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Tuning Accuracy and Guarantee

Real Strobe Tuners

Peterson tuners, having the mechanical rotating disc and flashing bulb, are used.  These devices are:
(A) capable of 1-cent[1] resolution with 0.1 cent (1/10% of a cent) accuracy, and (B) the strobe display is capable of instantaneously showing exact pitch in a fraction of a second.  This means the eye can easily discern whether the pitch is sharp or flat without guess work.

Chris Banta Tuning Workstation Peterson Strobe Tuners
[Left] Chris Banta's Tuning Workstation
[Right] Peterson Strobe Tuners: (Top) Model 490 Autostrobe, (Bottom) Model SC5000-II Strobe Center

Pitch Standard

The pitch standard is typically A-440Hz for bass marimbas, marimbas and vibes, and A-442Hz for xylophones and orchestra bells.[2] 


Bars are tuned between 68 and 72-degrees F.  Several readings are taken on the entire bar set throughout the tuning process.  The tuning tolerance is within +1/-0 cents.

[1] The precision of musicial instrument tuning is accomplished by dividing the octave into extremely small divisions called "cents."  There are 1,200 cents per octave or 100 cents per half step (e.g. C to C#, C# to D, etc.).  It is these fractional sub-divisions that the strobe tuner is aligned with, and which makes accurate pitch measurement possible.

[2] The difference in pitch standards (A-442 instead of A-440) has to do with the ear's ability to hear higher pitches in tune.  Typically as the pitch of the bar becomes higher in pitch, the ear tends to hear this as flat.  A-442 is a compensation technique that makes the xylophone and orchestra bells sound "more in tune," as well as the ear perceiving these tones as being "brighter" sounding.

Tuning Limitation

Melodic bar percussion instruments are a limited tuning opportunity,  Unlike a piano string or horn, which are capable of endlessly repeatable tunings, bar tuning is not endlessly repeatable. 

When correcting an out-of-tune bar, the bar requires material to be removed in specific amounts from specific regions within the bar.  Once the material is removed, the bar will be in tune.  Should the bar flatten from further stresses placed on the bar (e.g. aggressive heavy-handed playing), subsequent tunings become much more difficult.  The bar can only be retuned a limited number of times. 

At some point, it will not be possible to restore the bar's original pitch and replacement becomes the only option.  See "Tips" for ensuring a lasting instrument and "Case Studies" for actions that lead to degraded or non-functional bars. 


CCBANTA Bar tunings are guaranteed for one (1) year from the date of release back to the client. 

Guarantee is void when damage to the bar is obvious, such as: dents, scratches, chip-outs, splitting, cracking, and excessive over-exposure to outdoor elements.  Clients will be charged accordingly to bring the bar back into a functional condition, presuming it is still possible to do so, or for the replacement of no-longer-functiong bars due to damage.

Quality of Sound

When the client receives their tuned bars, the accuracy of the tuning will allow them to take the instrument into a precision musical performance environment, such as a recording studio, a live orchestral or ensemble performance venue, and have the confidence that the instrument will sound in perfect unison with the other instruments.