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Sound and String Physics (Guitar Lesson)


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Steve Eulberg

Sound and String Physics

Steve Eulberg delves into a few scientific properties that explain why the guitar produces its unique sound.

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Music Theory 101 with Steve Eulberg seriesLength: 9:51Difficulty: 0.5 of 5
String Physics for Guitar:
There are 3 different characteristics of strings that affect the pitches or notes of a string:

1) Diameter
Thick = lower
Thin = higher
2) Tension / Tightness
Looser = lower
Tighter = higher
3) Length
Longer = lower
Shorter = higher

1). Diameter is determined by the gauge of strings with which your guitar is strung. The strings get progressively thicker as you move from 1st to 6th strings.
Example: The string set I use (John Pearse Phosphor Bronze Wound Light Gauge) has the following gauges:
1st = E = .012
2nd = B = .016
3rd = G = .024w
4th = D = .032w
5th = A = .042w
6th = A = .053w
2). Tension is determined by tuning the strings. As we turn the machine head or tuning gear one direction we are tightening the string and raising its pitch; when we turn it in the other direction we are loosening the string and lowering its pitch. Once the first two are chosen for our guitar, our playing makes use of the third characteristic...

3). Length. The vibrating string length (VSL) of a string is determined by the measurement from the bridge to the nut. The string will never get longer than this length. What we do with our fretting hand is to shorten or lengthen the string by pushing the string down behind the frets to change its pitch.

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Member Comments about this Lesson

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furrybikinifurrybikini replied on February 5th, 2017

Great lesson! Best watched twice and making notes.

ATPATP replied on July 19th, 2015

Some Part of this video has no sound!

jaredleejaredlee replied on December 30th, 2013

thanks for doing this series of lessons i think i wil really grow

jaredleejaredlee replied on December 30th, 2013

thanks for doing this series of lessons i think i wil really grow

colmessycolmessy replied on March 22nd, 2013

“halving the length of a fixed string between two points will double its frequency” Pythagorean tuning system was based on a ratio of 3/2 today the standard (or the considered standard) is based on 12 tone Equal temperament tuning f = 2n/12 in that it was agreed that 440Hz was to become concert pitch "A".

wv_wilsonwv_wilson replied on January 18th, 2013

Still understanding . . . so not too bad so far! :)

hunter1984hunter1984 replied on December 19th, 2012

Wrong @ swillf. Maybe instead of insulting this man's knowledge, you could just as easily assume the teacher you read from was wrong.

swillfswillf replied on February 15th, 2011

Hey Steve, thanks for all your great lessons. I am new to JamPlay and liking it more every day. I think you might have gotten the frequencies mixed up in this lesson though. As far as I've read elsewhere, the open A string is 110 Hz and the A on the high E string at the 5th fret is 440 Hz.

lewraylewray replied on March 24th, 2010

Hey Jesse think of it this way. If you use Steve's example of the note A, it's frequency or wavelength is 440 Hz which means the string vibrates 440 times every second. The next octave is 880 then 1760, etc. So if it vibrates 1760 times per second that means it takes 1/1760th of a second to vibrate back and forth one time. If you measure it at 1/880th of one second you'll see that it has already vibrated back and forth twice and it's starting over again. Same with the second harmonic at 880 Hz, if you measure it at 1/440th of a second you'll see that it's starting it's cycle over again after two complete oscillations. That means if you measure all three of those A notes that are each one octave apart, you'll see that at 1/440th of a second they are all exactly in phase with each other and that's why it sounds like they're all the same note, an A note but just different octaves. It would be much easier to see if I could draw a picture, but does that make sense to you? Is that what you were asking about or was it something else?

mcalioglumcalioglu replied on January 5th, 2011

Very clear explanation. I couldnt have understood it. Thanks.

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied on March 24th, 2010

I'd love to see the picture, but your words do a fine job of explaining!

YucatanEdYucatanEd replied on April 23rd, 2010

Wow, I am really loving this. I think I'll be referring back to these videos for a long time.

steveeulbergsteveeulberg replied on March 23rd, 2010

Perhaps I was thinking 4 but saying three...oops! Thanks for listening closely!

raelzraelz replied on March 23rd, 2010

Isn't what you said wrong? Two octaves mean 4 times higher frequency, rather than three? Other than that, it's interesting and I am looking forward to next lessons!

jesseboy000jesseboy000 replied on March 23rd, 2010

Great Steve, I'm curious now as to how harmonics work physically speaking.

Music Theory 101 with Steve Eulberg

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Steve presents an information packed lesson series that will break down the basics of music theory. From the language to notation, all things music will be taught right here.



Lesson 1

Introduction to Series

Welcome to the introduction video to Steve's music theory lesson series! This is an information packed series that will cover the fundamental elements of music including notation, language, rhythm, harmony...

Length: 2:23 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Sound and String Physics

Steve Eulberg delves into a few scientific properties that explain why the guitar produces its unique sound.

Length: 9:51 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

The Musical Alphabet

Steve provides a brief explanation of the musical alphabet. From A to G, Steve demonstrates his "finger" method as a great remembrance tool. This tool will help you understand the topics that Steve will...

Length: 2:46 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Scales & Modes

Steve explains how scales and modes are constructed.

Length: 2:28 Difficulty: 0.5 FREE
Lesson 5

Whole & Half Steps

In this lesson, Steve explains what whole and half steps are. In conjunction with the musical alphabet, Steve provides in depth instruction on how certain notes and intervals work together.

Length: 6:16 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Musical Notation

Steve explains the basics of standard musical notation. This Western system of writing music primarily details two parameters - pitch and time. Discover the visual world of music in this lesson!

Length: 5:32 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Musical Notation Continued: Musical Staff

Steve continues his music theory series as he dives more in depth into musical notation. Here he breaks down the staff and explains how it is used in reading music.

Length: 5:49 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Understanding Tablature

Steve breaks down Tablature. This is a very simple concept and when applied in the correct way, can be used to teach any determined guitarist any kind of arrangement.

Length: 4:00 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Comparing Notes on Piano & Guitar

Welcome to lesson 9 in Steve's music theory series! In this lesson, Steve explains how the notes of the guitar compare to the notes on a piano when written in standard notation.

Length: 16:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Music Vocabulary

Steve presents a lesson on the vocabulary used within music. This lesson covers many descriptive terms and symbols that help communicate what is intended to be played in a piece of music.

Length: 16:02 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Key Signatures

Steve breaks down and explains what key signatures are as well as how sharps and flats are used within each key.

Length: 22:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Scales and Modes

The title says it all. Simply put, Steve explains what scales and modes are and utilizes two different key signatures to help demonstrate the differences.

Length: 22:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Time Signatures

In this quick lesson, Steve will explain time signatures and what those numbers mean at the beginning of a notated piece of music.

Length: 8:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Tempo

Tempo is the subject of understanding how fast or slow to play a piece of music. Steve will utilize more Italian words to help demonstrate the various ranges in tempo there can be.

Length: 9:08 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Fundamentals & Overtones (Harmonics)

Steve will dive into the topic of harmonics. When playing a single note on a guitar, other notes can be herd. Steve will explain why that is as well as demonstrate where other harmonics on a guitar can...

Length: 8:44 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Chord Quality

Chord quality refers to whether or not the chord is Major or Minor. Steve will take an in depth look at how this is applied and all the various terms that are associated with this subject.

Length: 10:19 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Chord Quality Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of chord quality theory! Steve now dives into 4 note chords and common additions that are made.

Length: 16:15 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Chord Voicing

Steve tackles the subject of chord voicing. This term simply refers to the order in which we hear the notes that form a particular chord. Let Steve break this subject down in a very hands on sort of way.

Length: 10:38 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Circle of 5ths

Welcome to a lesson in one of the most widely known topics in Music Theory, Circle of 5ths. This handy tool can easily bring light to how notes relate to each other, and Steve will explain how this is...

Length: 11:17 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Relative Minor

The relative minor key or chord is built from the sixth step of any major scale. For example, A minor is the relative minor key and chord in relation to C major.

Length: 7:09 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Chord Substitution

It's time to get creative with your music theory knowledge! In this lesson, Steve demonstrates how to utilize chord substitutions in order to add your own personal touch to the harmony of a song.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Power Chords

Steve presents a very insightful lesson on what power chords are on the theory side of things, but also how best they can be used.

Length: 6:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

Arpeggios

Arpeggio is an Italian word meaning "broken chord". Steve demonstrates how this applies to the guitar and some common picking patterns used with familiar chord shapes.

Length: 6:37 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

Pentatonic Scale Theory

Steve delves into the topic of pentatonic scale theory. Steve discusses why both the major and minor pentatonic scales are two of the most common scales used in music.

Length: 11:45 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Diminished Chords

Steve discusses diminished chords and how they relate to dominant chords.

Length: 7:59 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only

About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.

While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.

Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.

Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the “sweet music” of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.

In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.

Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.

Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).

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