6 String bass guitar fretboard tuning
6 String bass guitar notes chart
6 string bass guitar is like 4 string bass guitar with two additional strings. One thickest string on one side and one thinnest string on other side. Additional thickest string is tuned 5 notes lower than the lowest (thickest) string on 4 string bass guitar. So, we get additional 5 bass notes. Additional thinnest string is tuned 5 notes higher than the highest (thinnest) string on 4 string bass guitar. So, we get 5 more treble notes.
On standard tuned 6 string bass guitar with 24 frets pitch range goes from 0B to 5C. This means 48 different notes (pitches). Open strings are tuned to (from thickest to thinnest): 0B, 1E, 1A, 2D, 2G, 3C. Like on other guitars many notes are repeated (same pitch, different timbre). For example, note 2G is repeated five times. The only difference between these five notes is in timbre.
Let’s observe the positions of some notes:
- Notes 0B, 1C, 1C♯, 1D and 1D♯ on the left side (the thickest string) appear only once, just like the notes 4G♯, 4A, 4A♯, 4B and 5C on the right side (the thinnest string)
- The first repeated bass note is 1E and the last repeated note on the treble side is 4G.
- The most repeated notes are 2G, 2G♯, 2A, 2A♯, 2B, 3C, 3C♯, 3D, 3D♯ and 3E. Each of them can be played from five different locations.
Caution: circumstances can change when we change the tuning and/or we have the guitar with more or less than twenty four frets. I used three frets less when designing the 144 Notes application.
6 string bass is really like 5 string bass with one additional treble string. Therefore wider neck and stronger body is needed what makes guitar in most cases more heavy. If weight is more important to you than additional treble string, go for 5 string bass when you’re buying the guitar.
With ordinary tuned 6 string bass guitar we can play some really low notes. The lowest is 0B (like on 5 string bass). However if we want to compete with standard 88 key piano we need to retune thickest bass string even 2 notes lower, to 0A, so we get the same lowest note on both instruments. Of course bass guitar gives totally different timbre with much more bass in it, compared to piano which gives more light(treble) timbre.
Look at three treble strings 2D, 2G and 3C shows us that if we tune them two notes higher, to 2E, 2A and 3D, we get the same open strings like on ordinary guitar. Or we can tune ordinary guitar 2 notes lower. There are many ways to be tuned, and find unique sound of the band.
On the guitar same note (pitch) played further from headstock on thicker string gives timbre with more bass. That is good to know.