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G string and 4th fret on D string?

Sam T the Flea
Posts: 1
5 months ago
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In high school, my music teacher would always tell me when tuning the bass after the fifth fret on the string above, to tune the G string after the FOURTH fret on the D string. I never really understood this, as the fourth fret would be a G flat, but I never questioned her.
But surely a music teacher with a university education wouldn't just be wrong about something like that? Is there a reason she would tell me to move my finger to the fourth fret on the D string?
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1828
That's for guitar, not bass, and it's because for whatever reason, guitar tuning is imperfect. On a guitar:

e (1st string)
B (2nd)
G (3rd)
D (4th)
A (5th)
E (6th)

…you tune the B (2nd) string to the 4th fret of the G (3rd string) string above it. But on a 4-string bass, the 1st string is G:

G (1st)
D (2nd)
A (3rd)
E (4th)

…and, as on guitar, you tune the G to the 5th fret of the D above it.

So the imperfect tuning thing isn't something bassists normally have to worry about. Unless you're playing on a bass with 6 or more strings, as such basses include strings both below the G and above the E.

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