1.  A Tuning Fork Mystery

Posted 07-17-2017 13:31
Hello all,

I have here a little mystery, but will first give you as much info as possible.

I have two A-440 forks, both John Walker Blued Steel. One is a year old, and the other I've had for about three weeks now. I measured both by my SAT, and when left for five minutes at room temperature they both read the same pitch according to the SAT.

One day I decided to set A with both forks on the same piano. As always, I hold the fork to my left ear to hear beats, and then checked via F2. Then I reset A where it was and did the same thing with my new fork. Lo and behold, I couldn't hear beats when comparing it to F2! So I compared it to B1, and set A4 via that check.

Then I checked my old fork, and I couldn't hear beats with B1, only with F2. Strange, I thought. So I experimented on the next piano I came to, and the same thing happened! The new fork produces the most audible beats when compared with B1, and the old fork produces the most audible beats when compared with F2.

The mystery is, why? Same manufacturer, same model, same environmental conditions, same piano, in both experiments.

Would anyone care to venture a guess?


Benjamin Sanchez
Professional Piano Services

2.  RE: A Tuning Fork Mystery

Posted 07-17-2017 20:17
I know the tuning fork produces only the fundamental with no overtones but I would still like to look at both forks on a spectrum analyzer to see what differences, if any, there are. Other than that, I am stumped. Keep us posted!

3.  RE: A Tuning Fork Mystery

Posted 07-17-2017 21:43
If you have access to a CyberTuner (AKA iRCT), you have "Pianolyzer," which is probably up to the task of showing you which partials are present and how they compare with each other.


Alan Eder, RPT
Herb Alpert School of Music
California Institute of the Arts
Valencia, CA

4.  RE: A Tuning Fork Mystery

Posted 07-18-2017 02:06
I have two C forks (523.3) and one is definitely my favorite.  It is louder, rings longer and is very slightly sharp.  I suspect that the difference is the size and balance of the two tines, with one being better balanced and it perhaps has a slightly different temper (steel temper that is).

Blaine Hebert
Duarte CA