Bass Guitar Tuning

How to tune the bass guitar to standard and Drop D. Also other variations of tuning your bass guitar such as Low B and Full Step Down.

44
1. Ways To Tune the bass guitar. 4 String bass: all High to Low or Thin to Thick
Standard:GDAE
Drop D:GDAD
Drop C#: GDAC#
Half Step Down:GbDbAbEb
Full Step Down:FCGD
Drop D/G:GDGD
Raised G:GDAG
Low B: DAEB
Low A#:C#F#D#A#
Low C#:G#C#F#C#
Low C# Dropped To A#: D#A#FA#

5 String Bass:

5 String Standard:GDAEB
Drop B:CGDAE
Drop B/C:GDADC#
Half Step Down:GbDbAbEbBb
Full Step Down:FCGD

6 String Bass:

6 String Standard:BGDAEB
Low B:CGDAEB
Low C:EBGDAE

8, 12, 15, and 18 String bass:

8 String Standard:GgDdAaEe
Full fifths:GdDaAeEb
12 String Standard:GggDddAaaEee
15 String Standard:GggDddAaaEeeBbb
18 String Standard:BbbGggDddAaaEeeBbb
Full Fifths:GdgDadAeaEbe
Full Fifths:GgdDdaAaeEeb
2. Tuning The Bass Guitar. Tuning the 4th string: We are now going to tune the bass to standard pitch. 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. Here is an example to tell if the 4th string is in tune. 4 string bass standard tuning is GDAE. The G string is the highest and the E string is the Lowest.
G|------|
D|------|
A|---0--|
E|--5---|
If those notes are the same, your in tune with the A and E string. Now do the same to the rest of the strings.
G|---------0--|
D|------0-5---|
A|---0-5------|
E|--5---------|
If the 5 and the 0 sound the same, your in tune. Drop D makes the 4th string deeper. Here is how to get in to drop D:
G|------|
D|------|
A|---0--|
D|--7---|
If they sound the same, your in drop D variations: Drop D down a 1/2 step: From standard Drop D tuning, tune all of the strings down a 1/2 step (like they were 1 fret lower). Drop D down a whole step: From standard Drop D tuning, tune all of the strings down a whole step (like they were 2 frets lower). This is sometimes called Drop C by mistake. Drop C would mean to drop only the 4th string down to a C.

89 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    president_Uke
    Awesome, this actually makes sense! Thanks a bunch. P.S Is there a way of adding lessons to your favorites?
    punk_isntemo12
    aravind wrote: good lesson. the guy who wrote this is sitting beside me in class
    really?? hes good
    blink182182
    hey am making a website about bass i have only made 1 page but i wanna no what ppl think be4 i make more pages plz leave a message on my message board telling mw what u think www.freewebs.com/howtoplaybass
    knell76
    can someone show me how you convert drop d and drop c to a 5 string bass or if you can do it?
    carrotcake
    Isn't there a tuning called C# standard where every string's tuned down 1 1/2 steps or is it just made up
    tiv0
    i still don't quite get it what should the tuner read when the not is dopped down the 1/2 step?
    Mr.Glue
    F U C K U eragon2112 don't be uning my S H I T rock on that iz mine so find your own S H I T u stupid @SS MOTHER FUCKER F U C K U B I T C H F A G G O T
    Mr.Glue
    Ok I kinda get everything but I have a guitar/bass tuner and it has flats I know that no flats iz regular tuning E,A,D,G drop D iz two flats D,A,D,G and five flats iz B,E,A,D but what are one flat, three flats, and four flats called??? Does any one know???
    Mr.Glue
    DOES ANY ONE KNOW TUNING??? I know that standard on a bass tuner iz no flats (E,A,D,G) and five flats are low B (B,E,A,D) and I know that two flats are (D,-,-, somthin but what are 1,3,and4 flats called PLEEZ SOMEONE TELL ME!!! If u can THNX!!!
    juggalohomie789
    Shadowfax357 wrote: Whatever happened to drop A tuning. I'm trying to tune my bass for a Korn song, but I can't figure out drop A tuning.
    fieldy uses a 5 string and tunes down a whole step so instead of BEADG its ADGCF
    juggalohomie789
    hardcoreatheist wrote: Thinking about it shouldnt they all be done using the 6th fret? E string zero=E 1=Esharp 2=F 3=Fsharp 4=G 5=Gsharp 6=A A string zero=A 1=Asharp 2=B 3=Bsharp 4=C 5=Csharp 6=D D string zero=D 1=Dsharp 2=E 3=Esharp 4=F 5=Fsharp 6=G
    there is no such note as e sharp or b sharp the interval between e and f is a half step and same with be tween b and c so it would be Estring 0=E, 1=F, 2=F sharp/Gflat, 3=G, 4=G sharp/A flat, 5=A Astring 0=A, 1=A sharp/ B flat, 2=B, 3=C, 4=C sharp/D flat there u go thats what it should be read the bass lessons and read the columns on music theory
    jongito
    i know how to drop D..but how do i drop C?does that mean i have to go down 4 frets in the 4th string?
    Wisse_90
    in my band the guitars are playing with a C# G# C# F# A# E# tuning. someone know how to tune my 5 string bass?
    winterburn69
    This whole Eb thing has me so confused. So when you have your bass tuned Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, what are like the first 6 notes on the Eb string?
    CountryRocker14
    So what would Drop C look like on 4, 5 and 6 strings cause everyone i know has their basses tuned CGCF
    bsmith111
    drop c# is C# G# G# F# (low to high), and there is also drop c that is the same just a half step lower. i think you got it backwards with with the C# standard or low C# whatever you wanna call it. in dropped tuning on a 4 string you always have the 4th string a full step lower in lower than it should be.
    Qwertyzeke
    CLIFF_BURTON wrote: how do you tune your bass if your 4th string is out of tune, and you dont have a piano or guitar?
    Go to www.tunemybass.com It's great. Has quite a few bass tunings, including 5 and 6 string. Or guitars, too. It's all good.
    JP240Z
    1st:everyone new to playing guitar or bass should learn the chromatic scale (a,a#,b,c,c#,d.d#,e,f,f#,g,g#) it is key to many things later on and if you know that you can tune to anything 2nd:you are confusing by saying tuning is GDAE because tabs and everything else is low to high EADG and on a 5 string the 5th string is the high b not the low b bassballer25:check out your local pawn shops everyone ive ever been to has a music section with tuners chords pedals ect. thats were i got my bass and amp and they are great and you can get good deals
    Shadowfax357
    Whatever happened to drop A tuning. I'm trying to tune my bass for a Korn song, but I can't figure out drop A tuning.
    Vman666
    ok...seriously...if anyone here cannot
    CLIFF_BURTON wrote: how do you tune your bass if your 4th string is out of tune, and you dont have a piano or guitar?
    omg...cliff burton lives...
    kristoff47
    i'm kinda nu to bass, just picked up a 5-string, can anyone tell me what i tune to to keep with the guitar, do i tunr the bottom string to his bottom sytring or what?
    eXtreme
    Great post, that has really helped me out but i would just like to know. what is the standard frequency used when tuning a bass?
    aravind
    good lesson. the guy who wrote this is sitting beside me in class
    acidbass
    Actually a standard 6 string bass is tuned BEADGC, with the 18 string triple strings tuned to BbbEeeAaaDddGggCcc.
    peace2urmom
    kristoff47: i'm kinda nu to bass, just picked up a 5-string, can anyone tell me what i tune to to keep with the guitar, do i tunr the bottom string to his bottom sytring or what? it doesnt if its tuned to E just tune them together, have him pick the 6th string (low E) and you have to hit your E on the 12th fretand tune them together. after you tune them then tune your bottom then you can sepratly tune the rest.