- Basic tuning for electric bass

Basic tuning for the electric bass

In this lesson we are going to take a look at something that many bass players forget to do, TUNE! After going through this lessons, I would suggest looking at these lessons, Tuning With Harmonics, and Drop D Tuning.

There are several different methods that can be used to tune the bass. The following is the most basic, and should be the first one that you try. With this method, you will be tuning the bass so that it will sound in tune with itself. This is called relative tuning. That just means that your bass will sound good when you play, even though you might not be tuned exactly to pitch.

Tune the 4th string

Even though you could use the following tuning method without first tuning your 4th string, we are going to tune the bass to standard pitch in this lesson. The 4th string is the thickest string, and sounds the lowest. Try to hear if the 4th string on your bass sounds higher or lower than the note you are hearing below. Then try match your bass to the note you are hearing. As you are listening to the 2 notes, try and hear the "crashing" sound that comes from the notes being out of tune. The closer you are to being in tune, the further away the notes will crash.

  • To raise the pitch of a string, turn the tuning pegs that face up counter clockwise. If the tuning pegs face down then turn clockwise. Reverse the direction to lower the pitch. Never turn the tuning pegs unless the note is ringing. Otherwise, you will have no idea how far to turn the tuning peg.
Low E Tuning Note
get crescendo MIDI player

Click this button for the tuning notes on all 4 strings. This includes both standard tuning, all strings lowered a 1/2 step, and all strings lowered a whole step.

Page 2, Tuning the rest of the strings


Basic electric bass tuning jump zone

Tuning the 4th string
Tuning the rest of the strings
Tuning with a piano

Electronic tuners
Using a tuning fork

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