What Are The Notes For Bass Guitar Strings?

To play bass guitar well, you need to know what notes are on the bass strings. Here is a list of the notes for each string to learn how to play the notes on your bass guitar. As an aspiring bass player, you need to know this in order to hone your bass guitar skills.

person playing bass guitar in grayscale photography

The basics of tuning your bass guitar

The notes on an electric bass guitar can be thought of as being on a scale. When the strings are tightened, they make the pitch go up. Loosening the strings makes the pitch go down.

How often should you tune your bass guitar?

When it comes to strings for electric bass guitars, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, basses stay in tune easier than regular guitars. However, you still want to check your bass tuning every time you play. Second, bass strings are typically heavier than regular guitar strings and need more tension to stay in tune. Finally, bass strings can be made of different materials than regular guitar strings, which can affect their sound and durability.

It is a good idea to check your tuning when you don’t sound quite right or when it sounds “off” when playing along with recordings. You can do this by using a tuner or by listening to yourself and comparing the notes you are playing to the notes of the recording.

The standard tuning for electric bass guitar strings are E-A-D and G. The string gauges are light, medium, and heavy but are not the same as electric guitar string gauges.

white electric bass guitar

Bass Guitar Strings

The bass guitar typically has 4 thick strings, unlike a standard acoustic or electric guitar that has 6 strings. These thicker strings provide a better sound and increased durability. The bass guitar is not quite as portable as an acoustic or electric guitar, but it does have its own unique sound and capabilities.

There are basses with six strings, but four strings are the standard. The 4-string bass has the same lower range as the 6-string bass. The six-string bass has a higher range and is usually played in a higher register.

Bass open strings are tuned very similarly to the four lowest pitched strings of a guitar (EADG). However, they are an octave lower in pitch when compared to a guitar. This is due to the bass guitar’s larger strings and lower tuning tension.

Bass Guitar Note Layout

The E string on a bass guitar has 12 frets before it starts repeating, starting at the nut (the bottom of the instrument), and going up the fingerboard. 

  • Sharps: E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D D# E 
  • Flats: E F Gb G Ab A Bb B C Db D Eb E

This process is repeated on each of the other three strings starting with the root note corresponding to that string. Each fret equals a half step up or down on the scale.

Can Chords be Played on a Bass Guitar?

A chord is simply two or more notes played together. You can play chords on bass by looking at the chord fingerings of a standard guitar and placing your fingers in the same places on the four strings of the bass. Here are some simple chords to get you started:

grayscale photography of a bass guitar neck

Notes on the Bass guitar Neck

The 4th string on the bass neck is the lowest sound string (closest to the ceiling), and the 1st string is the highest sounding string (most relative to the floor). The strings are arranged in order from low to a high pitch. 

  • 4th=E
  • 3rd=A
  • 2nd=D
  • 1st=G  

Notes on the 4th & 3rd Strings of the Bass

After the open strings, the next step is to learn the names of the natural notes on the 4th and 3rd strings. You will need this to play bass guitar well.

After the open strings, the next step is to learn the names of the natural notes on the 4th and 3rd strings. This is important because the notes on these strings will form the basis for many of the arpeggios and bass lines you use when playing. If you are playing with others, knowing these notes will let you know where to play and how to develop your bass lines in any key the rest of the players are playing in.

Bass Notes Higher On The Fretboard

Beyond the 12th fret on the bass fretboard, the notes just repeat. This is because there are just 12 note variations in music.

Once you pass the 12th fret you are playing the same notes only an octave higher.

Note Charts for the Names of the Notes on Bass

Bass guitar music is written in bass clef. Below is a chart of the notes of the bass clef.

Bass Clef notes

Below is a chart with the names of the notes on the neck of the bass.

bass guitar notes


In conclusion, the notes on the strings of the bass can be a very important part of your playing. Knowing what the notes are and how to play them will make it easier for you to create basslines and melodies.

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