Bass guitar tuning

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Each bass-guitar tuning assigns pitches to the strings of an electric bass. Because pitches are associated with notes, bass-guitar tunings assign open notes to open strings.

Standard & Other Tunings[edit]

Most bass guitars have four strings, which are tuned one octave lower than the lowest pitched four strings of an electric guitar. Thus, the bass guitar's standard tuning is E, A, D, G (lowest to highest string, also see table below for string tuning, below that tuning names.). The 12-tone Equal temperament tuning method, and using the A440 (pitch standard). If one simply tunes their bass or other guitar in perfect 5ths, that's actually Pythagorean tuning and will render a flat octave, so you're encouraged to match each open string on the bass guitar to these pitches as precisely as possible. Read more about bass guitar intonation methods, so that your open string or 12th-fret harmonic and fretted 12th-fret frequency do not differ.[1]

Note: There are also a bunch of different tunings you will come across depending on the songs and artists. I didn't notice any tunings here aside from E standard and Drop D. So here are a bunch I use (the string order is from low to high ex. E-standard EADG.).

Alternative Tunings:

Eb drop Db, Drop C, B standard (4 String), and C standard to name a few that are not listed, and that I have not added below, formerly only standard tuning.

4 String 5 String 5 String


6 String Note Frequency 4 String Notes


Alternative 4 String Tunings
1 1 C3 130.813 Hz (String order for Alternative lowest to highest) (See directly below table for tuning names)
1 1 2 2 G2 97.999 Hz E Eb, D, C
2 2 3 3 D2 73.416 Hz A Ab, A, G
3 3 4 4 A1 55 Hz D Db, D, C
4 4 5 5 E1 41.204 Hz G Gb, G, F
5 6 B0 30.868 Hz

Alternative Tunings In Order:

Eb or E flat (half step down)

Drop D (E standard only gets tuned down to D)

D drop C (variant of drop c tuning)

A popular altered tuning is Drop D, which decreases the E string by a whole step downward. This provides a low D, which is desirable for songs in the key of D or G.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frequencies, Contrabass Mania, retrieved 2010-08-23