What does a tuning fork do

Tuning forks comparison 2021

  • Most tuning forks produce the so-called concert pitch of 440 Hz. With this you can tune almost all musical instruments. However, there are significant differences in sound quality. While some tuning forks produce a very long and loud tuning fork tone, this tone is short and quiet in poorly performing products.
  • Size matters - at least that is clearly the case with tuning forks. Because the bigger a tuning fork is, the louder and longer-lasting its tone.
  • You only need to buy a good tuning fork once in a lifetime. When used properly, it shows no wear and tear and also retains its frequency for a lifetime.

In addition to the tuning fork, there are other tuning devices such as the Clip-on tuners, modern tuning forks for guitars. They are connected to the instrument and show the exact frequency when a string is tuned. There are even mobile phone apps that can record and determine frequencies via the microphone. You can also tune a guitar classically with a tuning fork - depending on your preference.

The Tuning fork is and remains the classicwhen it comes to tuning instruments or treating patients. To generate a tuning fork vibration, the fork can either be hit on the hand or thumb or on the edge of a table. There are also special rubber stops or wooden clappers that generate a tuning fork vibration.

In the following article we will explain the tuning fork function and its respective purposes to you. The main focus should be on buying advice that will help you find the tuning fork that you will enjoy for life.

1. What are the different areas of application of tuning forks?

One usually locates the use of tuning forks in music. But there are also many other applications in which tuning forks are indispensable. Since the respective use case is also important in order to make a purchase decision, we provide The individual areas of application are briefly presented below.

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Scope of applicationuse cases
Tuning fork in medicine
  • for examining the vibration sensation in patients
  • Tuning fork in the ENT practice for hearing control in patients (tuning fork test ear)
  • Diagnosing metabolic disorders and diseases such as diabetes
  • Use of the tuning fork in neurology
  • Use of tuning forks according to Rydel Seiffer
  • Areas of application in alternative medicine
Tuning forks in music
  • Tuning fork with concert pitch a
  • Use, for example, in music lessons at school
  • is used in the orchestra to tune in
  • for tuning instruments
Tuning forks in body work
  • Use in alternative medicine e.g. phonophoresis
  • Use in the context of sound acupuncture
  • as a meditation aid

The tuning fork is a popular experimental instrument in physics classes. There are various experiments with tuning forks that give children a clear understanding of the subject of vibration.

2. How exactly does a tuning fork work?

What is the concert pitch a?

This tone indicates the height of the tone "a" on the scale, which has an oscillation of 440 Hz. It was established at the last vocal tone conference in 1939 and is used as a standard everywhere - for example, when tuning musical instruments.

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Regardless of whether it is a tuning fork for medicine, sound therapy or music lessons in school, the tuning fork function is always the same.

The Tuning fork frequency indicates how often the tuning fork vibrates per second. If a tuning fork has the concert pitch a, the tuning fork's oscillation is 440hz. That means it vibrates 440 times a second.

The way the tuning fork works is simple physics. The tuning fork itself is a resonance body. If it hits an object, it causes the surrounding air molecules to vibrate. That in turn creates a sound.

This principle becomes visible when you hold the tuning fork in the water. A tuning fork creates waves in the water that spread out concentrically. However, the vibration of the tuning fork is dampened in the water and thus also dries up faster.

3. Do you need a resonance box to make a tuning fork vibrate?

A resonance box significantly amplifies the tuning fork tone.

A resonance box is sometimes sold as a set with the tuning fork, but is also available separately. It is a square hollow body made of wood that is open on one side and is intended to significantly amplify the sound and thus the volume.

But isn't it enough just to hit the tuning fork vigorously on a table top? Is it worth spending extra money on a resonance box like this? After all, you pay around 70 euros for a tuning fork and box from the manufacturer Wittner - that's a lot more than the inexpensive tuning fork from König & Meyer for 2 euros. For a purchase decision we have you in the The following is a list of advantages and disadvantages of a resonance box.

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  • amplifies the volume of tuning forks
  • at the same time offers a decorative storage option for the tuning forks
  • significantly higher price
  • complicates the transport

4. Tuning forks in tests: How can I tell the difference between a good and a bad tuning fork?

The The results of the tuning fork tests show that there is no such thing as a bad or defective tuning fork. However, there are definitely quality differences between the individual brands and manufacturers.

Good tuning forks differ from slightly inferior models in that they produce a very loud, precise and long-lasting sound. The type of coating is also decisive. Cheap tuning forks are coated with nickel, for example - a material that causes allergies in many consumers.

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Danger: When buying tuning forks, make sure that they are well sanded. Sharp edges can cause cuts.

4.1. What is a Chamber Fork?

A concert pitch fork is a tuning fork that is aligned with the concert pitch a. Most manufacturers such as Planet Waves, Catfish, Meinl, Gima, Hava and Riester generate this tone at a frequency of 440Hz. In the concert pitch fork tests, only tuning forks that produce the pitch "a" are scrutinized. Incidentally, the best-known manufacturer is Wittner. Here customers not only get tuning forks, but also metronomes, for example, as well as accessories for string instruments and music stands.

4.2. What do I have to look out for if I want to buy a tuning fork?

If you want to buy a tuning fork, pay particular attention to the sound quality and the workmanship,

If you look at the concert pitch comparisons on the Internet, you will see, based on the test criteria, what the testers looked for in the comparisons. Criteria such as sound quality, precision and volume are among the most important purchase criteria for a tuning fork. We have summarized below what you still have to pay attention to in order to find the best tuning fork.

Sound quality
Is the sound particularly loud and long or short and quiet? Wittner received particularly good ratings in this category. The manufacturer König & Meyer, on the other hand, could not convince with its products in terms of sound quality and precision.

The design of the tuning fork is also a decisive purchase criterion for many consumers. A beautiful workmanship brings some points in the tuning fork tests.

Easy to transport
If a tuning fork is attached to a resonance box, then unfortunately it cannot be carried in a handbag or briefcase. So if you want to travel with a tuning fork then you should buy it without a resonance box.

Weight in g
The weight can vary considerably between the individual votes. A tuning fork from Planet Waves, for example, weighs 63.5 g, while the tuning fork from König & Meyer weighs just 18 g. A higher weight usually ensures a louder and more stable sound.

Suitable for
When buying the tuning fork, make sure that it is also suitable for your purposes. Some tuning forks are more suitable for choirs, others for orchestral instruments. Tuning forks according to Rydel Seiffer, on the other hand, are designed for medical applications.

Length of the tuning fork
The tuning fork is always between 10 and 12 cm long. Basically, the longer the tuning fork, the louder the tone it can produce.

Contains nickel
Nickel can cause allergies in users. However, the processing of nickel is not an indication of how expensive a tuning fork is. While the very affordable tuning fork from König & Meyer for 2 euros does not contain nickel, the tuning fork from Planet Waves was coated with nickel for around 16 euros.

5. What is the best tuning fork on the market?

The manufacturer Wittner does not make it easy for its competitors. He came out as the tuning fork test winner in almost all tuning fork tests in 2021. By contrast, there is currently no official tuning fork comparison from Stiftung Warentest and the Ökotest consumer portal.

However, Wittner is not only a test winner but also a price winner, because a tuning fork from the manufacturer including a resonance box costs around 70 euros. The tuning forks from König & Meyer, which are located in the lowest price segment, get comparably good marks. There are a few compromises in sound quality and workmanship, but inexpensive tuning forks achieve surprisingly similar results.

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Tip: A tuning fork should have as few overtones as possible. Although overtones provide a rich and full sound acoustically, they distort the tone of the tuning fork.

6. Answers to the most common questions about tuning forks

6.1. How is a tuning fork used by the doctor for diagnostics?

In diagnostics, the tuning fork is used, for example, to check the hearing ability of a patient.

For example, a doctor can do this with a tuning fork Test the vibration sensation on a specific part of the body. For example, he can check how much sensitivity a patient has in their feet. An ENT doctor, on the other hand, can use the tuning fork to check a patient's hearing. He can determine which tuning fork frequencies the patient hears and which his sense of hearing can no longer pick up.

6.2. How does a tuning fork swing?

If the prongs of the tuning fork are hit against a resistance, they begin to vibrate in opposite directions. This means that the tines move outwards and the air in the opposite direction. The air in front of the tine is compressed and the air inside is diluted. When the fork swings back, this relationship is reversed. The pressure differences are perceived as sound. However, we can hardly hear it when we hold the tuning fork in our hand - it has to be on a resonance body such as a table or piano that absorbs the vibration and amplifies it.

6.3. How do you strike a tuning fork?

To do this, you take the tuning fork in your hand at the lower end and strike it against a sound box - for example a table top. The tuning fork must then be put down or placed on a resonance body so that the vibrations can be heard.

Planet Waves Tuning Fork A440 Hz chromed steel
Bestseller: A comparison of the most frequently rated product by buyers on Amazon
Currently available for 14.44 €
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Sound quality+
sufficiently loud, long tone
precise tuning
Doesn't the rubber grip change the clarity of the sound on the Planet Waves PWTF-A Guitar Tuners Tuning Fork?No, it only protects the material from premature wear from sweat on the fingers. The rubber grip does not affect the tone.
König & Meyer tuning fork nickel-plated
Currently available for € 7.35
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Sound quality++
loud, long tone
very precise tuning
Is the König & Meyer 16820-000-01 tuning fork supplied in a protective cover with a rubber handle?The tuning fork is delivered in a protective cover, but without a rubber handle. You can wrap a ribbon of fabric around the handle if necessary.
Wittner tuning fork resonance box with mallet
Customer favorite: the best-rated product in comparison on Amazon
Currently available from € 77.90
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Sound quality+++
particularly loud and long tone
very precise tuning
What does the resonance box under the Wittner tuning fork with mallet do?The resonance box considerably amplifies the tone of the tuning fork, making it more audible and determinable.
Wittner tuning fork round
Currently available from € 5.90
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Sound quality+
sufficiently loud, long tone
precise tuning
How is the sound quality of this Wittner tuning fork round?It's a small, short tuning fork. Therefore you have to hit it with a little swing on a hard surface in order to be able to recognize the sound clearly.

Which are the best tuning forks from our tuning forks test or comparison 2021?

Choose your personal tuning forks test winner from the following list:

  • 1st place - very good (comparison winner): Wittner tuning fork resonance box with mallet - from 77.90 euros
  • 2nd place - very good: König & Meyer tuning fork nickel-plated - from 7.35 euros
  • 3rd place - very good: Planet Waves Tuning Fork A440 Hz chrome-plated steel - from 14.44 euros
  • 4th place - good: Wittner tuning fork round - from 5.90 euros
  • 5th place - good: Catfish tuning fork 440 Hz - from 7.51 euros
  • 6th place - good: König & Meyer tuning fork round, nickel-plated - from 5.10 euros
  • 7th place - good: Wittner tuning fork around 10.5 cm - from 6.00 euros
  • 8th place - satisfactory: Stagg TF1440 tuning fork - from 5.90 euros

Overall, 3 "very good" tuning forks, 4 "good" tuning forks and only one tuning fork model that scored "satisfactory" could be compiled for the tuning forks comparison.

The variety of products from the manufacturer Wittner includes more than just one excellent product. 3 of the 8 "good" and "very good" tuning forks from the above comparison table for tuning forks comparison can be assigned to the known brand.

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How many different manufacturers can I choose between when comparing tuning forks?

In total, we introduce you to 5 different manufacturers in a tuning fork comparison. More precisely, the experts compared and evaluated models from Wittner, König & Meyer, Planet Waves, Catfish or Stagg. More information "

In which price range do the tuning fork models move?

It depends entirely on your budget whether you choose the cheapest tuning fork for 5.10 euros or the most expensive tuning fork for 77.90 euros. More information under tuning fork test. More information "

Which tuning forks have previous customers rated particularly well?

Customers have repeatedly rated the Planet Waves Tuning Fork A440 Hz chrome-plated steel - the average value of the best rated Wittner tuning fork resonance box with mallet is 5.0 stars. More information "

Which of the tuning forks in the tuning fork comparison were rated "VERY GOOD"?

The editorial team rated the following models as "VERY GOOD":

  • Wittner tuning fork resonance box with mallet
  • König & Meyer tuning fork nickel-plated
  • Planet Waves Tuning Fork A440 Hz chromed steel
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Which tuning forks are included in the tuning fork comparison?

The editors have examined and rated 8 different tuning fork models for you. The products examined include:

  • Stagg TF1440 tuning fork
  • Wittner tuning fork around 10.5 cm
  • König & Meyer tuning fork round, nickel-plated
  • Catfish tuning fork 440 Hz
  • Wittner tuning fork round
  • Planet Waves Tuning Fork A440 Hz chromed steel
  • König & Meyer tuning fork nickel-plated
  • Wittner tuning fork resonance box with mallet
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What else have customers who want to buy a tuning fork been looking for?

Customers who bought a tuning fork also looked for products such as Wittner tuning fork or concert pitch fork. More information "