Bass guitar:Tuning

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  1. Play the E note on the piano (the white note found immediately after the two black notes in a row, not the three).
  2. Play the thickest, or E string on your Bass, turning the Machine Head or Tuning Head anti-clockwise until the tones match.
  3. Play the fifth fret on the E string, and play the adjacent string to that open, or unfretted. This is the A string.
  4. Play both notes until they match, tuning the A string by turning the machine head anti-clockwise.
  5. Play the fifth fret on your A string, and, using the same method, tune the following string to that note. This is the D string.
  6. Play the fifth fret on your D string, and, using the same method, tune the final string to that note. This is the G string.


  • Sometimes the Bass Guitar's head has the Machine Heads on the opposite side to that of, say, a Fender P-Bass. In this case, turn the machine head clockwise instead of counterclockwise.
  • One method of checking that the notes or tones match is to listen for waves or ripples in the sound. This is known as dissonance. When the notes are matched, there will be no ripples.
  • Some ERBs (extended range basses) may have an extra low B string or a high C, or in the case of a 6-string bass, both. This article covers a 4-string bass in standard tuning with standard gauges but note that bass tunings are very versatile.
  • You may snap a string, either through your own eagerness or faulty manufacture. Always buy two sets of strings.
  • Bass strings are expensive. To make them last longer, try boiling them rather than changing them.


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