Tuning forks

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by daveomack, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. daveomack


    Oct 4, 2003
    if I get an A=440 Tuning Fork
    does that mean I just play the A string? or the harmonic on the 12th fret?
  2. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Open A string is about 55hz. Maybe the harmonic @ D string 7th fret. That'll be about 110hz. you should be able hear some of the harmonic overtones from there too - 220hz, 440hz etc
  3. daveomack


    Oct 4, 2003
  4. Don't mess with tuning forks, unless, of course, you have an overwhelming desire to play around with one. An A440 doesn't actually exist on a bass in standard tuning, unless you want to get into harmonics. You could always tune a couple octaves lower than the fork sounds, but it's a lot of bother when you can get a good electronic tuner for not much more.
  5. daveomack


    Oct 4, 2003
    Im getting a tuning fork.
    I just need to know which to get,
    and where to play it.
    If I get an A what harmonic do I play?
  6. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    If you use it to tune your bass you can play the armonics at the 12th fret on the A string.

    You can also use it to practive solfège or to guess guess what key a song his while driving, in the bus, in the metro or anywhere, great ear training.

    Nerver get out of the house without one!!
  7. A440 = 7th freat of the A string :) The harmonic I mean.
  8. daveomack


    Oct 4, 2003
    Im hearing either 7th or 12th

    whats the right one
  9. Well 12th string harmonic seems to sound exactly like the fretted note, and that's far from 440. I'd say 7th fret D string harmonic, which is 5th fret A string harmonic.
  10. daveomack


    Oct 4, 2003
    I need an exact answer lol
  11. Here's an exact answer: buy an electronic tuner
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I used a tuning fork for years. I still carry one with me just in case... I would strike the fork and put it between my teeth. I would then play the harmonic on the 5th fret of the A string. So it's off by an octave: an A is an A.

    Once you have the A string, tune all the other strings any way you want. I always used the harmonic approach.

    Warning: 4 out of 5 dentists do not recommend this approach. Seriously, I have never heard of putting the tuning fork between your teeth as being bad, but I am no dentist. It does give a good strong tone in your head though! And also leaves your hands free.
  13. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I haven't used a tuning fork in years, but what I was taught to do was strike the fork with the tines, then press the round part against the facial bone right in front of the middle of your ear. This is easier to demonstrate than to describe.

    Not only do you hear the A clearly, you can feel the fork vibrate. What I often did was strike the fork and sing the A as "la." To this day I can sing "la" right on pitch thanks to the frequent practice with that fork.

    Some students at the music school I attended did the teeth method with the fork, but I was always a little wary of that method, though I am not prepared to attest to its accuracy one way or another.

    I've lost my fork somewhere along the way and kind of wish I had another one. It couldn't hurt to practice now and again. By the way, my fork was a lot more accurate than two nearly useless pitch pipes I have purchased in the past, both of which were off, not just on "A", but on every tone.

    As for battery powered tuners, some will actually give you an "A" tone when a certain button is pushed. The tone has a more electronic sound to it. I really prefer the true tone of the tuning fork.
  14. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have lost it, but when I was using the tuning fork, and for years after, I also could sing an A on pitch. I forgot all about that ...... maybe I should start using the tuning fork more again.
  15. daveomack


    Oct 4, 2003
    I play the 5th fret with it and its somewhat...difficult
  16. 7th fret of the A string is actually an E.

    Yeah, I am used to putting the tuning fork around my ear also. Found it abit unhygenic to put it at my teeth!

    Well, if I am using my headphones, I could just put it at the headphones, and I get the sound in my head too!