Having trouble finding your guitar’s sweet spot? Try these tips to find its resonant frequency.
If you’ve ever felt like your guitar is missing something, or wondered why your guitar sounds better on some days than others, it might be because you haven’t found its sweet spot yet.
To reach that place of optimal sound, you need to find the resonant frequency of the guitar. The resonant frequency is the sweet spot where all elements of the instrument are working together at maximum efficiency, and that allows you to get the most out of it.
Most guitarists will never take the time to find their guitar’s resonant frequency, but if you want to get the best sound possible then it’s worth learning how to do so.
So what is a resonant frequency?
Every object has a resonant frequency, which is the natural frequency of vibration when struck. For example, when you pluck a guitar string, the note you hear is not only defined by the length of the string; it is also defined by the tension of the string and the wood of your guitar body.
If you’d like to understand your guitar better and learn some interesting tricks, take a look at these tips for finding your guitar’s resonant frequency.
1) Resonant Frequency vs. Natural Frequency
While both terms are frequently used interchangeably, technically resonant frequency is defined as the condition of a system in which an abnormally large vibration response occurs when it is subjected to a small periodic stimulus. In other words, it’s when something vibrates more than it should.
Natural frequency refers to an object vibrating at its natural or normal rate. In order to determine the natural frequency of an object, one must know its mass and stiffness (stiffness is how resistant an object is to being deformed). The natural frequency depends upon those two things and can be calculated using this formula: f = 1/2π√(k/m).
Many guitarists will happily replace pickups, pots, pickups and even bridges to get a better sound. But one thing most of them overlook is the resonant frequency of their instrument.
If you’re looking for a great tone, paying attention to the resonant frequency of your instrument can help you get there.
What Is Resonant Frequency?
When we talk about resonant frequency, we’re referring to the natural frequency at which something vibrates. This can be observed in virtually any object (even people). If you pluck a guitar string, it will vibrate at a certain natural frequency. The same goes for the top (or soundboard) of your guitar. A large part of getting a great tone out of your instrument is making sure that this natural frequency is not being cancelled out by other vibrations that are happening simultaneously.
The common wisdom for decades has held that the optimal resonant frequency for an electric guitar is somewhere between 80Hz and 120 Hz. So how do you find out where your guitar sits in this range?
The resonant frequency is the natural frequency of vibration of a solid object. In other words, if you pluck a string on your guitar, its natural frequency is the note you hear. If you’re using an amp with a built-in tuner, it will tell you what note the string is vibrating at (i.e., its resonant frequency).
In this video, Matt from The Guitar Shop demonstrates how to find your guitar’s resonant frequency. You don’t need to be a physics major—all you need is an amp with a built-in tuner and a screwdriver!
Watch the video above, then try it out yourself!
If you’re looking to get a guitar that sounds better, you might need to look at it as an engineer and not just a musician. That is, you need to focus on the physics of sound.
When you strum a guitar string, it doesn’t just vibrate at one frequency—it vibrates at many frequencies simultaneously. These are called “harmonics” or “overtones,” and they correspond to multiples of the fundamental frequency (usually called simply the “frequency”).
If we were to graph the vibration of a guitar string against time, as in the image above, we would see peaks and troughs in the waveform. If we were to measure this waveform at one particular point in time and then multiply that measurement by two, three, four, five (and so on), we would find that our successive measurements match up with the peaks and troughs in the waveform. That is why they are called harmonics or overtones because they are related to the fundamental frequency.
Physically speaking, what is happening is that each part of the string is moving up and down at different amplitudes. You can see this effect if you rub your finger along a guitar string: you
As a beginner guitarist, you may not be sure about the best guitars for learning, and what to look out for when you are ready to upgrade. Whether you are looking for an electric guitar or an acoustic guitar, there is a wide variety of products available online. Choosing the right brand of guitar can be a daunting task. But here are some tips that can help you make your choice:
1) The first thing to consider when purchasing a guitar is the type of material it is made from. There are several types of wood used for guitar making, such as mahogany, rosewood, spruce, and cedar.
2) Another critical factor is the size and shape of the neck. The neck should be comfortable to hold and easy to reach with your left hand. A good rule of thumb is that the length of the neck should be at least twice as long as your palm.
3) You also need to consider the number of frets on the guitar. The more frets there are on your guitar, the more complicated it will be to play chords and scales. To get started on learning how to play chords and scales, it’s best to start with a guitar with fewer than 20 frets.
4) Next, choose the right
A resonant frequency is the natural frequency of a vibrating object (like your guitar). When an external force is applied to that object and it vibrates, the object vibrates at its resonant frequency.
Imagine you’re sitting at a campfire. The fire builds until it’s roaring, then someone tosses in a log and crack, the log breaks and the fire dies down. As it turns out, when the log hit the fire, it was in tune with the natural frequency of the fire and that knocked down the flame. We call this phenomenon “sympathetic resonance.”
A tuning fork has a resonant frequency based on its length (which determines how “stiff” it is), so when you tap it against something, it vibrates at its resonant frequency. If you hit two identical tuning forks together, one with sound waves already present in it and one without, both tuning forks will produce sound waves because they’re vibrating at their resonant frequencies.
Your guitar strings have a natural resonance too – they resonate at a certain tone based on their length (and thickness). This is why we tune our guitars, so that all six strings are vibrating at their resonant frequencies.