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Wool-E String (Tuning Issues)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by organworthyplayer337, Mar 29, 2015.


  1. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    I've been less than satisfied with the sound of the fretted notes on the E strings on all my basses. Here are my 2 main problems

    Problem #1:
    Do the notes on the E string sound wooly or less clear/defined for anyone else? It doesn't sound like a pick-up issue but it may be. I've noticed it with all my basses and I'm wondering if anyone else notices that too.

    Problem #2:
    I tune my bass(es) w/ a a quality tuner and it says it is "in tune" but when I play and octave on E and D string they sound out of tune with each other if that makes sense but if I play a line using all four string it all sounds fine... It's only the E and D string that I notice that with and mainly it's the E string that doesn't sound in tune, The other three strings sound nice but any note of the E string sounds off... (The tuner says the fretted notes are in tune)

    What could that be? Or are my ears just messing with me?

    Looking forward to any input! Thanks!
     
  2. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    Learn to tune by ear.

    It could be your equipment OR it could be your perception.

    Learn to tune by ear and you fix both problems.
     
  3. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    Using the harmonics method?
     
  4. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    Tuning via harmonics will at least remove the condition of frets from the equation.

    But more to the point:
    if a quality tuner tells you it's in tune
    and you still thinks it sounds off,
    then one of you is wrong, so find out which one.

    You have provided too little info for a correct diagnosis.
    It could be that your quality tuner is not so quality (what kind is it?)
    Or perhaps you haven't trained yourself to hear what 'in tune' is supposed to sound like.
    (Maybe what you are hearing is not a pitch issue at all)
    Or perhaps you failed to notice an indicator off to the side on the tuner that the note is sharp or flat
    Or perhaps you are playing the bass through a bunch of pedals or gear with their own problems
    Or perhaps you pluck so aggressively it skews the results in the tuner
    it could be many things

    Normally if a tuner says it's good, but the E octave sounds out of tune,
    I'd suspect the bass needs work, but you said it happens on all your bases,
    Which makes that less likely.

    Try to remove as much gear as possible from the equation.
    Only good can come from learning to tune by ear.
     
  5. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    It's a Polytune2
    which was a HUGE step up from what I've been using :p
    There are no other pedals involved and I can see the LED display on the tuner pretty clearly.


    When you say tuning by ear what exactly do you mean? Because I will definitely look into it. I do think it's some of me being a little OCD and listening too hard for it but I don't know.

    I would've responded sooner but I can't seem to get notifications anymore haha
     
  6. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    I just watched a you tube video of the Poly tune 2. TC stuff is indeed "quality"

    BUT

    The Polytune 2 supports a "drop D mode"
    which, if engaged, would produce exactly what you describe: the E string would be a whole step too low.
    Read the manual, double check to make sure you are not in "Drop D" mode.
     
  7. organworthyplayer337

    organworthyplayer337 Professional Hack

    Oct 28, 2014
    Charlotte, NC
    It's in E standard for sure.

    It just sounds like the E and D string is just a hair out of tune with each other. And they sound fine with the other strings.

    And I really appreciate you helping me out with this, thanks.
     
  8. mambo4

    mambo4

    Jun 9, 2006
    Dallas
    here's a diagram of the fret locations to check your tuning via harmonics
    tune-bass-harmonics.

    The harmonic node at the 5th fret should ring identical to the harmonic node 1 string & 2 frets up,
    without any noticeable "beating" or "wobbling" which is caused by frequencies that are close but not exact.
    Demonstrated at about 2:30 here


    If you can get the open strings in tune and still hear the problem then its technique or the bass.
    Are you perhaps fretting the E on the D string really hard?
    that could create a slight pitch change too.
    maybe make an idiot check to be sure you are checking the 2nd fret on the D string and not the 3rd...
     
    organworthyplayer337 likes this.

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