Tuner question

I just bought a Korg TM-60 tuner/metronome. When I play good tone single notes every note reads sharp except the draw1 D!!! Oh, my harp is a Crossover in C. I have an A coming today and will see how that compares.
Is it likely that every note is tuned high or the tuner is off?
BTW the bend it better tool in general SEEMS To agree…but it only shows a bit above the center or even centered for most notes.
Suggestions?

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Yeah what is the relative pitch? A=440Hz? A=442Hz?

I think the answer lies therein. @Boaz_Kim_Music might be able to chime in here?

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440 hz

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Hi. In general harmonicas are usually tuned higher than A=440 hz in general, usually being closer to A=442 to even 447 (yikes). Usually 442/443 is the goal tuning frequency as the reeds dip in pitch as the player plays louder or with force, hopefully hovering close to 440 as a result. So if you play very gently, the pitch will become sharper to whatever the reeds were tuned to. If the harmonica is tuned to emphasize chordal playing, certain notes will be much flatter than the rest, and some sharper.

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Thanks for the clarification. I’m a more gentle player so the notes are higher pitched.
To be in tune with others I should flatten notes down? When I play A it should Come out at the standard 440Hz…?
Thanks again for the help.

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Hi @expat48

Read carefully what @Boaz_Kim_Music wrote. The answer is there.

If you are only about 2 cents too sharp you really do not need to do anything. Moisture will form on the reeds when you play and that will lower their pitch slightly. Also, very few people are able to notice the difference of 2 cents (in case your reeds do not collect moisture on them when you play). And finally, many people might play softly – until they are in a group or on stage – then they frequently play louder and that lowers the pitch slightly.

Many professional harmonica customizers intentionally tune the harps for their customers to be slightly sharp (often about 2 cents) just because of these factors.

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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Thanks, you’re a great help as always Slim.
Cheers

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My pleasure! Glad I could assist. :+1:

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" To be in tune with others I should flatten notes down? When I play A it should Come out at the standard 440Hz…?"

It kind of depends. If your harmonica is very sharp like above 16 cents sharp or in tune at A=444 or higher if you adjust the hertz (hz) on your tuner, then maybe the reeds need to be tuned slightly lower for you. What does the tuner say for a few notes if you play them both quietly and loudly? The tuner will probably have a meter with a moving needle or just a number on display when it hears your notes. The number will be the number of “cents” sharp or flat. Please write the results here.

As a music teacher/pro musician/customizer I’ll add that it’s easy for players to fall into the trap of trying to “tune with their eyes” when using an electric tuner and to try and get every note to line up at 0 cents. I’ll add on to that if needed.

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Indeed, @Boaz_Kim_Music ! I think that many (probably most) harmonica players do not really understand the various tunings (“Equal temperament” or “Just intonation” or “Compromised tuning” etc.) nor what the advantages & disadvantages are for the various playing styles (melodic alone, melodic with other instruments – such as piano or flute, etc – or chordal playing, or mixtures of chordal & melodic, etc).

Here a basic understanding of music theory or at least the elements of tuning can definitely assist them when considering the questions that harp players face.

Simply buying a tuner or using a tuning app without knowing these basics can lead to confusion and unnecessary disappointment & expense. Blues harps are more complex than people realize!

Regards,
– Slim :sunglasses:

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