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The open strings on a 4-string bass, from thickest to thinnest, are called E – A – D – G.

Each string is represented as a note on the staff:

In music we talk about the distance between notes as whole steps and half steps.  A half step on the bass is the distance from one fret to the next.  A whole step is the distance of two frets.  All the natural notes are separated by a whole step, except for B to C, and E to F, which are separated by a half step.

Here is a diagram of the open strings and the first set of natural notes:

Notes on Electric Bass