# Physics of an Acoustic Guitar Essay

1756 Words8 Pages
Physics of an Acoustic Guitar I have been watching my husband play the guitar in a band for five years and he has made it look so easy to make such beautiful music. Most guitar players have progressed with the technology of electric guitars, but when my husband picks up an acoustic guitar and starts to play a song for just me, I hear his love for me in the sounds that he produces. Imagine my surprise when a physics class conveyed to me that there was much more to his playing than I had imagined. The sound that a guitar makes is easily recognizable to many people because the physics of the acoustic guitar is mostly universal. The noticeable distinctions are the result of various wavelengths and the harmonics that are created by…show more content…
An antinode is present at the furthest amplitude above the string and at the furthest amplitude below the wave. A full wavelength has two nodes and two antinodes. On a fixed string, nodes are created at both ends, so the fundamental, or longest, wavelength that could be produced, would be twice the length of the guitar string. Harmonics are determined by “whole number multiples of the fundamental wavelength.”3 They can vary in speed and have any number of wavelengths that can be generated with nodes at both ends. For example, the first harmonic would be a full wavelength and have two nodes and two antinodes. Each additional harmonic would add an additional half of a wavelength to the string. The relationship between the wavelength and the speed of the wave creates different frequencies from the guitar. The frequency is the number of wavelengths that occur per second. The equation is set up as the frequency equals the speed of the waves divided by the wavelength, or f = u § l . Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) and humans can generally hear between 20Hz and 20,000Hz, depending on the individual. The various frequencies formed on a guitar are attributed to the difference in the strings on the guitar. The strings, in order from the bottom to the top, are: E, B, G, D, A, and E. Their fundamental frequencies are listed respectively as: 329.6Hz, 246.9Hz, 196Hz, 146.8Hz, 110Hz, and