How to Tune a Bass Guitar

The 5th Fret Tuning Method is a simple way to check your tuning and to tune your bass guitar. With this method you have to get at least one of your strings in tune (preferably the low E string), because from that string you will tune the rest of your strings using that as a reference. If you don't have access to a tuning fork, keyboard, or other tuning device, then that's fine. You can get one string as close as you can by ear and then tune the rest of the guitar to it. The guitar will be in tune with it's self and will sound just fine, even if every string is a little sharp or flat.

Open Strings - Down below I will talk about playing Open Strings. To play an Open String means to play a string without fretting anything. So that's why it's called Open.

5th Fret Tuning Method

5th Fret Bass Guitar Tuning Method

Use the picture as a reference, Assuming now that your 4th String(E note, thickest string) is in tune....

  • Fret the 5th fret on the 4th String, If your guitar is in tune or close, then if you pluck the fretted 4th string and the open 3rd String, they should sound pretty close. Turn the pegs on your 3rd string until they match the 4th String.
  • Now that the 3rd String is in tune we can now tune the 2nd String to it. It is the same process as before, fret the 5th fret on the 3rd string and play that string and the Open 2nd String, and then turn the pegs on the 2nd String until they match.
  • Same process again, fret the 5th fret on the 2nd String, and tune the Open 1st String to the fretted 2nd String.

Now, do you know why we nick name it the 5th Fret Method? Your guitar should now be in tune.

Congratulations on tuning your guitar!

Get-Tuned's Tuner App
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Comments (7)
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thanks a lot

by tawanda on


by Odewu Solomon on

retired Marine

thanks guys. also how do I set up a
4 string Hohner B2A with a Steinberger System
and when do you replace the strings. thanks
Don Sponos

by don on


by Sam on


by bill on

it's great thanks

by victor on

Easy to do, thanks.

by Trevor on
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