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Matt had an interesting idea of using your phone to tune your guitar. So, I decided to do a little investigation of how that would actually work.

A touch tone phone produces two frequencies for every button. Here's a chart:
1209 Hz 1336 Hz 1477 Hz
697Hz  
1
ABC
2
DEF
3
770Hz GHI
4
JKL
5
MNO
6
852Hz PRS
7
TUV
8
WXY
9
941Hz * OPER
0
#

Next would be to find a note that is close to one of these frequencies. So I consulted a frequency chart.

The closest that I could find are:
1479.98Hz - F# 1477Hz - Buttons 3,6,9,#
698.46Hz - F 697Hz - Buttons 1,2,3

However, you can't play F or F# on an open string. So, it's going to require a lot of effort to press the "1" button on the phone, play F on the guitar, turn the peg, then repeat. There is also additional error since the phone frequencies are within a ±1.5% tolerance.

So, if you happen to need to tune your guitar and you're stuck without a tuner or a tuning fork, and you happen to be near a phone, it's possible to tune your guitar that's close enough for government work.

Note: I haven't actually tried this with a guitar, so if you try this out, let me know how it works for you.

Links:
DTMF
Touchtone
DTMF Reference
Scales
Cyberfret
Frequencies of musical notes

Posted: 2004-01-29 06:24:54

Comment: (1) 

lol, well thanks for the shoutout Very good read. I suppose if you're really desperate to tune your guitar it'd be worth the trouble However, I tuned my guitar with the dial tone, not by pressing any buttons. I figured you could do it through the # tones, but wasn't exactly sure how to go about it and didn't have time to look it up.

matt - 2004-02-01 00:26:46

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