Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Physics



Faculty Advisor(s)

Michael S. Crosser (Thesis Advisor)
Tianbao Xie & William Mackie (Committee Members)

Subject Categories

Harmonic Analysis and Representation | Music | Non-linear Dynamics | Physics


Steel strings used on electric and acoustic guitars are non-ideal oscillators that can produce imperfect intonation. According to theory, this intonation should be a function of the bending stiffness of the string, which is related to the dimensions of length and thickness of the string. To test this theory, solid steel strings of three different linear densities were analyzed using an oscilloscope and a Fast Fourier Transform function. We found that strings exhibited more drastic nonlinear harmonic behavior as their effective length was shortened and as linear density increased.