Acoustic Guitar

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Acoustic Guitar

The Acoustic Guitar

History of Design of The Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar stems from a history of over 4000 years where it was first developed in the continent of Europe. The development of the acoustic guitar may have been heavily influenced by many ancient string instruments such as tanburs and bowl harps which consist of a similar anatomy to the acoustic guitar. However, early string instruments such as the bowl harp were made up of things such as tortoise shells and calabashes as resonators. Since then, the acoustic guitar has been changed and modified numerous times until the development of the modern acoustic guitar which is credited to a Spanish guitar maker named Antonio Torres. Antonio Torres increased the size of the body and sound hole and widened the fret board. Moreover, he is credited with the development of "fan strutting" where a series of struts are diverged from the sound hole. This allowed the resulting tone of the acoustic guitar to be considerably stronger and sustained. The anatomy of the modern acoustic guitar consists of the: Body, back, headstock, frets, neck, nut, sides, strap pin, strings, top, tuning machines, fingerboard, endpin, and bridge. The type of wood that makes up an acoustic guitar is usually spruce or cedar as these woods are light and serve as a great sound source by allowing the top plate of the guitar to vibrate. The strings of an acoustic guitar are primarily made of either nylon, steel, nickel or copper. Since Torres's enhancements and modifications, few changes to the structure of the acoustic guitar have taken place.

Antonio Torres is credited with the development of the modern acoustic guitar

The acosutic guitar may have evolved from earlier instruments such as the bowl harp

In a little bit of more specificity, there will be very little sound production by the strings alone due to the lack of disturbance of the air particles. The vibration of the strings produce a sound wave which eventually travels to the body thus allowing a greater disturbance of air particles inside the soundhole. Air molecules that start vibrating bump into other molecules causing those particles to vibrate as well. The soundhole is from where the sound is emitted and reaches people's ears.

How is Sound Produced? The production of sound in an acoustic guitar occurs as the strings are made to vibrate. After this initial step, the vibrations travel through the saddle, to the bridge, and finally to the soundboard. After this, the soundboard and the body amplify the sound as a result of the guitar's hollow soundbox.

Variables responsible for different sound quality in acoustic guitars

. There are a variety of factors which are responsible for producing different sound qualities in acoustic guitars. For example, tension, length, and mass of the strings are all key factors in determining the pitch. The tighter a string is (i.e. more tension) the higher the resulting pitch will be as well as an increase in frequency will be seen. Moreover, since the frequency increases, so does the speed as the speed and frequency are directly related to each other. The equation that represents this relationship is v=fλ. This equation can be rearranged so that λ=f/v. Since lambda will remain constant, as frequency increases so does the speed of the sound waves. The tension of the strings can be adjusted to the desired frequency and to change the pitch.

It is also important to note that harmonics play an important role in the production of different sounds. This is done by holding down the strings onto the fingerboard with a finger from one's left hand (if a person is left handed) thus "shortening" the string. This creates a higher pitch and is used by guitar players to achieve the desired sounds. Additionally, each guitar string is less dense than the other (from top to bottom). Sound waves travel faster on less dense strings as compared to thicker strings. Thicker strings have a lower resulting pitch. Guitarists also use this to produce the desired sound.

Holding down the strings onto the fingerboard allow for the guitar to produce a higher pitch

The purpose of this project is to determine how an acoustic guitar produces sound, factors affecting sound quality and history of instrument design.

Video explaining the physics behind the acoustic guitar


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