Submission Title

Nonlinear Harmonic Modes of Steel Strings on an Electric Guitar

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Physics/Applied Physics

Description

Steel strings used on electric and acoustic guitars are notorious for imperfect intonation. According to theory, this intonation should be a function to the bending stiffness of the string, which is related to the dimensions of length and thickness of the string. To test this theory, three sizes of solid steel strings were analyzed on an oscilloscope using a Fast Fourier Transform function. We found that strings exhibited more drastic nonlinear harmonic behavior as their effective length was shortened, and, at a given length, thicker strings were more skewed than thinner strings.

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Nonlinear Harmonic Modes of Steel Strings on an Electric Guitar

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Steel strings used on electric and acoustic guitars are notorious for imperfect intonation. According to theory, this intonation should be a function to the bending stiffness of the string, which is related to the dimensions of length and thickness of the string. To test this theory, three sizes of solid steel strings were analyzed on an oscilloscope using a Fast Fourier Transform function. We found that strings exhibited more drastic nonlinear harmonic behavior as their effective length was shortened, and, at a given length, thicker strings were more skewed than thinner strings.