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Everything You Need To Know About Tuning 5 String Bass Guitars




tuning 5 string bass

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Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, learning how to tune a 5 string bass is essential for producing the perfect sound. But tuning can be tricky, especially when it comes to working with a 5 string instrument. With the right instructions and practice, however, you’ll soon have your bass sounding great. This guide will take you through all the steps needed to ensure your 5 string bass is perfectly tuned every time.

Electronic Tuners: Our Top Picks

Check the String’s Pitch

Tuning a 5 string bass guitars is something of a hot topic. Many bassists aren’t sure of the standard bass tuning due to the extra added string. Here are a few steps you can follow with or without an electronic tuner to help you tune with the same accuracy you have with a four string bass.

The first it to check the pitch of the string using either a tuner or your own ears if they are good enough. Many beginner bass players need some sort of tuner as they haven’t developed their ears yet.

From there, you should adjust the tuning pegs to get the desired pitches.

How to Tune a 5 String Bass Guitar?

Tuning your bass guitar can seem like an intimidating task, but with a few helpful tips and the right gear you’ll be able to master this musical challenge. The first step is familiarizing yourself with the different parts of the instrument.

On a 5 string bass guitar, the strings will be numbered from 1-5 (thinnest string to thickest string). You’ll also need to make sure you have either a pitch tuner or an electric tuner handy for your tuning session.

Tighten if Flat, Loosen if Sharp – Using Tuning Pegs

Once your 5 string bass is set up and you have all the necessary supplies in place, it’s time to tune! This process follows a standard play-by-ear approach that’s been used by musicians since long ago.

If a note sounds flat (lower than desired) turn the tuning machine clockwise until it sounds correct. Similarly, if it sounds sharp (higher than desired) then turn the machine counterclockwise until it falls into place.

How To Tune A Bass Guitar Without A Pitch Tuner

It’s possible to tune a bass guitar without relying on any extra devices. All you need is some patience and basic knowledge of notes and scales to do so. The best way is to use another instrument as reference point; typically an existing string tuned correctly will provide an anchor note which can be used to figure out the rest of strings.

Start with one string at time, listening carefully and adjusting accordingly by turning machine either clockwise for lower notes or counterclockwise for higher ones.

Tuning Your Bass Guitar With A Clip-On Electric Tuner

Using an electric tuner instead streamlines things greatly and often produces better results than traditional methods described above because its accuracy isn’t dependent on hearing or experience level.

Make sure setup correctly following manufacturer instructions, then clip onto headstock bridge as close as possible while turning each string until corresponding light turns green signaling that its in tune. Once all strings done proceed with playing!

How often should you tune?

The answer is simply every time you play. It’s very easy for a tuning peg to get knocked whilst your bass is in its case so just get in the habit of checking your tuning before the start of each gig, rehearsal or practice session and you’ll be fine.

Does 5 String Bass Add A Low Or A High String?

It can be both. It’s most common to add an extra low string and tune it down to a B but some players such as Janek Gwizdala and Tony Grey have an extra high string added instead which is often tuned to C.

Can You Tune a 5 String Bass to Drop D?

You can but it’s more for utility rather than extra range. Some styles such as heavy rock and metal have open D string riffs that are easier to play or simply sound better with an open D string.

Whilst you could use the low D on the B string, it simply doesn’t sound the same.


Apps on smart devices are becoming much more common options these days. Despite the small speakers on phones, they can handle a low E string and low B string without any real problems. This means other strings aren’t a problem either.

How Often You Should Tune your 5-String Bass?

The B string can be one to slip quite a lot if the neck of a five string can’t handle the string tension well. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of tuning your bass each time you play.

Can you tune bass with a guitar tuner?

Yes, it is possible to use a guitar tuner to tune a 5 string bass. The process is the same as using an electric or pitch tuner; turn tuning machines until desired note is reached by matching lowest light/note on guitar tuner. Keep in mind that some guitar tuners are not compatible with the extra lower notes of a 5 string bass, so do your research before purchasing one for this purpose!

How to Choose Best Strings for 5-String Bass Guitar?

Selecting the right strings for your 5 string bass can be daunting task due to the wide variety of brands and materials out there. It’s important to remember that strings should be tailored to individual needs depending on style of music and effects desired. When in doubt, nickel-plated steel strings provide nice balance between brightness and durability. If playing more complex pieces opt for duplex strings which provide better control over note articulation and longer sustain when necessary.

Learn More About Tuning Bass Guitar

Mastering proper tuning techniques will give you greater control over your instrument and sound quality overall. Consider signing up for lessons or watching online tutorials for tips on different approaches such as relative or open tuning as well as how to restring correctly if needed. Also reading instructional books can often prove helpful especially when tackling finer details like intonation adjustments or special techniques like fretting harmonic at 12th fret (whereby fretted note matched perfectly with open string).

Standard Bass Guitar Tuning

For those just starting out, standard tuning is generally best place begin; here all 4 thickest strings correspond to same notes across all frets while thinnest string tuned an octave higher (this corresponds following notes: E A D G B E). This setup makes it easier learn basic chord progressions but also allows ample room experiment more advanced treatments like dropping third chromatic flat fifth etc.

What is standard tuning for 4-, 5-, and 6-string bass guitars?

The standard tuning for all of these bases follows the same logic of always tuning in 4ths going up and 5ths going down.

The standard tuning of a four string is E A D G so a five string bass (which has an extra string below the low E would go down a 5th and be tuned to B. Hence it’s name, the B string.

As silly as this sounds, a six string bass can be thought of as having the tuning of a five string bass with an added high string. It’s above the high G string and goes up a 4th so is tuned to C.

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