...as in an upright, or stand-up bass. 4 strings. This is for a beginner.
If you can get one string in tune, you can tune the others to match (that is, if you know how to put your fingers on the board in the correct position). When I was learning to play the upright bass, I had tape across the finger board in the correct position.
Anyways, as seandogue was saying you will need something that is already in tune to compare your bass to. When comparing the sound, try to listen for tone beats... if you are close to the right pitch the two similar sounds add up to produce a wah-wah-wah-wah effect. The faster the tone beats are, the farther you are away from being in tune. When they are so slow you can't hear them anymore, then you are really close.
Once one string is in tune, play notes on it to tune the other strings. For example, if you got the E string in tune... play an A on it to compare the A string with, and so on.
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Ignoring the explication...
there are several ways to tune a stand-up bass, also known as the "contrabass" (or "double bass" for that matter)
First of all, the notes are, from lowest to highest, E, A, D, G
1. use a piano
2. use a tuning fork
3. use an electronic tuner
4. use a computer program
5. use a CD
6. Use the music on the TV
(I often tune my guitar to the television since I know they use the 440 standard for most music in advertising and programming, and all I need is one or two relative pitches to tune up)
I thought you were talking about a fish. Now I'm dissapointed.
Get an electronic tuner. Most pro's use electronic. I use a clip on that cost me $14 and is absolutely as accurate as my $100 tuner and my teachers tuner. so there is no excuse to not have one. If we all would use electronic tuners the we'd all be in tune.
http://www.ehow.com/how_2249768_tune-upright-bass.htmlYou will need either a perfect pitch ear, or an electronic tuner.