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Bass guitar tuning

Updated on May 21, 2010

The bass guitar notes


These are the bass guitar notes that you'll need to remember when base guitar tuning! They are the notes that each of the 'open' strings play , that is if you don't touch the fretboard while plucking the string.

You need to remember this list I do it with a little rhyme to help you remember, here's mine but you can make up your one:

Every Antelope Defies Gravity. As you learn bass guitar you will naturally memorise these bass guitar notes but for now the rhyme will help, I find the sillier the rhyme, the better!

Look at the diagram in the image below to see how these relate to the strings when bass guitar tuning...




Note that the E is the thickest string which is the lowest note and will be at the top when playing. Confusingly this is often referred to as string 4, we will refer to E as the base note.

If you have a five string bass,your 5 string bass tuning is slightly different, you will normally have an extra low string - B E A D G. Similarly, a 6-string bass guitar tuning will include an extra high C as well.

So what do you do with these letters?

There are two methods I am going to give here, the keyboard method and the relative method, both work well, there are more advanced methods but they are beyond the scope of the beginner....

How to Adjust the Pitch

Simply turn the tuning keys on the head of the guitar, turning one way tighens the string thus raising the pitch, loostening lowers the pitch.

Always start with the string looser than the note will be, that is, a lower pitch. This makes things easier!

Keyboard Bass Guitar Tuning

First, to get the bass guitar tuning you need to find the notes on a keyboard.

The G is two Gs below middle C (the C in the middle of the keyboard), this is important, you could damage your bass by attempting to tune too high!

Just tune each string in turn until it sounds like the same note as the corresponding note on the keyboard.

Relative Bass Guitar Tuning

This is more complicated but means that you can play your bass without having a keyboard to hand as long as you are not playing with anyone else or along with other music.This is because you are effectively setting up your bass so that it is harmonically in tune with itself - i.e., you may not be in tune with other instruments but it'll still sound fine on its own.

Start with tuning the base note, E, the best you can, you will then tune other three strings to this note.

To tune the next string (A), put your finger on the fifth fret of the E string and pluck - this will provide the note required for the A string. Repeat this on the A string to get your D note. Repeat again on the D string to get the pitch of your G note.

The Easy Method :)

So you're thinking that this bass guitar tuning is all a bit complex, "how can I be sure my guitar is properly tuned, after all I am just begining to learn bass guitar!"

My tip? Buy an electronic tuner like this Korg GA30 Guitar and Base Tuner, plug the bass in and you can tune each string in seconds, knowing that you are 100% pitch-perfect! They are extremely simple to use and provide a visual indicator of which way to turn the tuning peg.


Get some tuition

The best way to get your bass guitar tuning right every time is to be comfortable and familiar with your instrument, and to do this the best way is to get some tuition. Tuition will give you far more confidence, move you forward far more quickly than you could do on your own and encourage you to pick up that bass far more often.

I would recommend Music Master Pro as a good starting base. This is because it is an on-line video based course that costs roughly the same as an hours personal tuition! It is available instantly and contains video lessons, tuition software and tools, jam tracks and much much more, why not click the link above and give it a try?

So that's it!

Now your guitar is tuned, check out some more of my hubs to get going, or better still, get some tuition.

Go, on get playing, you should now have those bass guitar notes totally in tune! But remember to keep your bass guitar tuned!

PS: I have noticed many of you have got here from searching for the phrase tuning a base guitar, you wouldn't have got here otherwise but you may like to know that base guitar should be spelled bass guitar.
















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