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tuning with harmonics

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by savagelucy, Jun 23, 2002.

  1. savagelucy


    Apr 27, 2002
    i was in a music store and was watching this guy tune a bass using harmonics. i think he was playing fifths (e.g. 3 on the E and 5 on the A) then he adjusted the tuning.

    i was wondering how to do this because i can barley get my bass in tune with a tuner.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You do it like this:

    E.g. your E is in tune.
    You play the harmonic on the 5th fret of the E and compare it to the harmonic on the 7th fret on the A. Play both notes at once. If they're in tune they sound like one note, if not you get an oscillating sound.
    The oscillation rate increases the more the notes are apart, and decreases the closer your get them tuned to the same pitch.

    Repeat on the A and D, D and G, etc.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    You could also do the harmonics around 2 1/3 (it should be around there) and 3 1/3. Same harmonics, just an octave higher. There are some an octave higher above that around 1 1/4 and 1 and 1 3/4. It goes up by an octave each time you break it in 1/2.
  4. savagelucy


    Apr 27, 2002
    thanks, that helps alot. now tuning is a breeze:D :D
  5. hujo


    Apr 18, 2001
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I find it easier to use that method, but going from G to E/B.
  6. Listen


    May 19, 2002
    the way i do it is, play the string's harmonic "12th fret" then if it mantaines a straight tone, it is in tune, if it has a tremelo effect, it is out of tune, you may not undertsand, but it works.
  7. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    This is how I have been tuning for years. Works much beeter than a tuner for me. I play with wind instruments and they are not always playing A440 so I get the Tubas to give me an A then use my harmonics to tune as stated above. Gets me much closer in tune with the band too. Also works well on upright basses too.
  8. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    this is true
    but those harmonics at 1 1/4 are VERY hard to hit and have sound out...at least for me....the last harmonic I can hit clearly is the one that is right behind the 2nd fret....everything closer to the nut just sounds weird.