a button) and the tuner will only react to tune the selected pitch. If not the case and your cable and volume are OK, the only thing I can think of right now is to replace the tuner's batteries. You just bought it but it doesn't necessarily mean that the batteries are fresh unless you previously knew they are (you picked'em new and installed yourself, for instance).
  7. simardbrad


    Jan 6, 2006

    Nevermind guys, We got it working. We found out that usually it's going to be more tight per each string. It's perfectly on for each string. Alright thanks!
  8. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    So you plug the bass into the tuner. And then start plucking the E string. You can't just pluck it once, you have to keep it moving (not too fast though). If it has real problems with the E, try the G. It looks like that tuner is designed for bass, but even bass tuners tend to have problems.

    I also find most tuners work better if you back off on the volume a bit.
  9. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    ^^ He got it.
  10. Tuners are quirky creatures. they tend to have an individual personality, of their own. i own several small ones, and a rack mount. all korg. (need a peterson)lol. but they are all, a little different, than each other. :cool:
  11. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Make sure you mute the other strings that you aren't tuning as well. Sometime the other strings will vibrate enough when you pluck another string that it will throw the tuner off.
  12. +1, but when their personality clashes with my bass, the sparks start to fly. :mad:
  13. nemo


    Mar 19, 2004
    Tune with playing 12th fret harmonic (octave), not the open string. This way the tuner catch the pitch better.
  14. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    you dont really need a tuner unless your setting up...just one note to start with to get a concert pitch and then its open against harmonics and you can hear the constructive / destructive intereference vibrations slow down as one note approaches another until it finally stops....especially noticeable with a bass....you could even be deaf and fine tune a bass in a few seconds...just do it by vibration.
  15. those strings might be soooo wound up the tuner might not be able to read anything Soooooo start with the E (the fat one) and tune it all the way down like your gonna take it off then with your tuner in Bass mode (if it has one) start tightening the E string back up slowly till you get it in tune, then place your fret hand near the headstock and while pulling up on the E string with your right hand (or where you pick it) with some tension slide your fret hand down the string slowly stopping at every other fret to stretch the string, then re-tune it.. keep doing that on each string till they "Stay" in tune cause they will eventually stop moving or stetching.

    after you get down tuning the bottom string (G) go back to the E and it will need to be tightened a little more because as you tuned all the strings you put more tension on the neck which caused it to Bow a little and loosen up the previous strings you just tuned. once its in tune and the strings are stretched it will stay in tune forever unless the tuners have moved which in that case you just tune to the next string.
  16. theshadow2001


    Jun 17, 2004
    One of the best things to happen to me when I started out was that I lsot my tuner. It forced me to learn to do it by ear. Use songs for a reference. One of my favourites to use was "around the world" on californication by the red hot chili peppers. Flea gives a few nice open E's to tune off. I used a harmonica as well. But it was all good stuff. A guitarist buddy of mine relies heavily on tuners and can't tune very well by ear. Tuning by ear is an essential skill. While I do use a tuner pedal live sometimes the battery goes and I have to rely on my ear which I can do confidently.

    So once you get in on the swing of things with your bass put the tuner away for a while and tune it by ear.(Also it's good excercise to tune by ear to play along with records that are down a half step like "sweet child of mine" or slightly out of standard tuning like Radioheads "street spirit")
  17. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    in the 70s there wasnt many gadgets around like there are today so it was all by ear and it didnt seem to hard at all.
  18. yeah I wish I had "the" ear.. I was told by a Blind bass teacher I sat in with a few times when I was younger--> he said everybody has it they just need to discover it???

    IDK with 21 punk/hardcore bands under my belt most of the time we just tuned up to whoever was in tune so thats why I can't hear the 440..

    its nice to turn around and see my Korg when a notes ringing out at live shows and just tweak it from there if it needs it but like I said before once everythings stretched my basses never go outta tune.

    also theres a Note on one of the telephone buttons that rings a perfect "A" I was told too..
  19. Ahhhh...the joys of being a beginner...

    When I first started I had no idea how to "tune" a bass. I thought the string tension was basically personal preference, so I tightened one of the strings until it broke!!! :eek: :oops: :help:
  20. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    but thats just my point..it isnt the ear ...sure you need something thats a true A but after that its a real doddle because bass strings when they are tuned even on the fretted fifth its like so obvious...you just check it up and down. Personally if i hear stuff like somebody needing a tuner ...well they just havent got it...they are playing parrot fashion ..they just dont have it..plain and simple.

    Obviously if your just starting out please ignore this post because its hard at the begining for sure.