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tuning problem

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by 1dreday, Jun 23, 2014.


  1. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    i'm an electric player new to double bass trying to get tuned up, i'm having a problem with the E string when i installed the new strings and tuned up to the first i came to (with an electric tuner) the string is very loose vibrates alot and doesn't create much sound, so i started tightening the string and going through all the other notes thinking i'll come back around to E but much tighter, i got it tuned up to about C and its pretty tight, then i started getting a little nervous i was doing something wrong and may damage something or break the string, so i guess my question in short is , am i looking for the first E note which is loose vibrates and doesnt crate much sound or do i keep going for the second E ?
    THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR ANY INPUT
    DRE'
     
  2. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    You are looking for the same E as your electric bass. If it is floppy and unplayable, then chances are something is wrong with the string/setup. Do you maybe have a second A string instead of a low E string? If it is significantly tighter than the rest of your strings, the same logic applies. Maybe you have a low 5th string? Both of those possibilities aren't very likely, but stranger things have happened.
     
  3. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    if anyone has a quick video they could attach that shows what a proper e string in tune should look and sound like plucked that would be awesome
     
  4. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I am sure there are better videos out there, but here is my first youtube search result for "tuning double bass"
     
  5. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    if you look at his video at the very end when he's tuning the e string it does seem loose and floppy, no way near as tight as an electric basses
    e string,
     
  6. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I apologize if you were trying to compare tension. It seemed like you were trying to determine if you had the correct octave of E, so when I said that you are looking for the same E as your electric bass, I was referring to pitch. If both basses are tuned to EADG, then each open string sounds in the same octave.

    Either way, hopefully you have figured it out and successfully tuned.
     
  7. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    i do apreciate all your input but im still confused,i feel like i want to tighten the e string up because it seems to project more sound, and less vibration
    but im still conserned im way over tightening it, and going to break something, but if i stay on the initial e string tuning , it doesnt project and vibrates
    alot.
     
  8. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009


    this videos not very good but you maybe able to tell how the sound isnt projecting ., and the strings are vibrating alot, i even hooked up to a little amp and it sounded horrible,
     
  9. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Having just noticed this from your first post: You just put new strings on. Was this a problem before you changed strings? Do you still have the old strings? Can you put the old E back on to see if that solves the problem? Sometimes you just get a bad string. Also, if you are new to double bass, when you changed the strings did you take them all off at the same time? If you did, there is a chance the sound post could have moved/fallen (it's a dowel the stands between the top and back just a little bit below the bridge foot on the G string side) If that is the case, than it will need to be put back to the right spot.

    In no particular order:
    -It would really help to have a comparison with the rest of your strings, to be able to hear how much of a difference there is.
    -Your bass could likely use a setup. The bridge looks pretty thick and the feet could be thinner as well. It also seems the string height is very high. Extrapolating from there you could potentially benefit from a sound post adjustment, and you might notice a big difference.
    -Although it looks like your right hand technique is pretty good for double bass, the attack you are using is probably a medium volume attack at best. If you are a new convert from electric bass, you need to play harder to get similar dynamics.
    -It looks like you are using the D'Addario Helicore pizz strings. I personally haven't found them to be very loud strings, and if you are using the light tension (they have a yellow stripe at the peg end) then that might be compounding the issue.

    If it isn't a bad string, and the volume is fairly balanced across the other strings, my first suggestion would be to play with a harder attack. If the volume is imbalanced with the other strings, there is a chance that particular instrument has a weak sounding E string, but taking it into a shop and having the setup adjusted could help to significantly reduce that problem.

    Hopefully that helps a bit.
     
  10. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    FYI - that "E" string is sounding a "D" - it is a whole-step flat, which will look and feel "loose"...Your tuner may be having difficulty reading the sound of the E string.
    Are you able to post a video of the other 3 strings and your tuner's reading of each?
    Thanks,
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  11. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009

    another look
     
  12. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Every string sounds very flat - the G is about an Octave flat; so is the D string.
    The A and E are also extremely flat - I can't hear either very clearly. (Try to get the phone/camera very close to the bridge area).
    Tune your G string to read "G 2", the D to read " D 2". Let's see if the tuner is off by an Octave.
    Thanks,
     
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    What Don said: you're a whole octave flat! ;)
     
    Don Kasper likes this.
  14. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009


    if you look at this video you see how loose and floppy this bassists e string is this is one reason why i thought i was in the right octave, if someone
    has the time can you upload a quick video showing what the open strings should look like and sound like when in the correct tune
    thanks
    dre'
     
  15. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    This video is of a guy tuning with a bow. The pitches are a lot easier to hear that way, and it should give you a better sense of the correct octave.


    If you have an electric bass and it is tuned EADG, the open strings on the double bass are tuned to the same notes in the same octave as they are on the electric bass. That should help you to get them close to pitch.

    It looks like the amplitude of the strings is pretty extreme in the video you linked to, but the bassist is also using a significantly stronger attack than in your videos. Along with all of the above advice, there is a good chance your tuner is not picking up the fundamental. When you get your strings closer to where they need to be, then it should cooperate more.
     
  16. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    just looking at these two videos , makes it even more odd. the top bassists video seems alot looser
     
  17. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I think you are letting the visual aspect throw you more than you need to. The pitch is far more important, and as of your last video, your top strings in particular are extremely low.

    Some strings are higher or lower tension than others, and some bassists play differently resulting in the strings moving a lot more. Tune so your strings sound the same as the video using a bow, or so the strings are the same pitch as your electric. Once you get close, the electric tuner should be much more useful. You also need to play harder/louder than in your own videos, in order for the tuner to properly register the open strings.


    Mike
     
    Don Kasper likes this.
  18. 1dreday

    1dreday Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2009
    Im staring to think my whole issue is tension ugh a whole night wasted and im still not tuned up anyways thanks for the input
     
  19. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Former Mannes College Theory Faculty Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Hi. This doesn't have to be complicated if you have the right tool. Allow me to recommend an app called ClearTune. It's brilliant and I use it when tuning piano. It sells for $3.99 on the Apple App Store. It also exists for Android and other platforms, and the price is the same, $3.99.

    Your third string, the "A" string, should show exactly 55 Hz on this app. That's the correct pitch for the open third string of a double bass in its standard tuning. Start with that, then use harmonics or use ClearTune to handle the rest of the strings.

    (For anyone following along, we start with A=440, second space on the treble clef or the space above the third ledger line above the staff in bass clef. A=220 is an octave lower, top line of the bass clef. A=110 is the bottom space of the bass clef and, since we play an octave lower than written pitch, our bottom space "A" is half again or 55 Hz (55 vibrations per second).

    If you tune this way, there will be no ambiguity. I use a second generation iPad and its built-in microphone and it works just fine.

    We must mention that not all tuners are created equal, and that even ClearTune has trouble as the pitches get very low or very high, but you should certainly be able to tune at least your top three strings with ClearTune. Once you've gotten close this way, a smaller tuner should do the job sufficiently well for you.

    Forget tension just use the app and read the numbers. If you're still not sure, take a video of your bass and the app while you play the third string and post that.

    Steve "tuning geek" Freides
     
  20. If you have the other strings in tune, just tune the E to the harmonic with the A string (just like you would on an electric bass). That should tell you if you are in the right octave.

    I wouldn't worry about it...some strings are pretty tight, and if you were tuning the E string a whole octave higher, I think you'd know it real quick.
     

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