Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Electric Guitar Wood Myth Busted? -- ongoing research

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by BigDaddyLH, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'

    You missed this part:

    Likewise, the magnets rattle slightly as well.

    Moving a magnet inside of a coil will produce a current. Because moving the magnet is basically the same as manipulating the magnetic field.

  2. etype

    etype Tele-Holic

    Sep 23, 2014
    I guess for me it is the degree to which the materials of the neck, fretboard, truss rod, nut, bridge and body can affect the string's vibration relative to the neck that makes me skeptical. Once you get past the pickups, cable, amp and fingers, it is hard for me to see that anything else makes a noticeable difference. Beyond that. to say that mahogany bodies produce a warmer tone compared to an ash body (irrespective of density of either) or that a rosewood fretboard always produces a warmer sound than a maple fretboard just sounds ridiculous. Look, I am not beyond using this as an argument for a new guitar, but if there is a difference, maybe Jamie Sommers can tell, but I sure cannot.

  3. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 5, 2006
    Sinatra's World
    Bionic Woman reference? Nice!

    Did anybody win yet? After 843 posts, it seems like somebody should have won by now.
    Tootle, Modman68, RoyBGood and 4 others like this.

  4. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Can't declare a winner 'til it's over.

  5. w3stie

    w3stie Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 19, 2010
    I'm gonna give it to the first person that wrote "case closed".
    Modman68 likes this.

  6. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    So, like, Arthur Conan Doyle?

  7. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    There are other wood factors besides the body, neck and fretboard to consider that may change the tone more than those.

    The amp is sitting in a room with sheetrock walls. Under that sheetrock are wooden studs. Is the sound that makes it to your ear affected differently if the studs are pine or poplar? If you listen close I think you'll hear the difference...
    Mr Green Genes likes this.

  8. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    May 9, 2015
    Seekonk, MA
    As a rule, I don't jump into tonewood discussions. It's not important that people agree with me. But that may be the most succinct and cogent argument on the subject I've read.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017

  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Don't think so, because magnets are usually magnetically stuck to the pole/poles and backing plate. If the pickup has individual magnetic poles, they are inserted tightly in a top and bottom flatwork that doesn't move.

  10. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    850! I'm post 850!

    Bionic Women? Are we talking nice Lindsay Wagner or the evil FemBots?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

  11. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Another thing to consider, EVH had an Ibanez pointy Explorer type guitar and cut an area out behind the bridge of said guitar for some weight relief. Sometime later He quit using that guitar because the guitars sound/tone had changed for the worst.

    The pickups still worked, hardware was the same, same electronics and it held tune so the structure holding the bridge wasn't compromised. Why did the guitar's sound/tone change? And why did it change when only a part of the body was removed?

  12. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    Some guitars are made with a rear cut and still make good music, I know. Point is, we don't know what those guitars would sound like before the cut. Most guitars had a large area behind the bridge and we tend to like those guitars. Is it because they sound better? Is there a barrier around the bridge that shouldn't be breached?

  13. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    The basic principle of ANY microphone, speaker, or anything that uses a coil to generate pick up or emit a signal requires the movement of a magnet inside said coil to generate current / voltage. On the opposite end (speaker), it requires a voltage / current to engage the magnet backwards and forwards.

    Mind you, this different from piezo elements as these work off of the piezo effect. And that uses a special material that generates a voltage / current based on physical pressure, and there is no real mechanics involved.

    You can make a speaker into a microphone because the only difference between a microphone and a speaker is basically where it exists on the circuit. The cone on a speaker (diaphragm on a mic) is the transducer that translates variations in air pressure into the movement of a magnet within a coil. This generates a signal. Things like electret mics wrek on similar principles where instead of using a coil, it is capacitive. One of the side of the capacitor is your diaphragm. When it moves due to air pressure variations, it changes the capacitance, and you get a signal. In one way or another, something is moving in response to air pressure.

    And that is the commonality of both microphones and speakers. They primarily deal changing air pressure into a signal, and vice versa. Yeah, they can pick up physical vibrations too, but that is secondary to their main function.

    When you tap on a guitar body, you have nothing as it relates to variations in air pressure. You do have the body shaking as a result of your tap. So SOMETHING is moving inside that coil to generate a signal. There is no cone / diaphragm. So it is not "microphonics".

    You could argue that there there is some, albeit small, effect of air pressure on the magnets. But in this instance, you're not screaming at the pickups, you're thumping on the guitar body. Given the stiffness of the body, and of the wood in the surrounding cavity, it is highly unlikely that air pressure has any effect at all in generating the sound you hear on the amp. The pickpus ARE, however, screwed to the wooden body, and that is the path of least resistance for the sound you just generated. Hence, direct physical agitation of the magnets is the source of your sound.

    It is the same basic principle if you pound on the cover of your spring reverb. All a reverb is is a coil connected to a magnet on each end, and those magnets are centered inside a coil. One side of the tank generates the signal. The other side of the tank picks up the delayed signal (since the length of metal delays the transmission of the signal because the length of the metal in it's coiled configuration is longer than the distance of the container it is housed in and therefore the signal has a longer path to travel to get from one side to the next). When you hammer on the enclosure, vibrations go through the case and into the the spring itself had to be physically attached to the case in some manner to provide tension (otherwise it would fall to the bottom of the tank). Those vibrations travel along the spring where they are picked up by the fluctuation of the magnets on the other end.

    Air pressure of the tapping, in this instance, will appear across the coil because the coil itself will act as a crude and highly inefficient diaphragm, but the MAIN sound going through that coil is a physical vibration. And it's also the reason why when you agitate the springs in the tank in this manner, it sounds like something exploded - multiple sources of vibration hitting those springs, and being fed back via the reverb's decay circuitry.

    But the main source in this case it physical agitation, not air pressure. The same is true of your pickups, and probably moreso as you really have no sort of diaphragm whatsoever.

    By the way, you can make a reverb tank with either speakers or guitar pickups. You just gotta figure out how to physically attach the coils to the magnets.

    So, when I sorta scoff at the term "microphonics", it's because the physics behind the concept don't support the phrase.

    If there is no diaphragm on the pickup, and air pressure is not a direct source of the sound, then something has to be agitated inside the pickup. Otherwise, you'd get no sound through your amp. The most likely source of movement is the magnets, as the coil can be potted, and the tension on the strands creates enough friction to keep them in place. I mean, it is possible, but highly unlikely.

    And I'm honestly trying to not be a jerk about this.

  14. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    No offense taken here and I'm not intending to be a jerk either.:cool:
    Magnet pickups work like this: Magnetic poles sit under the strings(all pickup magnets are firmly attached to the pickup body and do not move., the strings do), the string vibrating above causes a disruption in the magnetic field, the disruption in field is detected by the coil and is transferred to electronic signal.

    Microphonics come into play in the coil. Since the coil is a number of winding's around a bobbin(the amount of microphonics are due to the way the coil is wound, and sealing), the coil is subject to vibrations that create other signals to be produced. Since the strings and hardware are mounted to a body and neck that vibrate in relation to the string vibrations, the coil will detect those vibrations and convert them to signal. This is where material tone influence is injected to the sound of a particular guitar. Older pickups were scatter wound and didn't have potting and they were extremely microphonic, companies got better at winding pickups and also stated sealing them to make them less microphonic, but it is a problem inherent to design and can't be completely eliminated.:cool:

  15. kmckiou

    kmckiou TDPRI Member

    Jul 7, 2016
    I hear you, but would change one thing. Tapping the guitar body mostly excites vibration in the strings, not the coils. The coils and magnets are fixed relative to each other. You can verify this by putting your hand on the strings while tapping on the body. You get no sound from the guitar. Remove your hand and the resonance of the body and neck excite complementary frequencies in the strings which are picked up by the pickups. Thus you get sounds from the guitar. So, essentially, changing wood, neck, anything really, will change the resonance of the system and which frequencies are reinforced.

  16. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'

    I was responding to the fact that you could take off the strings yet still hear the tapping.

    I sorta said the same thing you did earlier, but without the wood being a part of the equation.

    And for the record, the strings you use probably have more impact on your sound than the wood in the guitar. Since they are the MAIN source of sound, the composition of the strings makes a big difference because this has a direct impact on the frequency spectrum they emit.

  17. Tremade

    Tremade Tele-Holic

    Jan 30, 2016
    Sthlm, Sweden
    Mad threads need mad science!

    william tele likes this.

  18. Mr Green Genes

    Mr Green Genes Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 23, 2016
    MI some people.
    william tele likes this.

  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    If wood doesn't make a difference in a guitar's sound, then why did Les Paul go through so much trouble to eliminate it?

  20. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    This was interesting.
    With all the effects and distortion, I couldn't tell a difference between the two.
    Clean, I heard a very slight difference.
    Brings me back to a earlier post about EVH cutting his guitar and loosing tone. Maybe it was loosing sustain he was detecting like the graphs showed on the video. Maybe the size/type of the bridge makes a difference. Thinking the Steinberger bridge probably makes up for loss of wood in their guitars.
    Anybody got anything to share along this line?

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