What do tuning forks do?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by jvasquez18, Sep 26, 2001.

  1. jvasquez18

    jvasquez18 Guest

    Sep 23, 2000
    S.E. 323, 13
    i always wondered but never knew what was their purpose in this world?
  2. Oysterman

    Oysterman Guest

    Mar 30, 2000
    They give a pitch. You tune your instrument following that pitch. All forks I've encountered have been with either a 440 Hz or 110 Hz A, but I'm sure there are other kinds as well.

    An electronic tuner is far more convenient. ;)
  3. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    A physician can use one to check for bone conduction hearing by placing the handle on the mastoid process of the skull behind the ear. A neurologist can use it to check for nerve function, testing for the sense of vibration on different parts of the body. A musician can tune an instrument, or a singer can find a pitch.
  4. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    There was a time when there was no such thing as an electronic tuner. You gotta tune to something.
  5. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck Guest

    Sep 26, 2000
    I've never used a tuning fork, but aren't you supposed to put it in your mouth, or some such thing? I think I read that somewhere, but I can't remember...
  6. Oysterman

    Oysterman Guest

    Mar 30, 2000
    You are supposed to put it onto something that will resonate with the pitch and amplify the tone. A table, wooden floor or small, hollow, wooden box is what I've seen used... but surely you'll get a very clear tone if your entire skull resonates with it, so putting it against the teeth is not a bad idea at all.
  7. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    Or placing the tuning fork at the glabella (the smooth area between the eyebrows just above the nose) to see if hearing on one side or the other is louder to look for hearing nerve deafness as opposed to conduction deafness.
  8. XavierG

    XavierG In Memoriam

    I use one to tune my classical guitar. The method I use is as follows:

    a) hold tuning fork by stem and hit one side of the fork on something hard (I use my head, but a knee will work too)

    b) place the base (ball) of the tf against the body of the guitar

    c) play a harmonic on string 5 fret 5, while continuing to hold tf against guitar body

    d) tune the harmonic to tf pitch

    e) tune other strings using string 5 as your reference

    d) place bag of ice on general area of head where tf hit
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    My bass instructor who played double bass in a symphony orchestra as well as electric bass in a Led Zeppelin-styled band, taught me this trick.

    The use of a tuning fork can give you an even better "A" pitch than a pitch pipe. Pitch pipes are sometimes somewhat "off", but a tuning fork can be very clear and accurate.

    You tap the tuning fork on something hard, then put it against the jaw right in front of your ear. You will both hear and feel the "A" (la) very clearly. Then sing what you hear. I sang "la" as it is easier than singing "A." Adjust your singing to the tone. Then put down the tuning fork and try to duplicate the "A." Then hit the tuning fork again, put it to your ear, check and correct your pitch if needed.

    If you do that several times a day, after awhile you will be able to sing a perfect "A" whenever you need one for tuning.

    So why go to all that trouble when a simple electronic tuner will suffice.? A tuning fork doesn't need a battery, never breaks, lasts forever and is cheaper. It definitely does not look as cool and modern as a tuner, though, but a tuner won't teach you to sing a perfect "la" unless it is a tuner that can give you an audible pitch. Some do. I still think the tuning fork is clearer, however.
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    One thing that I have always wondered about tuning forks, is do they lose their pitch if they get bent or dinged up?:confused:
  11. As a matter of fact, you could use an electronic tuner for this.

    My electronic tuner can tune 6 string basses and 7 string guitars automatically, however you can switch it to manual mode, where you select the pitch you want. When there is nothing plugged into the input though, the mic is activated(used for tuning acoustic guitars). You can just sing the pitch that matches the note you want, and replicate this. This is also considerably easier than buying multiple tuning forks for different notes, and is more specialised for different types of voice(bass, alto etc.).
  12. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Pitch is a function of mass*length/stiffness.
    Thus, pitch wouldnt change. But balance might, if you bend the legs, which makes it harder you handle after knocking.
    Ehm....that is, if you bend the legs towards or away from eachother....if you somehow succeed in bending them parallel to eachother, you will alter the pitch slightly, as a bent beam vibrates differently from a straight beam.
    And that...

    Uhoh, time to stop! Sorry, I'm a technician:D
  13. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I use a tuning fork. I rarely use a tuner, :(.
  14. Yvon


    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I'm supprised!
    None of you really use a tuning fork?
    I always have one on me.
    I use it as a tuner, I don't even have an electronic tuner (exept the one in BIAB).
    I also have a solfege book in my car. I can sing the exercise and the tuning fork give a pitch to rely to.
    SO when I am in my car and I'm early somewhere I don't loose my time and I practice my ear and my singing.
    Also when I hear a noise, anything, I take out my tuning fork, it give me a A, then I guess the note of the noise and the interval.
    A great ear exercise.

    The best advise I ever give on talkbass??

  15. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    In reply to Embellisher's question about bending a tuning fork. That would be pretty hard to do. They are very sturdy. In fact, I banged mine around a lot and never made a ding in it. Tuning forks are not delicate instruments, fortunately.

    I don't see how you could bend one unless you made a deliberate effort, say, with pliars and a vice. Why would anyone do that?

    Tell you what DID happen to my tuning fork...I lost the dang thing. I know it is around here somewhere, though, Just got to dig it out. I miss it. It was my buddy. :confused:
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Where can one buy a tuning fork?
  17. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    They have at any music store that sells things other than guitars, bass, and drums exclusively. I was looking for one a few years back and I found a place by asking where the school kids go to get their band instruments.
  18. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    At the store right between the tuning knives and the tuning spoons. :)

    Actually, I have seen them at a variety of music stores. Try one that is really into pianos or as suggested orchestal instruments.

  19. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I think curt cobain used a bent tuning fork.
  20. Jblot

    Jblot Guest

    Sep 28, 2001
    When your smacking that tuning fork around, it's a good idea to be careful of what your smacking it on. It will put dents in wooden furniture and not to mention your bass. Don't smack it too hard either, dents and bends will put it out of tune. Try smacking it and sneaking up behide your buddy and hold it real close to his ear. It'll be funny:)