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Thread: Tuning fork difference. Ear vs. electric tuner

  1. #1
    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Tuning fork difference. Ear vs. electric tuner

    I need a little help to understand something a bit odd to me.
    Tonight at a jam session I tuned up with my PT-10. To the ear I was high.
    I say too high due to what was experienced. When I used a 440 tuning fork to the ear I was dead on. When I put the end of the tuning fork on the bridge it seemed like I was tuned too low. If I set the PT-10 to 432 I was right on to the sound of the fork, to the ear. Not to it resting on the bridge.
    Next I struck the fork and put it on the electronic tuner. It registered 440. Dead on.

    So the question is this.
    Why would there be such a difference in what is heard and registered on the tuner?

    Please feel free to ask more questions of me. It is late and I just wanted to type this in before I went to bed. I'll check it in the morning. I am quite curious about this. As is my jam session friend.
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08 - Sold to the next Conservator of this great mandolin!
    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
    Collings A-Style

  2. #2
    Registered User abuteague's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning fork difference. Ear vs. electric tuner

    Check to see what the tuner is set to. Those buttons can be tricky. I was trusting my tuner but it sounded high to my ear. I was wondering what was going on. Something was not right. It turned out that in pushing buttons I had changed my tuner setting from 440 to 447 or so.

  3. #3
    Registered User abuteague's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning fork difference. Ear vs. electric tuner

    My tuner has a mic setting as well as piazo or vibration. In a jam session it is sometimes impossible to use the mic setting. The vibration one can be interfered with too. Is it possible that sound from other instruments makes my instrument resonate for the tuner to pick it up? I usually tune when no one is around.

    I'm interested in what other people have to say.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tuning fork difference. Ear vs. electric tuner

    When the fork is on your bridge, it should induce the strings to vibrate if they are in tune and you can verify visually. I have a heavy fork and a light fork. The heavy fork makes this sympathy vibration more noticeable. I have noticed that some days my ear is better than other days.

  5. #5
    Mandolicious fishtownmike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tuning fork difference. Ear vs. electric tuner

    The only note you can tune with a 440 hz tuning fork is an A. You place it against the body after string to amplify the reference note. If you are just trying to depend on the strings vibrating sympathetically when your in tune you will be off since the A string will vibrate prematurely as it gets close to the tuning fork reference. So it will be low or even high if you tune to far. You are supposed to use the amplified reference note as just that. A reference note. You need to match the string by ear to the tuning fork note. Not but vibration. I think using a quality pitch pipe is actually better then a tuning fork.

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