With the advent of technology, tuning a bass guitar became easier because of electronic tuners. However, tuning a bass guitar with your ears as a guide is a skill every bassist should learn.
The whole thing is just an easy task, but it would require diligence and mastery. This article will help you on how to tune your bass guitar by ear without the help of a gadget.
Why should you learn tuning your own bass guitar? The answer is simple. You use it frequently, and an electronic tuner may not be handy at all times.
Besides, knowing how to tune your bass guitar by ear will heighten your knowledge on playing the bass. Since you are aware of your string should sound, you can easily adapt to any given situation. You can even compose a beat that can support a whole song. The applications are endless, and the advantages are even more numerous. Because of these reasons, every bass guitar player should know tuning. Here is how to do it.
In tuning your guitar, you need to make out-of-tune strings to be in-tuned with the rest. How can you say that a string is out-of-tune? It depends on the pitch, which is also dependent on the frequency of the string.
Frequency records the number of vibrations a string can do. The more frequent it is, the higher the pitch becomes. Certain notes follow a certain frequency, and if two strings are out-of-tunes, they do not complement each other. As a result, you can hear a wang-wang sound as you strum them together.
To start tuning your bass, you should make the out-of-tune string loose and flabby. Starting the tuning with a tightly wounded string will eventually break the string. To prevent this, loosen the tuners first. As you change the tension in the string, you will eventually find the tension that would support the note it should produce.
As you tune your guitar, listen for the wang-wang sound. You can play the bass tuning tone to make the note uniform. Afterwards, slowly turn the tuners to increase the tension in your string. As you progress, you would notice that the wang-wang sound slows down.
When it is completely inaudible, the string is already in-tune. If you pass this point, the wang-wang sound will speed up again. In this case, your ears should be extra sensitive in detecting note variations. This will further make the tuning part easier for you.
As a practice, try fixing your bass guitar. If the strings are in-tune, make one of it out-of-tune. Detect the wang-wang sound, and tune it according to the tips mentioned above. If you believe that you have reached the correct tension, check it with your electronic tuner. This will help you be familiarized with the act of tuning the bass guitar.
Like any other musical technique, learning how to tune your bass guitar by ear requires patience and practice. However, with constant applications, you can easily train your ears to be sensitive in detecting and getting the right notes out of your bass guitar.
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