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Thread: Tuning failure

  1. #1
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Tuning failure

    I was replacing the strings on my octave and broke one of the D strings. The problem I was having is that I couldn't figure out what octave the D was supposed to be tuned to. I was relying on the D on the Mandola, which in retrospect is an octave too high. But the lower G and D seemed too low and the strings too floppy. I just can't hear it, and I don't have perfect pitch so I'm kind of stuck.

    So that all begs the question ... how do I know what octave to tune to? I don't think my tuners will do frequencies. No other instrument in the house gives me the correct octave for the octave mandolin tuning (though I guess if I fret the strings at 12 I could use my mandolin). And now I'm worried about replacing the strings on my mandola, which will end up being the same problem (though my tenor guitar is tuned and will give me guidance).

    What do the rest of y'all do? Is this obvious to everyone but me?
    belbein

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  2. #2
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning failure

    Perhaps you tried a D pitch that was two octaves down, not just one?

    The octave mandolin D is the same note as the fingered D (2nd fret) on the C string of your mandola.

    Tuner apps on smart phones can display the octave number, as D3. Regular mandolin is D4. The Peterson costs $9 but some don't like the strobe display. It is what piano tuners use but other display styles are effective as well, like a virtual meter with needle leaning right or left.
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  3. #3
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wright View Post
    the octave number, as D3. Regular mandolin is D4.
    So are you saying that I tune the Octave Mandolin's 3rd string (D) to "D3"? I want to make sure before I break the only other OM "D" string in the house.
    belbein

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  4. #4
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning failure

    Quote Originally Posted by belbein View Post
    So are you saying that I tune the Octave Mandolin's 3rd string (D) to "D3"? I want to make sure before I break the only other OM "D" string in the house.
    Yes. Compare to the fingered D on your mandola C course, as well.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Tuning failure

    If you use Android, this tuner gives a very clear indication of the exact fundamental frequency you're tuning. Whereas a lot of other tuning apps hop around from octave to octave, this one locks on reliably. It hasn't been updated in years, but I and a number of other people use it with no issues that I'm aware of.
    https://www.amazon.com/PitchLabApp-PitchLab-Pro/

  6. The following members say thank you to Marty Jacobson for this post:


  7. #6
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    If you use Android, this tuner gives a very clear indication of the exact fundamental frequency you're tuning. Whereas a lot of other tuning apps hop around from octave to octave, this one locks on reliably. It hasn't been updated in years, but I and a number of other people use it with no issues that I'm aware of.
    https://www.amazon.com/PitchLabApp-PitchLab-Pro/
    This is embarrassing ... I have the Android version on my phone. Thanks for reminding me, Marty. I never noticed the octave numbers on that tuner.

    I eventually used "Octave Mandolin Tuning" on youtube (before Marty's reminder) and got it right. I guess I was a victim of what pilots call "lack of situational awareness"--believing the readouts rather than what the environment was telling me. I was trying to tune to a mandolin frequency, not an octave mandolin. Which would'a worked if I'd stopped and thought about tuning at the 12th fret. Oh well. At least I wasn't flying with 250 people behind me.
    belbein

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    Default Re: Tuning failure

    Quote Originally Posted by belbein View Post
    This is embarrassing ... I have the Android version on my phone. Thanks for reminding me, Marty. I never noticed the octave numbers on that tuner.

    I eventually used "Octave Mandolin Tuning" on youtube (before Marty's reminder) and got it right. I guess I was a victim of what pilots call "lack of situational awareness"--believing the readouts rather than what the environment was telling me. I was trying to tune to a mandolin frequency, not an octave mandolin. Which would'a worked if I'd stopped and thought about tuning at the 12th fret. Oh well. At least I wasn't flying with 250 people behind me.
    Sound like you resolved this but I use Guitar Tuner Pro on Android. Despite the name, it provides a custom template for dozens of stringed instrument including 9 different mando tunings Octave included.

  9. #8
    Registered User belbein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning failure

    [blush] I think I have that one too ...
    belbein

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  10. #9
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning failure

    Looks like you already did what I would recommend, but it bears saying anyway. If there is any question about the note or the octave to tune to, google how to tune the specific instrument. There are many sites that play reference tones. That, in conjunction with your tuner app, will give you what you need..
    Tom
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