Who tunes to the guitarist?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by minimalist freedom, Nov 28, 2021.

  1. Do you use your tuner only ? or do you and guitarist tune to each other once one is in tune? I remember this being an issue with a guitarist I played with many years ago. It makes sense to me to tune to each other when you consider the margin for error in tuning up separately and the tuners used. Small increments maybe not noticed but over a period of time playing it would become greater.
    What you say ?
    Killing Floor likes this.
  2. Tune to the piano.:cigar:
  3. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Try really hard to never let the guitarist dictate this. Use one tuner, tune the bass. Not (exclusively) because bassists are always correct, on time, polite, funnier, better drivers, etc. But because guitars drift more. 9s and 10s bent 3 semitones don't stay as rigidly in tune as your .085 that you finger pluck. Plus, betting for most of us here the bass strings are older and more settled to tune. Lastly, unless you're FRIGGIN' AWESOME the bassist doesn't have a whammy bridge.

    Tune to the bass or better yet, any more fixed instrument if there is a piano, for example.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Years ago, we would tune to each other, or a keyboard, if one was there. Today, everyone has a digital tuner.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    These days, all tuners are fine.

    If I have to tune to an instrument it would be keys.
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

  7. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    I use my own tuner, everyone else does the same. As long as they are all calibrated to the same frequency, it should not be a problem.
  8. Tuned to the keyboard.
    LowActionHero and Johnny Fingers like this.
  9. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    Peter Torning likes this.
  10. Keyboard if there is one. Tuner if there isn't.

    Never tune to the guitarist, unless you're hand-picked out of the audience by a guitar god (Brian May/Jimmy Page...) and asked to jam along.
  11. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
  12. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    East Bay, N. Ca.
    I tune to the guitar player in my Blues band.
    I tune to the keyboard player in the other project.
  13. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Tune to the tuner. They're all digital now and there are no crystal inconsistencies or whatever. If there is a piano being used, tune to it, but if there is a piano on stage, it's likely just a shell with a digital piano inside.
  14. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Guitarists tend to start going out of tune after one song. Use your tuner and let them take care of themselves.

    At church, the piano isn't even totally in tune with itself, so I don't bother tuning to it either.
    packhowitzer likes this.
  15. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    AZ, USA
    Tune to the drummer.
  16. TyBo


    Dec 12, 2014
    Tune to the singer and fire the drummer. :)
    chadds and Renaissance like this.
  17. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Bay Area
    I tune everything to Q minor, and I have perfect pitch so I can just hear the Q and its minor third with no pitch reference.
    Huw Phillips likes this.
  18. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Letting a guitar player establish the tuning center sounds like a really bad idea. Most guitarists can't tell you what note they're playing, much less play it in tune.:roflmao: (That's hyperbole for humorous effect, take it easy guitar fans.)

    In the 90s I played sax in a tejano band with an accordion that was seriously out of tune. The sub piano player wanted the horns and bass and bajo sexto to tune to his digital piano and didn't know you can't field tune an accordion. Moral of the story: tune to the untunable instrument, which is usually a keyboard of some kind.
  19. Hawk256


    Nov 19, 2021
    I had never really put much thought into this. I guess each band I've played in have always followed the same routine. I tune to the keyboard or piano and the guitar player tunes to me. Even in bands that don't use a keyboard often, there was always at least one around. I currently don't even own a tuner. My phone has one if I really need it.
  20. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Silly question.
    Everyone should tune to the bass.
    We're always right.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 22, 2022

Share This Page