Brief Sound Introduction For Guitar
Basic Sound theory for guitar
Plucking a guitar string induces that string to vibrate. This vibration transferred into the wood of the guitar through the Guitar Bridge and nut. The wood vibrates sympathetically with the strings (i.e. at the same frequency). The combined vibration of the wood in the guitar and the strings changed into sound in one of a few ways.
Acoustic guitar: Vibration of wood and strings transferred to air molecules inside the guitars hollow body. This is translated into ‘modulations in air pressure’, which the ear translates as sound.
Electric guitar: Vibration of metal strings transferred into electrical current through pick-ups. Signal sent along a patch cable to an amplifying device, which ultimately sends the signal to a speaker.
Basic music introduction
Sound can described using 4 basic characteristics.
Pitch: Relative highness or lowness of a tone
Duration: Length of the sound
Intensity: Volume or loudness
Timbre: Color or quality of sound
An upper-case letter from ‘A’ to ‘G’ denotes the Pitch of note in standard music. Between these tones are ‘semi-tones’ each of which makes up a 12-tone chromatic scale.
Follow Like this > A – A# – B – C – C# – D – D# – E – F – F# – G – G#
Note: Each sharp (#) sharp note can also express as a flat (b) of the tone above.
eg.) A# = Bb, C# = Db
It is important to be able to translate a verbal ‘pitch’ into a physical note on your instrument e.g.) An ‘A’ note could be achieved by playing the 6th string at the 5th fret
Any serious guitarist will know each note of each string on each fret of the guitar. You should know at least the 5th and 6th strings by heart.
Knowing the notes on your instrument is the basis for all music theory, from scales to intervals and chord formations. All music based on the relationship and interaction between notes.
Duration of note is the length for which it played.
Most music counted in groups of 4. In fact, you can often tap your feet along to music chanting ‘One – Two – Three – Four’ and you should hear the musical resolution.
Without getting complicated,
it is possible to play on or around the beat of the song. The beat is what you would tap your feet along with. Most often, this done simply by feel – by placing the notes where the ‘sound’ likes they should play.
Traditional notation breaks musical durations into whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and sixteenth notes. Check the reference links if you wish to pursue this further.
Intensity is how loud or soft a note played.
In all cases, it partially determined by how hard you pluck the string. It also determined by the characteristics of your instrument. In the case of an electric guitar, the intensity increase and decreased by changing the amplification value.
Timbre the color or ‘feel’ a sound has. Think of the sound a violin makes as opposed to the sound a trumpet makes. Both may play the same pitch at the same intensity for the same amount of time, however both sound completely different.
You will often hear guitarists searching for the perfect ‘tone’. In fact, many of the most respected guitarists known for their ability to create a beautiful tone.
Unfortunately, the tone is the indescribable quality of sound. It affected by almost everything you do as a guitarist. Among the many things affecting tone are the guitar you play,
The woods the guitar made from, the strings on the guitar, the metal the strings are made from, the thickness of the strings, how tightly wound the strings are, what size, thickness, material your pick. This list could go on forever.
Quality tone production comes with years of practice and attention to the sounds you make. If you focus only on producing and incredible tone, you will become an excellent guitarist.