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How to Use Harmonics to Tune a Bass Guitar

The harmonics tuning method is the most difficult and most precise tuning method you can use to tune your bass guitar without a tuner. But if you learn how to use harmonics to tune a bass guitar, you'll always be pitch perfect. Because the harmonics are natural to the strings and crystal clear, they make an excellent tuning tool.

It might take some getting used to, but with practice, you’ll get the hang of tuning your bass to itself using harmonics in no time.

The relationships of a bass's harmonics.
The relationships of a bass's harmonics.
  1. Using the pinkie of your left hand, lightly touch the G string at the 7th fret. Then strike the G string and let the harmonic ring.

  2. Using the middle finger of your left hand, lightly touch the D string at the 5th fret.

  3. Strike the harmonic and let it ring together with the previous harmonic. Adjust the tuning head of the D string until the wavering stops.

  4. Using the pinkie of your left hand, lightly touch the D string at the 7th fret. Then strike the harmonic and let it ring.

  5. Using the middle finger of your left hand, lightly touch the A string at the 5th fret.

  6. Strike the harmonic and let the two harmonics ring together. Adjust the tuning head of the A string until the wavering stops.

  7. Using the pinkie of your left hand, lightly touch the A string at the 7th fret. Strike the A string and let it ring.

  8. Using the middle finger of your left hand, lightly touch the E string at the 5th fret.

  9. Strike the harmonic and let it ring together with the previous harmonic. Adjust the tuning head of the E string until the wavering stops.

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