tuning for 5 and 6 string basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ghost_song, Nov 5, 2001.

  1. ghost_song

    ghost_song Guest

    Nov 5, 2001
    I've only been playing for almost two weeks, and i only know the tuning of a four string bass and different guitars. I keep seeing 5 and 6 string basses and I've been wondering what are the tunings for them. I'm pretty sure the tuning for the extra low on the 5 stringer is a B, but i don't know the tuning for the six, is it just like a guitar? Oh, I forgot to mention I played guitar for about a year in a half and recently switched to bass.
  2. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Here's one for the FAQ!

    6-string adds a high C. Some 5s have the high C instead of the low B.

    There are also some things called "six string bass guitars" (Fender Bass VI, Danelectro) that are EADGBE one octave lower than guitar. They have shorter scales and tight spacing, they are meant to be played more like a guitar.

    7-strings usually add an F after the high C. Eights have a low F# below the B. Nines. . .beats the h*ll out of me. :) High Bb?
  3. 4 string normal- E A D G
    5 string - B E A D G or E A D G C
    B is lower than E, which is the norm for 5 string, or add a high C.
    6 string- B E A D G C
    (or you could go two higher on the 6 than on a 4)

    Did that make sense?

  4. ghost_song

    ghost_song Guest

    Nov 5, 2001
    Thanks alot. I thought the six gave you two extra high strings (guess i was wrong). I like the idea of having an extra low string and an extra high string. Thanks again.
  5. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I tune my 6-string low B-E-A-D-G-high B (rather than C). I've been told that Tim Bogert does it this way too, but it's definitely a minority choice.
  6. If i had a 6, i dont know how i'd tune it. I would probably mess around wiht it b or c. Its much easyer to do chords with it as a b as opposed to a c (which is why guitars have a b instead of a c).

    Also, you can string a 5 with a low F# which would be F#-B-E-A-D-G and it would work fine, but it'd need to be set up to do it first.
  7. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    The general rule of thumb is that basses are tuned in fourths. This isn't a tried and true rule, as many people use alternate tunings, but G's fourth is C, so the higher string would be a C string. C's fourth is F, so the next string would be F, and so forth, however high you go.
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    really, you can tune it any way you like.

    i tune my 7's three ways, B-E-A-D-G-B-E, F#-B-E-A-D-G-C, E-A-D-G-C-E-A, with the first one being my main tuning.

    my 8 string basses i tune F#-B-E-A-D-G-B-E.

    i've heard of guys tuning 6's E-A-D-G-B-E like a guitar, i've heard of guys tuning 5's E-A-D-G-C, although the main tuning of 6's is B-E-A-D-G-C and 5's B-E-A-D-G.