Page 81 - bass

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Ba s s L ev e l 1
Bandwagon Music Studios
Nothing sounds worse than a bass guitar out of
tune with itself or with the other instruments in
the band.
It is a good idea to practice tuning so that you
can quickly and accurately tune your bass,
whether it is with itself or to other instruments.
This way you will always be playing an in tune bass
for yourself and in a band situation.
When a string is perfectly in tune with another
string or instrument it should sound as though
only one note is being played. The only difference
will be an increase in the volume. Aim for this
perfection in your tuning.
The “secret” to tuning is to LISTEN. This seems
obvious but you have got to listen hard. What you
should be listening to is the PITCH of the notes.
Pitch means how high or low a note sounds. To
help you focus your listening to the pitch you
should hum or sing the notes. Hum the note that
is your guide note and then hum your string.
Listen to your hum - did you go higher or lower
when you hummed your string?
Be careful not to listen to the colour of the
notes. For example if you are tuning to a trumpet
then the colour of the trumpet is brighter and
thinner than your bass. So by only listening to the
colour it appears that the trumpet sounds
‘higher’, but when you concentrate on the pitch
you will get the correct tuning. This problem of
instrument colour will also happen between lead
guitars and basses. So you must be careful not to
let yourself listen to the colour rather than
pitch. Remember to hum or sing to focus your
listening. Your voice will act as a common colour
and make listening easier.
Here is a drill to help you hear higher and lower
pitches. The drill is done along the same string.
Choose a string where the pitches are
comfortable for you to hum or sing. LISTEN to
the way the pitch changes.
To really focus your listening try singing
Bells Jingle Bells”
for each note.
This part of the song is all on the same note.
Play these frets on your chosen string.
Pitches going higher - 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8
Pitches going lower - 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 .
Your string =
When listening, play the guide note a few times
to let the pitch sink in and then play the string
your checking a few times to let the pitch sink in.
Remember to hum or sing the pitches - this will
focus your listening.
When you have to change your string you must
keep listening. Make sure to play the string so
can hear it as you change it. You can only gauge
the change of tuning by listening to the pitch of
the string and not by how far you turn the tuning
peg. Bring the string into tune with a smooth
motion towards the correct pitch.
Make sure you have hold the right tuning peg
before you start turning.