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Tuning problem

Discussion in 'Ask Lynn Seaton' started by Felipe Gianei, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Felipe Gianei

    Felipe Gianei

    Apr 9, 2014
    Hi, how are you?

    I'm eletric bass player and I bought a double bass to study..

    I'm having a little problem with the tuning..

    When I study alone, without music, is ok. When I try to play along a song it seems the song have a different tuning(you know what I mean). And I don't know if I'm playing wrong, if I'm studying ajusting my hands to the music's tuning..

    One exemple is, I was playing Coltrane's Mr Pc(but I decrease the tempo), and the tuning was wrong, then i tune the bass by the G string with the song, and it sound great. But this tuning was out of the tuner. When you study you tune the bass on every song? Or I'm wrong?

  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I'm not sure if this is your problem but here goes: Some songs are out of Key in the recording. Tom Petty, Rolling Stones and countless others are out of tune sort of in-between 2 notes. I always tune to Rush's Tom Sawyer and then I'm pretty close except for the odball stuff. You could Maybe pick a song to tune with that seems to work for many other songs?
    Hope that helps,
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  3. Felipe Gianei

    Felipe Gianei

    Apr 9, 2014
    Hi dude, thank you for the advices, it really helped me.
    I'm trying to study the Mr Pc only with a susteined, to get the right hand shape..
  4. Sean Riddle

    Sean Riddle Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    Ventura, California
    Three things I can think of. One, since you're a beginner your intonation probably isn't the best, so that may lead to the out of tune sound. Two, you may be playing along with a version that's in a different key than your chord charts. Three, your chord charts may be different from what you're playing along with. If you're playing along with Coltrane's version and reading out of the real book, it's gonna be intonation. If not, it's the chart.
  5. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    So, NYCBassist is correct, in my experience, that many recordings are not 440A, but jazzcat_13 is also correct that since you're a beginner on the upright that your intonation is a likely issue. A way to determine, is to tune a guitar or use a piano tuned to 440A and try to play along to the recording. If you still hear a pitch discrepancy, then the recording is at least partially at fault. If that's the case, then you have to transcribe the recording enough to determine when an E, A, D, or G is played in tune to that. If your intonation is off, then playing along to a good recording is an excellent way to help improve it.
  6. Lynn Seaton

    Lynn Seaton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Denton, TX
    Sorry for the delay in getting a reply on this forum. The new operating system stopped sending me alerts to new posts here.
    I also agree with NYCbassist. I grew up in the LP era and turntables were not at universal speeds. The tape recorders used to make lps's also could have variable speeds and so could the mastering machines, and the machines used to press records. It was and is still commonplace to tune to the recordings. There are some CD players that have pitch adjustment. Try tuning to the recording you are playing and forget the digital tuner. It might mess with those that have perfect pitch, but it is good practice for playing in a club with an out of tune piano!

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