bass strings, either the ead, or adg.......thanks

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Ken, i think it would take many weeks in your living room to properly understand your knowledge and music theory. so that brings up my second, and i hope, relevant question. i played piano for many years, learning and playing some classics. however i had a guy come and tune my piano. very impressive, especially when they use 5 or 6 finger chords. so, i have several guitar tuners, except a strobe. plug in, plug in and go back out, and clip ons. well, they usually try to find your note. so set it to bass, it'll try to find your note, E4, etc.  so with unconventional instruments not always the case. my method is to start with the biggest string and tune till it's not flopping around. sometimes to get the right note, the string seems way too tight, like it's an octave above? i don't want my strings buzzing, but i also don't need a distressed string. also, i use the standard 440hz, is this also something i should explore?

I'm an electrical engineer so I know a lot more physics theory than music theory! My procedure is pretty much what you describe. Put the string on and tighten it until it is ringing cleanly, not flopping against the fingerboard. Now look at the tuner and tune it up until it is at the target note. Some tuners may tell you the octave number but most do not. So you just verify that you are in the right octave by the string tension, unless you have perfect pitch. If it seems very loose you may be an octave below, if it seems very tight you may be an octave above but in many cases the string will break if you try to up tune it by an octave. Or you can compare the pitch to a keyboard instrument if you have one. The bottom three notes on an 88 key piano are A0, Bb0, and B0. The left most C on a piano is C1 and you can work up from there increasing the octave number each time you get to the next C.

hi Ken,

the system will not let me reply to you're last message, tuesday.

i suppose my major dilemma is when on an uneven scale, say 30, the strings will not come to pitch

in a normal setting. let's say that the high "A" is getting so tight that you get your safety glasses on.

so i'm thinking that with a strange scale length, one has to compromise.

also to really be ignorant, are you saying that the number on the tuner is telling you the octave?

oh, i do have perfect pitch. just trying to figure out how these tuners work.

thank you again.

If your tuner gives you just a note name like C then you do not know the octave except by other means. If your tuner says C4 then it is giving you the octave. In this case it would middle C at 262 Hz. Some tuners give you the octave number and/or the frequency in Hz, others do not.

I have a six string, 30 inch scale bass with the top string tuned to B3 (247 Hz) which is just half a step below middle C. I am using a 0.015 plain steel string to get that pitch at that scale length. If you are trying to get much above that you may not be able to find a string with a small enough gauge. If you try to tune an A string from a normal guitar string set to the same pitch on a 30 inch scale it is possible that you will snap it because you should use a lighter gauge string to keep the tension within sane limits. The tuning pitch, scale length, and tension of a string are all related by a fairly simple formula. If you raise the pitch or increase the scale length or increase the string gauge without changing the other two then the tension will increase. So you should use lighter gauge strings on a 30 inch scale instrument than you would on a 25.5 in scale which I believe is the Fender standard scale for six string guitars.

Do a search on Kalium strings and you will find a string tension calculator on their website. Set the scale length to 25.5 and you will see the tensions that you get from the string gauges you normally use for a guitar. Now set the scale length to 30 inches and you will see the gauges you need to use to get the same tension at the pitches you want to use at the longer scale. The exact results vary from string brand to string brand and for differing types of strings within a brand but this would give you a ballpark number on the string gauges to use.

My guess is that you are trying to use too heavy a gauge of string for a 30 inch scale.


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