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New player here - Tuning Question


Will_Bassman_90

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Will_Bassman_90, welcome to the forum!

 

There are certainly others that can tell you more about alternate tunings that are useful, and how/when to apply them. However, you got me curious and I found a page with a long list and sound samples. < clickety >

 

And for your reading pleasure you can find 96 pages of alternate guitar tunings (in .pdf) < here >

- Matt W.
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I don't really understand the question ... You could:

 

- tune everything half a step down (EbAbDbGb)

- tune your E-string a whole step down to D

- tune everything a whole step down (DGCF I think)

 

and so on, and so on ...

 

What's the frets got to do with it?

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Welcome wil_bassman_90,

 

I understand your desire to know more about the bass. My advise is, at this point of your progress, don't get things too complicated. Learn the bass with a standard tuning. Later on, (several Years) you can explore the other world of tunings.

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Rocky gave you a great answer.

 

You need to learn the names of the notes on your bass first.

 

Having the bass in another tuning will delay and confuse this process.

 

When you know what notes you want the strings tuned to and why you want to do this, you should give it a try.

 

Alternate tunings is not a common thing on the bass. There are bands that tune the whole instrument lower.

 

Welcome to the world of bass! Ask your teacher your questions. Don't attempt to go "over his head" unless there is something that he can't answer for you.

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Eddie, I think the frets part has to do with tuning the bass by ear. In standard tuning, the strings are tuned in 4ths, so it's always the 5th fret that sounds the same pitch as the adjacent higher-tuned string.

 

For drop-D, it's no longer the 5th fret that sounds an A (the adjacent string); it's the 7th fret.

 

This is why it's not exactly a good idea to experiment with alternate tunings without having a firm grounding in standard tuning. Even then it can be a pain.

 

I've been over to the Keyboard Corner forum here and some of the guys have admitted they simply cannot play an electronic keyboard that is not tuned to standard pitch (that is, if it is transposed). Their ears have become accustomed to hearing middle C when they press the middle C key. If something else -- say Ab -- comes out, it totally throws them off. This is similar to playing a bass in alternate tuning.

 

Although everyone should be able to tune their bass by ear, using a tuner is a good idea, too. This makes alternate tunings a snap. More importantly, if every string is a fraction off, your ear learns the incorrect intervals and it becomes difficult later to correct your ear. (You also need to make sure your bass is properly "set up", too, so it is playing in proper intonation.)

 

 

Side note follows.

 

Of course, there's always the battle between well-tempered and just intonation. Like piano, fretted instruments like electric bass guitar are well-tempered. Basically, this just means all the half-steps are an equal distance apart. (The interval being a ratio of the twelfth root of two.) This is a compromise that allows play in any key.

 

Unfortunately, it also means the common chord intervals don't sound as sweet. For example, the major 3rd is slightly sharp. But we train our ear to accept this as a proper major 3rd. It's usually not until you hear how sweet a 5:4 major 3rd ratio sounds that you realize you've been putting up with something slightly sour.

 

Here\'s a comparison between well-tempered and just intonation, including sound clips.

 

In the first table, notice that the ratio of a 5th to the fundamental is different for just (3/2=1.5) and well-tempered (1.49831). Now, we don't tune our basses in 5ths, but every other violin family instrument does. Orchestral players are taught to tune their instruments to just intonation (by ear). (They don't finger the "7th fret" note to tune two unison pitches as we are often taught; they actually play two adjacent open strings and listen for the 5th interval.) If you were to play a fundamental and a 5th on a fretted (well-tempered) instrument -- say a guitar -- a good violin player would recognize that the "well-tempered" 5th is slightly flat by their "just" ear.

 

There are a few unusual fretted instruments that allow play in just intonation, but it's probably easier to play a fretless instrument instead.

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I've been over to the Keyboard Corner forum here and some of the guys have admitted they simply cannot play an electronic keyboard that is not tuned to standard pitch (that is, if it is transposed). Their ears have become accustomed to hearing middle C when they press the middle C key. If something else -- say Ab -- comes out, it totally throws them off. This is similar to playing a bass in alternate tuning.
I feel the same way about my bass. Having the bass tuned a quarter-step off completely throws my hearing for a loop. Thank God for electronic tuners. If I ever play with someone in drop-tuning, I just use a 5 or 6 string bass and stay in standard tuning.

 

Baritone guitars (tuned A to A), which I love the sound of, also mess me up. One of these days, I'll just have to buy one and fight my way through the "ear learning curve."

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I tried this excercise a while back and it worked pretty well. I taught my self to be able to "Hum" a middle "C" note. It took a couple of weeks of trying but now I can come really close. I can tune my bass pretty close with a start on "C". I am not as accurate as a electronic tuner but surprisingly close. Anyone else tried anything similar???

Rocky

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb, voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb, contesting the vote."

Benjamin Franklin

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Originally posted by jeremy c:

I've been over to the Keyboard Corner forum here and some of the guys have admitted they simply cannot play an electronic keyboard that is not tuned to standard pitch (that is, if it is transposed). Their ears have become accustomed to hearing middle C when they press the middle C key. If something else -- say Ab -- comes out, it totally throws them off. This is similar to playing a bass in alternate tuning.
I feel the same way about my bass. Having the bass tuned a quarter-step off completely throws my hearing for a loop. Thank God for electronic tuners. If I ever play with someone in drop-tuning, I just use a 5 or 6 string bass and stay in standard tuning.

 

Baritone guitars (tuned A to A), which I love the sound of, also mess me up. One of these days, I'll just have to buy one and fight my way through the "ear learning curve."

I don't havae perfect pitch - nor do I want it - but I have good relative pitch and alternate tunings and transpositions drive m ecrazy. Things just don't sound or feel right.
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