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Tuning Pitch

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Old Alf, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Old Alf

    Old Alf

    Dec 31, 2011
    Hi guys,

    Just bought a new electric tuner which allows me to select the pitch (Between 410-450). What pitch should I set it at, I've tried various and notice it certainly affects the tuning up and down.
  2. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    The number 440 springs immediately to mind - but I'm not sure why! I'm sure someone can confirm or deny this soon...
  3. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
  4. Old Alf

    Old Alf

    Dec 31, 2011
    Thanks guys, I'll stick with 440
  5. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    The real answer is that you set it to the pitch the rest of your band/orchestra/ensemble uses. But of course in almost every case that will be 440. I would imagine that most of the time the feature is used it is because there is one instrument in your group that cannot be tuned to the 440 standard and you want to accommodate it.

  6. 905


    Jul 23, 2006
    I played with a clarinet and sax in a small group once, and tuned to 442 to accommodate the clarinet. When we played in larger groups (same people), the string instruments tuned to 440.

    So I would say that unless you're playing with small groups you won't need to think about it, and most people I guess would never hear it either.
  7. icecycle66


    Feb 4, 2009
    I used to tune at 435 just to piss people off, back when I used to play with others.
    I did it so much that when I now try to tune to 440 everything seems off.
    So, I keep my tuning at 435. I don't think that is very normal.
  8. Internet Police

    Internet Police

    Sep 4, 2011
    Not to hijack the thread but why not use middle c to tune?
  9. Bredian


    Apr 22, 2011

    FAIL - you likely are out of tune by a distance noticeable to the human ear. Most pianos are tuned to 440.

    Yes, but the standard is 440. It has changed over time, which is why a few wind instruments can't be tuned to it.

    With all those statements, I did run into a problem at a church where the piano in the practice room was tuned 440 (6 weeks of an 18 piece tuning to 440) and the piano in the performing room was set to 442. Dress rehearsal was strangely off and the director discovered it and told us to reset just prior to performance.
  10. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Because a tuner is easier to carry than a piano. ;)

    Real answer...
    440hz is the note A above middle C on a piano. 440hz/A is the reference point standard.
  11. Bredian


    Apr 22, 2011
    Us stringed guys like to tune to open strings, EADG etc. and likewise, horns are usually "open" at Bb, at least the brass is. Trumpets are also, but the music is transposed a full step (Bb & F are played as C & G, open valves) Woodwinds are a mystery to me.

    Last gig we played, the owners son (about 20ish) came out and tried to jam with our classic rock. Had problems, but obviously could play. I recommended to him that when he jammed with folks, to ask for "horn friendly keys" like Bb, C, G, F, etc. instead of guitar friendly keys, like EADG, etc. as we were playing.

    Set the tuner to 440 still, unless there is a fixed instrument tuned otherwise.

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