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Which fret is middle C?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by 70hemicuda, Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Hey, probably a dumb question but I'm trying to transcribe a treble clef part into bass clef and I realized I'm not sure where middle C is. Is it 3rd fret on the A string? Any input would be nice.

  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    5th fret of G
  3. thank you much
  4. Its actually the 17th on the G, the bass is a transposing instrument, while the 5th fret reads as Middle C it sounds an octave lower.
    HolmeBass likes this.
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    nerd :p
  6. That is middle C on a piano, which isn't the same as middle C on the bass. Our middle C is 3rd fret A/8th fret E (the 'octave lower' already applied...).
  7. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Yeah, but look at his post, he's transcribing a treble line to bass clef. the one note that both clefs share is Middle C, 1 ledger line beneath the treble staff and one ledge line above the bass staff, that note is played on the 5th fret of G.

  8. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    you are both right in a sense it depends whether you want the note as written for the Bass ie we play the note an octave lower or you want to play in unison with middle c then the 17th fret is correct Tez
  9. True. I only brought it up because so many seem to forget which instrument they play and think of the piano's middle C as it. Don't bother calling me a geek, I freely admit it. :p

    As an aside, are those suggestions on what to call you depending on if we think you are wrong or right in future discussions (refering to your username and tagline...(I know, bad joke...))? ;)
  10. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Middle "C" on an elec bass is the 6th string...

    ...it's not 5th fret/G-string. It may look like Middle C on paper; the ear sez something different.
  11. Tez


    Jan 24, 2004
    I dont think you fully understand or comletely read my reply :meh:
  12. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    17th Fret G/12fret C string that is the note that will SOUND the same as Middle C on a piano. We read "middle c" as 5th fret G, however, that note sounds where we play the 3rd Fret A string C. Bass is a transposing instrument like has been said.

    I have only heard you DeLorean call 3rd Fret A string Middle C, it makes sense when thinking in terms of basses with string lower than E, it doesn't line up with traditional western music theory. I'm not saying that you're wrong, but i am saying it isn't what is taught in theory classes. Since no one outside of those that play bass/know about bass would have any clue.

    The whole Middle C or where we read middle C has come up a few times in different groups that i play in; it all depends what they're really trying to say. If they want you to play a "normal" range C or the high C.

    Original Poster-if you're transposing something from treble clef, you will have to make the decision if you want it where it would sound on a piano, or where it's more comfortable [for me at least] to play on bass-that is in our lower octave.

    All this has been IME, what i've been taught.

    That's all
  13. Uh, Jim, those two are the same thing. Did you mean the 12th fret on the high C string?
  14. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
  15. I'm just curious: what's your source for this? I don't mean to be a PITA, but I've been studying and playing music for about 38 years, bass for about 30 of those, and I've *never* heard of that definition of middle C for bass that you're referring to. Never. Every definition of middle C I've ever seen has it as the note on the ledger line between the treble clef and the bass clef, which happens to lie near the middle of the piano. There's a distinction between middle C as a written note on a bass part (an octave below concert pitch) and middle C as a concert pitch, but neither is the note on the 3rd fret of the A string.
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999


    Is it any wonder I play a "4"?
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    And wouldn't that be the first string, rather than the 6th!!! ;)

    (who would have guessed there could be so much debate about such a simple thing!!?? )
  18. It is what I was taught, by the man who opened the first Jazz school in Columbus (and later taught at Capital and Dennison Universities), Cornell Wiley. Do a search on "The Dozier Boys", there are several places with much of their (his) history, though they all seem to stop either at Jazz City Workshop or one of the Universities (I can fill in the rest if you want to know). Not that all that makes it right, but I have a fair degree of confidence in him. He didn't steer me wrong anywhere I know of, though I am still trying to walk a chart like him (he really is incredible). Sorry if that all sounds a little pretentious, but I am just documenting my source...

    He is my friend, and I am very worried about his health now. He may not get the recognition he deserves, but the world will be a much lesser place when he passes.
  19. No, it's cool, you're not being pretentious at all, just responding to a question. I have to say that just as far as the middle C issue goes, one assertion from one teacher for me doesn't outweigh the apparent lack of support for that assertion from anywhere else I can locate. I'll keep on thinking middle C is what I think it is, namely this:

    "The name given to the note that has the pitch value of 261.63 Hz. It is the note on the ledger line halfway between the bass and treble clef on the great staff." (From some site at the University of Vermont.)

    But hey, this is a relatively minor point anyway. I hope your friend's health improves. The loss of any friend, not to mention the loss of any good teacher, leaves the world a lesser place.
  20. I can't disagree with that definition, my prior instructors (piano, flute, saxaphone, trumpet and guitar (I started young...)) all went by that. I asked the middle C question of Cornell one day, he made a big deal about thinking as a bass player and showed me what I brought up earlier. I didn't expect anyone to actually read what I wrote... ;)

    Thank you for your sympathy, he needs all the good wishes he can get now.

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