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Tuning question from bass player


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Hi all,


I hope this thread isn't totally boring and superfluous to you all, as I don't spend much time here, normally lurking as I do in the lowdown.


I started out playing guitar when I was 16 but quickly moved to bass (no offence, i'm sure you're all fulfilled people).


One of the things I never really understood is the standard tuning for 6 string guitar - EADGBE - The intervals being in 4ths except for the 3rd between G and B.


As you know even 6 string basses are tuned (by no means universally) in 4ths (BEADGC).


There is a tonal symmetry here which makes switching keys relatively easy in terms of scales, arpegios and indeed chords.


I have 2 questions


(1) What is the logic in the guitar tuning convention?


(2) Is it hard to learn scales and arpegios? (I imagine guitars are tuned like this so as to fascilitate lots of chordal voicings).


Many thanks

I'm back in bass!
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1) Depends on the style, but fingering chords in standard tuning is easier. Plenty of guitarists also mix and match tunings, for compositional and technical reasons. Open tunings like DADGAD (low to high) are also commonplace.


2) Not really, as long as one is used to the standard. That changes once different tunings other than standard are used. Just change the tuning of one string, and everything's altered.

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Since this tuning enables the low and high strings to be two octaves apart (and gives you the fifth on the B string) it enables you to easily play barre chords across all the strings.


Think of how difficult it would be on a six-stringed instrument tuned in fourths to play a chord across all six strings (especially with only 4 or five fingers).


Sinces bassists do not play chords anywhere near as often, fourths are more logical on a bass to maintain consistency.

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I'm 1 of those who find the chordal possilities of standard tuning far outweigh that of any alternate tuning but I&I also find that, outside strict rhythm guitar strumming, most music is best with only partial chord forms, especially N ensembles where there's another chordal Nstrument.


Have a look at this thread...

"lifelong learning..."


...2 C a brief discussion of some guitarists who tune N straight 4ths.

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