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The Materials And Methods Of Making A Guitar

Jul 16, 2008
The different materials used in the construction of a guitar make a huge difference as far as the eventual quality of sound, and the tone of the guitar, although the way in which the guitar is manufactured and assembled also contributes a great deal to the eventual quality of sound, length of sustain and tone. In addition to both the materials used and the way in which a guitar is assembled, another aspect of the guitar's design which has a great deal to do with the voice of the instrument is the shape of the body itself.

Of course, the most significant difference in the way in which guitar bodies are constructed is whether they are hollow or whether they are solid. Electric guitars may have either a hollow body or a solid one, with acoustic and classic guitars always having a solid body. The hollow chamber of a guitar creates the natural amplification, and softening of the tone, which for some electric guitars is highly useful in creating a softer, warmer tone. There are some guitars which have only a semi-solid body, or semi hollow chamber, and these are best suited to blues music, and rockabilly.

For electric guitars with a solid body, the shape of the guitar and the style of body contributes very little to the overall sound, since the vast majority of these is generated electronically, through the pickups and amplification that alter, distort and amplify the sounds. The pickup of an electric guitar is the part connected to the body that detects the vibration of the strings, and send this as an electronic signal to the external equipment. The pickup is therefore a critical part of the overall sound quality and voice. There are two main types of pickup available, the first being the single rail, the second the humbucker. The single rail is, as the name might suggest, a single bar that has six magnets built into it. Each of these magnets detects the movement of the steel string beneath it.

The problem with single rail pickups is that they have a tendency to buzz, creating unwanted distortion and echoing. The humbucker pickup was created to combat and eliminate this problem. Seymour Duncan was the creator of the humbucker, which is twice as wide as a single rail, and has a coil of wire wrapped around the six magnets. This stops the buzzing, or, as Seymour Duncan put it, it bucks the hum - hence the name.

Depending upon the type or combination of pickups used, the resultant sound can vary quite dramatically, and different performers in different genres will tend to veer towards specific types or combinations. Alternative rock musicians, for example, tend to use a humbucker or two single pickup combination for the versatility that it offers, whereas those playing hard rock will go for two humbuckers because this helps to generate a very fat sound, with a warm tone. Because of the very bright tone achieved using a single coil pickup, this tends to be the preference for those playing punk or ska.

One other type of pickup is known as an active pickup. Most pickups are quite passive -, taking the electric power that they need from the amplifier. Active pickups on the other hand are powered using an internal battery source, which results in a much faster response time, and what is generally considered to be a hotter sound.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for guitars, drums, keyboards, sheet music, guitar tab, and home theater audio. You can find the best marketplace at these sites for electric guitars, humbuckers and single coil pickups , sheet music, guitar tab, and home theater audio.
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