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Re: Tuning a Double Bass

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Posted by Rich Laird on February 23, 2001 at 18:05:47:

In Reply to: Tuning a Double Bass posted by pruento on February 23, 2001 at 16:33:18:

: I have just purchased a 3/4 double bass recently, and it was "set up"
: in the store. I have been playing electric bass for years, and just started
: going acoustic.
: I attempted to adjust the tuning the otherday with my KORG electronic tuner,
: but it seems I am tuning the tones at least 2 steps higher than what was
: done in the store. Are there any links with WAV files with already tuned
: double basses I can use to get my ear used to the tones?
: Note:
: I did all the steps I usally do to tune my electric--starting with the 'E'
: string, around 440H, and working from there.

: Thanks

Here's a couple of things that might addition to Bob's electronic tuner idea.

Most upright bassists tune more with harmonics than with open strings - something you might not be used to doing on the bass guitar. I'm a little confused about what you said re tuning the e-string to 440H - I always thought 440 was an A. In fact, you can tune the harmonic that is over the A on your d-string (equivalent of the seventh fret) to an A440 (It'a actually an octave lower.)

After that, what most people do is match the harmonic that is two-octaves above the open a-string (like the fourth fret) to the a harmonic on the d-string and - in the same way - match the "fourth fret" harmonic on the d-string to the "fifth fret" harmonic on the g-string. Match the a-string and e-string the same way...and you've got it.

I think most poeple find that using the "twelfth-fret" harmonics - and the open strings - come into play, you start to get things really close. Personally, I never feel like it's really right on the money until I like the sound of my open strings.

Hope that's a lot easier to do that to write it down!

Oh, one other can be a real pain, but if you're ever moving the pegs a lot to get the bass in tune, tuning one string can throw the others out of tune, cause you're changing the tension around all the time. That big hollow box is much less stable than a solid-body guitar.

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