Posts tagged fork

Piano Tuning – Finding A440

So after my last post about tuning forks and strobe calibration, this last week i had 2 customers hand me their own tuning forks to check my strobe.  For giggles i tapped each one and put them on my strobe… turns out that all 3 were different pitches!!  Mine was spot on, one was 3 cents higher but the other one… AMAZING but true… was a whopping 22 cents flat!  So not only does cold affect the tuning but i’m finding out that because all tuning forks are stamped as calibrated that “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (a fun jazz tune).  My pursuit turned to the internet where i found a few sources for A440.  One… believe it or not is on youtube! I know hey? Go figure… Check out this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-kRShXR6qA – it simply is a computer generated sine wave – 30 seconds of A440 frequency.

You can also click on the picture to take you to Seventh String tuning fork website… kinda neat.  It helped reassure me that both my strobe and my tuning fork are “on”.  Whew!

Tuning Fork Calibration?

I make no bones about the fact that i do both ear and strobe tuning.  I’ve found that over the years, ‘musical’ isn’t necessarily ‘perfect’.  What sounds good in terms of overtones on one piano won’t be suitable to another piano.  So it’s ridiculous to expect a mathmatically accurate strobe tuner to make those judgement calls.  I also know that visually ‘seeing’ the pitch is an asset as well.  I’ve found that my ears play tricks on me sometimes and visually verifying pitch can be helpful.

Before i tune each day, i pull out my good ol’ tuning fork to ensure my strobe is working correctly and i just so happened to notice that my strobe seemed ‘off’.  Huh… that’s odd… never really thought about it before.  After awhile i was tuning away… thinking i should double check this and lo and behold, my strobe had ‘fixed’ itself.  Well that’s odd… how would that happen? I started thinking of variables… thinking that my strobe could’ve warmed up.  Then i got to thinking about my tuning fork… ‘hmmmm y’know my tuning fork was in my vehicle all night and it was REALLY cold.  So yesterday i did a tuning fork test.  My strobe was running for some length of time… i decided to put my tuning fork in the fridge.  Not really unheard of temperatures when you consider growing up on the prairies a tuning fork left in -30 degree weather.  Anyway my findings? My tuning fork when cold was 5 cents off!  I know, i know… i’m a bit slow to the draw but… i didn’t expect 5 cents! That’s a lot when you’re calibrating.  I warmed it up in my hands for a few minutes… back to normal.  So remember: cold forks mean an out of tune piano by 5 degrees.  Next time you have your piano tuned and it’s cold outside, offer the tuner a cup of coffee before starting and you’ll most likely have a more in tune piano. lol.  Or…orrrrrrrrrr this is just my way of shamelessly getting my morning cuppa. hahaa.  Cheers

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