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HOKEMA

Musik Spiel Zeug

Tuning instructions for Sansula and B9


Tuning the Sansula and B9 yourself
After a time many players feel the desire to change the tuning of the instruments. To this end we
offer tuning instructions which can be easily followed by non-experts and which will enable you
to install the tuning of your choice. We use a system especially developed for the Sansula - the
Tune-O-Gram – which will now be explained.
The Tune-O-Gram
Due to the length of the tines, the Sansula can be tuned to a maximum of 27 different tones. The
lowest possible tone is F and the highest is G.
Every possible tunable tone on the Sansula is given a number, in addition to its tone name (e.g.
C#), ranging from the low F (pitch 1) to high G (pitch 27).
With the help of these pitch numbers as in the diagram, we can identify every possible pitch and,
for example, differentiate between low A (pitch 5) and high A (pitch 17).
We have experimented with different tunings for the Sansula and recorded them as sound samples.
Each of these samples has its own Tune-O-Gram i.e. a diagram which graphically shows the pitches
of the tines.
The tuning device
To tune the instrument a small hammer (50 g/2 oz) is required, as well as an electronic tuning
device such as the KORG CA-30 which costs under 25€.
Switch on the device and make sure that the number shown in the top left of the display is 440Hz.
If not, set it at CALIB 440Hz with the two knobs.
Now pluck tine no.1 on the very left of your Sansula and the needle will swing to the middle of
the display at 0. Pitch A will be shown in the top right.
Note: as the ex-works tuning of the Sansula has two identical A pitch tines (numbers 1 and 4),
it is recommended that, while tuning each of these, the other is dampened. If not, the other tine
will start to vibrate and the needle of the tuning device will be irritated.
Tuning
As can be seen from the video clip, the tine which is being tuned is struck with the hammer until
the needle of the tuning device remains at the zero of the desired pitch setting. If the pitch is to
be raised, the tine should be struck from the plucking side/front of the instrument. If the pitch is
to be lowered, the tine should be struck from the bridge side/back of the instrument. When
lowering the pitch, use the thinner, flattened side of the hammer. Do not loosen the screws!
Note: because the use of the hammer requires a certain amount of skill, we offer a tuning punch
which greatly simplifies the process of striking the tines. The risk of damaging the Sansula is thereby
substantially reduced. A normal, medium-weight hammer can be used with the punch whereas
the 50g/20z hammer should otherwise be used. We have made a second video to illustrate the
use of the tuning punch.
By the way, the tuning used here is called AKE BONO.
HOKEMA
Tune - O - Gram Musik Spiel Zeug

For sansula and B9

Ake Bono (A)


Ake Bono (A) A D D A A F E E Bb
desired tuning 17 22 10 17 5 13 12 24 18

Ex-works tuning A C C A A F E E B
17 20 8 17 5 13 12 24 19
G 27 27 G
F# 26 26 F#
F 25 25 F
E 24 x 24 E
Eb 23 23 Eb
D 22 22 D
C# 21 21 C#
C 20 x 20 C
B 19 x 19 B
Bb 18 18 Bb
A 17 x x 17 A
Ab 16 16 Ab
G 15 15 G
F# 14 14 F#
F 13 x 13 F
E 12 x 12 E
Eb 11 11 Eb
D 10 10 D
C# 9 9 C#
C 8 x 8 C
B 7 7 B
Bb 6 6 Bb
A 5 x 5 A
Ab 4 4 Ab
G 3 3 G
F# 2 2 F#
F 1 1 F

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Let’s go!

You have now heard the sound samples and decided on the one you want. Let’s take the
tuning AKE BONO (A) as an example. Print out the pdf with the Tune-O-Gram for AKE
BONO (A). The tines of the Sansula are shown in their original, ex-works tuning. The tines
are numbered from left to right along the bottom row. The bottom of each shaded column
(representing a tine) is marked with an X. This X shows the present i.e. ex-works tuning:
for example tine 1, pitch A, pitch number 17. Looking at tine 2, we see the X at pitch
number 20 and an O at number 22, pitch D. The O shows the new position and the new
pitch required for AKE BONO (A). In the case of tine 1 the X and the O are in the same
position so no change in the ex-works tuning is necessary. You can see at a glance which
tines must be retuned, by how many steps and in which direction in order to arrive at the
desired tuning.

Beginning with tine no. 2, strike with the hammer from the plucking side/front of the
instrument while plucking the tine at intervals to see how the needle of the tuning device
reacts. The higher the pitch, the greater the movement of the needle to the right until it
disappears from the display and reappears on the left. At that moment, the name of the
pitch in the top right of the display changes from C to C#. Keep striking the tine until the
needle disappears to the right again. The pitch name now changes to D.
Continue striking with the hammer until the needle reaches zero in the middle of the
display. You have reached the new pitch required for tine 2 in AKE BONO (A). Tine 3 must
be retuned 2 pitch positions higher, from number 20 to 22. Here too, you proceed from
C via C# to D. Tines 4 to 8 remain unchanged.
You have now retuned your Sansula to the tuning of AKE BONO (A).