Vibroacoustical Study of the Solid-Body Electric Guitar

Yo Fujiso

Compared to the Acoustic Guitar, far less studies have been done for the Electric Guitar in the field of Musical Acoustics. The electric guitar differs from its elder acoustic sister in many points. It does not have any sound box, its sound is wanted to be radiated not by the instrument directly but by an amplifier, all its strings are in steel… Most of all, the vibroacoustical mechanisms occurring in an electric guitar are noticeably different from those occuring in a acoustic guitar.

Concerning the influence of the materials of the instrument on its tone, a recent perceptive study (2006) was carried out by Benoit Navarret at the LAM (Lutherie Acoustique Musique) laboratory in Paris, France. This study showed that varying the wood of the body of an electric guitar actually affects both the acoustical and amplified sound perceived by its user. Indeed, all the participants of the study (professional and amateur guitarists, acousticians…) noticed significant differences between the tones of three tested guitars which had identical visual appearances but which bodies were made of different woods (ash, mahogany and medium).

In continuation to this work, it would be interesting to investigate the influence of the materials of an electric guitar on its tone in a physical point of view: vibrational measurements and simulations will be performed for the three previously tested guitars. The various physical results obtained will be compared between the three guitars in order to correlate them to the perceptive results of Benoit Navarret’s study and hopefully find some interesting agreements.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Division of Applied Acoustics
Vibroacoustics Group
Chalmers University of Technology
SE-41296 G ¨ oteborg

Vibroacoustical Study of the Solid-Body Electric Guitar

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