Dear Jim, Considering that you work with Olin, I'm sure you have tried
this approach on your bell box in regard to tuning. However, I'd like to
mention it to the group.
I have found basic music theory is a big help when tuning a box that has
a totally unknown musical scale. The Bach Chorales that we spent months
analyzing ought to be good for something. Since you recognize one tune,
you can fairly well determine the comb teeth that are "do" (or more
correctly "ut"). By then looking at the notes that are plucked with the
"do" teeth, you can develop a probability of "mi" and "sol" on dominant
chords. The main secondary chords are the IV and V chords, and you
usually can determine which notes are struck together for these chords.
That helps to fill in quite a few note on the scale. By progressing
through the chords that would normally be used in the key, it is possible
to come pretty close to the scale.
The accidentals can cause some difficulty, but since they must fit
between known notes, there is very little variation possible. The notes
that I have had the most difficulty with are the three bass teeth. There
are 2 problems - the arrangers used both "do" and "sol" as the extreme
bass note (I even have found "fa") and the second and third bass notes
usually are "do" one place or the other but you're on your own as to
which one. And since these notes are also difficult to read on a scope
because of the extremely strong harmonics, you can get yourself into a
major quandary. Is anyone still following this logic?:-)