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Tuning - which order?

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Force of habit from orchestral playing, I always tune the D first - because in orchestras you tune the A harmonic on the D string to the A from the oboe - then the A string, then G and E last. I don't think there's a right way, really, but you should certainly go through them twice.

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Just now, neilp said:

Force of habit from orchestral playing, I always tune the D first - because in orchestras you tune the A harmonic on the D string to the A from the oboe - then the A string, then G and E last. I don't think there's a right way, really, but you should certainly go through them twice.

I like that one 👍

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2 hours ago, neilp said:

Force of habit from orchestral playing, I always tune the D first - because in orchestras you tune the A harmonic on the D string to the A from the oboe - then the A string, then G and E last. I don't think there's a right way, really, but you should certainly go through them twice.

That's exactly how I do it. Not sure why, and for me it's nothing to do with orchestra's.

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2 hours ago, SpondonBassed said:

GDAEB (1st string through to 5th).  I usually find that the strings need less adjustment as I go on towards the B.

Numbered strings is a whole other question. After 32 years of playing bass I couldn't tell you the 'number' of each string (without referring to your post!). Why is G '1st' when it's furthest away from your plucking hand?

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EADG then pull on each string hard, then EADG again. Then tune again in the morning of the following day.

some basses seem to keep their tuning with new strings (my Vigier) and some lose it quite quickly (my old Thumb BO 4).  The Warwick always needed tuning once a day for about a week until the new strings settled down... 

 

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My Warwick Thumb NT is the same. Need to tune it every day i play it. Its hung on a wall hanger in bas cave with a reasonably stable house temperature whereas my Jazz bass or my Overwaters remain in tune most days.

Dave

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5 minutes ago, DJpullchord said:

Do you guys do it by ear or cheat with one of them tuner things?

I use a tuner  which I leave on all the time because if I’m playing up the dusty end I occasionally forget the notes 😀

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I'll tune the 'A' first, then tune the others to that ('E', 'D', 'G', then 'B' if the fiver, and lastly 'C' if the sixer...).
I'll tune my drums differently, though. Bass drum first, if starting from scratch, then low to high toms, and snare lastly.

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EADG. Always have, always will. 

The tension on the higher gauge strings is more likely to put the lesser gauge strings out of tune. That said, it's a pretty small consideration once the strings and neck are settled in. So long as temperatures are relatively stable. But when putting on new strings or adjusting a set up, it's more important. 

I do have a bit of quirk though, I tune to songs that are in G rather than using a tuner. I find G is ever to slightly easier for me. Probably because I've always used songs that are in G ;)

I don't bother with a tuner unless I'm on stage. In which case I intend to tune up ASAP on arrival, once again at beginning of soundcheck and once again at end. But usually just end up tuning at soundcheck and checking just before we begin. 

To be honest though, with my bass and my strings (I use heavy flats) they don't go out of tune so it's all a bit moot unless I'm setting up a bass or stringing, which is rare. 

 

 

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If I'm just tuning up then it's low to high on all the strings, then repeat in full as many times as required to check that the tuning of the other strings hasn't been affected as I've changed the tension.  Like others, I seem to remember being told that this was the correct way to do it because of the larger effect that changing the tension on the lower strings will have...but that doesn't make much sense if I'm always going to repeat the process anyway.

One caveat, that if I'm doing that on stage, it's not at all unheard of to be half way through and hear the intro to the song start, so quite often I'll only actually get as far as the E or A.

If I'm changing strings then it's a free for all - whatever order they untangle themselves from the D'Addario mass of strings.  E first and low to high for preference (B coming later on) but quite frequently influenced by having to get whatever string the cat is playing with away from him ASAP. 

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On 06/01/2019 at 11:24, Japhet said:

I've always tuned low to high on the assumption that the heavier strings have more pull on the neck and therefore are more likely to have an effect on the other strings, so get them done first. Makes sense to me but I'm ready to be shot down in flames.

If you look at the tension charts for those companies that actually supply this information, you'll find that the D string has the highest tension, and the tension of each string gets less as you go higher or lower from the D, with the lower tuned strings going down in tension more quickly than the higher tuned ones.

For a standard 4-string bass the order of string tension from highest to lowest is D, G, A, E

As for the original question I always tune highest to lowest. Twice.

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But its not the tension which affects other strings....its the CHANGE in tension from tuning an out-of-tune string to being in tune. So really what you need to do, scientifically, is to tune the string which is most out-of-tune first. Or more accurately still, if they're similar amounts out of tune, tune the string which is going to give the greatest net change in its tension first. That way, it will bend (or release) the neck the most, altering the tuning on the yet-to-be-tuned strings. Then once these are tuned, you can go back to the first string you tuned and check it again. You'd be seeking to minimise the number of iterations before all strings are in tune.

In theory, if you could measure it to absolute precision, its an asymptote and while you'd approach accurate tuning, you'd never achieve it (except on one string at a time) so there would be infinite iterations.

In practice, you'd never be able to measure that accurately, or other effects would give a false measurement, so you'd have an acceptable error band of out-of-tuneness. And I bet that even if you did all the maths, the number of iterations would be the same for any order of tuning!!!

So the scientifically/pragmatically correct answer is: it doesn't matter.

Of course, everyone has assumed we're talking about a fretted bass. In reality, if its a fretless, then unless you NEED the low E (or whatever your lowest note is), so long as the lowest string is lower than the lowest note you actually do need, it doesn't actually matter and you don't strictly NEED to tune it at all.

Unless you use the open strings of course.....

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None of the above cos we tune to E flat!

But I use a chromatic tuner and start high to low and then back to high again.  I tend to start with the G (or in my case F#) as it's the string that's most likely to go out of tune when being put in and out of the case/gig bag.

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18 hours ago, arthurhenry said:

Numbered strings is a whole other question. After 32 years of playing bass I couldn't tell you the 'number' of each string (without referring to your post!). Why is G '1st' when it's furthest away from your plucking hand?

Perhaps it's 1st because the G string is nearest to your fretting fingers.

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B to G but on my guitar with the floating locking trem I go outside to in, E,E,A,B,D,G and repeat until it's in tune.

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Use a tuner to tune the E then E to G, double check the octave in pairs, then check them all again on the harmonics.

If any are being troublesome I will do all the strings on the tuner. I so despise those stupid little tuners which they virtually give away but take forever to use.

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If you use a headstock tuner you do need to be able to reverse the display for a lefty bass! 😄 (Most can do that.)

Don't ask me how i know... 😉

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8 minutes ago, Silvia Bluejay said:

If you use a headstock tuner you do need to be able to reverse the display for a lefty bass! 😄 (Most can do that.)

Don't ask me how i know... 😉

 

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I own a Yamaha, most of the time it's still in tune out of the gig bag! 😂 when i really need to tune is after soundcheck and before the gig because of temperature changes in the room.
I never payed too much attention to tuning order, most of the times i start with the G but i think its just because it's the closest string at hand after i've turned on the volume in the bass. In any case i tune my bass in either of the two following methods:  B-D-A-E-B-E-A-D-G  or  B-E-A-D-G-D-A-E-B
I always do two runs on the tuning just to compensate the differences in tension when i get to the last string.

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