What Is a Tuning Fork Used for?


Tuning forks have been used for almost 200 years by musicians and instrument tuners in order to ensure that their instrument is perfectly in tune. While most people are familiar with the use of tuning forks in music, many may be surprised to learn that they are also commonly used in watches, radar guns and medical treatments.


  • Tuning forks are often used to produce a pitch, most commonly the note A, that can be used to tune an instrument to. They are often pressed against the body of an instrument or a wooden box that increases the volume of the tuning fork's tone.


  • Tuning forks made of steel and quartz have been used by watchmakers to help their watches keep very accurate time. In some watches, the hum of the tuning fork can be heard when the wearer brings it up to the ear.

Medical Use

  • Doctors often use tuning forks to check the hearing capabilities of their patients. The vibrations caused by tuning forks have also been used to test sensitivity in patients that have experienced nerve damage.

Radar Guns

  • Tuning forks are used to calibrate radar guns. Instead of referring to the fork's pitch, radar guns are calibrated according to the frequency of the fork's vibrations.


  • Famed British trumpeter John Shore invented the first tuning fork in 1711.

Fun Fact

  • The world's largest tuning fork is 5 m tall, while the smallest is 2 by 1.2 by 0.6 mm.

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  • Photo Credit wikipedia.org
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