[Harp-L] Re: [ Harp-L] Analog tuners

<<I would like to have more info on tuning a harp.  I read Pat  Missin's directions on how to tune by ear but my tuners' needles jump around way  way too much to get thru it.  All I ever do to tune is to tune 
octaves to  each other.  Suggestions?>>

I will refer you to a hoary old thread I instigated a few years back about what I call "tuning to the bounce" with an analog tuning like the Seiko ST1000 I used to rely on, but I'll also summarize here to possibly save you looking.  The fault may not lie with your set, as they used to say on TV: a particular playing technique is needed to get accurate tuning results with an analog needle.  You have to learn to play a steady, soft but resonant note for maybe a count of two, maximum, that will bounce the needle up to ~the highest natural pitch the reed is capable of in its current tuning~.  I emphasize that highest natural pitch because ~that is what the tuning charts you see are generally oriented to~.  If the tuning chart says +14 cents on 2D, that's not the pitch the 2D is supposed to produce when you're playing the note hard and flattening it; the 14 cents is what the reed is supposed to produce when you play it with that light but steady and resonant stroke I mentioned above, because ~if the reed is tuned to that as the highest natural pitch, then when you play it hard, it will tend to flatten to right around A=440 and stay there, for most people's strong playing pressure.
There's an art to producing that highest natural pitch and you should sit down with your harps & tuner and work at it till you master the attack that coaxes the needle up to the reference point you need.  The needle will literally bounce up there and hang for instant, and nothing you do short of an overbend will push it up past that highest bounce, and it will return to that highest bounce point fairly consistently; then you know you've got it.  Of course, if you keep bouncing the same blow reed, it's going to start loading up with condensation and giving a false (low) reading at the needle; less of a problem once you've really mastered the tuning stroke and can work the needle for an accurate reading with fewer tries.
It's a good exercise in internal awareness while playing, and relates directly to playing resonantly but softly when you're playing with other people.  fjm can attest to the results I got back when I used to rely exclusively on the Seiko, pre-strobe tuner.  I find the strobe faster for very precise matters, but the strobe also requires a correlation of playing technique to the dial reading to get maximum accuracy.  In fact, my old ST1000 lost its little mind last year, nothing I could fix myself, and just last week I decided I need to go to the guitar store and see what the analog options are, get another one to complement the strobe tuner, though primarily for singing purposes.  You can do it with an analog tuner, but you gotta learn to play the tuner, really, same as with a strobe.  Open your throat and get that full resonance, but play the note softly, steadily, and briefly, and you should see that highest natural pitch you are looking for.
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