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How does Mass affect Vibrational Frequency?

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by Guy Named Sue, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. RussV

    RussV Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    61
    Dec 8, 2008
    UK
    My favorite mod to a 6 screw floating bridge guitar is to loosen the strings, remove the springs and tighten the 6 screws so not only does bridge not move, it is tightly attached to the body. I also put back the springs. This increases sustain, cuts treble and boots the middle and bass. I've done this on my 1962 Strat and a Yamaha with the same noticeable effect on both. I'm no scientist but as I see it the strings are then affected more by the mass of the body. Either that or a lot of string energy is lost using a floating bridge.
     
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  2. ido1957

    ido1957 Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 13, 2014
    Canada
    I'm always way more impressed with a guitar player's skills, than tone. That is assuming it's a decent non-ear piercing spiky tone. Keep chasing the grail, or practice, its your choice.
     
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  3. Chasy

    Chasy Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    223
    Jun 7, 2018
    Danbury CT
    I love watching that 2013 crossroads video. It's like a smorgasbord of strat tone. Then out comes that pos blue epiphone and bam, yall can get tone out of anything. More mass to me right now is equating to more definition. That's what I find when I deck the bridge. There is less of a tendency for the harmonics to overwhelm the original note. Nothing that you cant change in your amp though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  4. Stark

    Stark Ghost of Johnny Thunders Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    48
    Jul 16, 2011
    Richmond Annex, CA
    Sunrise or mid-morning mass?
     
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  5. AndyFroncioni

    AndyFroncioni Strat-Talker Silver Member

    Age:
    57
    202
    Aug 14, 2017
    Montreal

    Coupled oscillators, Baby!
     
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  6. Chasy

    Chasy Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    223
    Jun 7, 2018
    Danbury CT
    Midnight mass.
     
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  7. RussV

    RussV Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    61
    Dec 8, 2008
    UK
    As Jeff Beck once said, tone is overrated.
     
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  8. abnormaltoy

    abnormaltoy BushBaby Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 28, 2013
    Tucson
    I think the question should be...does "density affect vibrational frequency?"...yes. Is the effect positive or negative?


    Everything in the process affects everything else in the process, right down to the temperature and humidity in the place you are playing/listening.
     
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  9. dirocyn

    dirocyn Strat-Talker

    Age:
    43
    200
    Jan 20, 2018
    Murfreesboro, TN
    This thread, come up again. I've thought about the issue of mass vs tone and sustain, since last time. I think the issue with sustain is not the weight of the guitar, but the hardness. For most woods, heavier = harder, but that is not universally true (esp if you also consider wet or "green" woods. If you were to cast a bell out of lead, the sound would be dull and dead compared to bronze (the more traditional material). A solid lead guitar probably wouldn't have much sustain.
     
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  10. Malurkey

    Malurkey Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 28, 2016
    Netherlands
    In a harmonic oscillator the frequency in inversely proportional to the square root of the vibrating mass. In a guitar, this is not really relevant, as we adjust the system so that it vibrates at set frequencies (= tuning).

    But this probably wasn’t the question you intended to ask.

    In a underdamped harmonic oscillator, such as a guitar, the decay factor is inversely proportional to the vibrating mass, so the intuition that heavier guitars resonate longer has a basis in physics.
     
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  11. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    A good way to do this is to weigh yourself now, and weigh yourself after a few pints and then play to see if the tone is any lower or not.
     
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  12. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    The tone isn’t any lower, but the playing is slower...
     

  13. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    1. Mass of guitar doesn't affect mass of vibrating string itself - therefore shouldn't affect the frequency but...

    2. Mass of guitar can affect the rigidity of the point the string is affixed to. Remember that the simple physics of a vibrating string assumes infinite mass and rigidity on either end of the string - which we know is not true. In reality, the physics of a vibrating string is influenced by the non-rigid points of attachment.

    Energy is transferred from the string, to the body (and back). This energy is not lost (conservation of energy) but is transferred from the string. Some becomes heat, some becomes sound, etc etc. In theory, a less rigid body will quickly accept and dissipate the string's energy (imagine a soft cardboard barely rigid enough to accept the string tension).

    Likewise, a guitar made from a 2ton steel beam will be more rigid and reflect more energy back to the string and absorb less. More sustain.

    3. All this absorbing and reflecting happens more or less at different frequencies. Materials, construction, etc. determine how likely the string is energy will be absorbed or reflected. So, in theory, the materials can create a bit of a frequency-dependent loss of energy from the string

    4. I have no idea what any of this means to play music
     
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  14. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    62
    May 30, 2013
    SE England
    I can remember buying a used MIM Jazz Bass, and it was one of the the most responsive Fender basses. There was just a sort-of 'bounce' to the strings. It was a pretty standard weight, so it wasn't as if there was anything obviously different about the body wood. I'm sure of Fender knew how to make every bass perform that well, it would be doing so, certainly on its premium instruments.

    Your point about strings was the first thing that occurred to me. If it wasn't for the winds adding mass, you could probably tune most low E stings up to the pitch of the G string. That's not what the video is suggesting, which is why being exact in our terminology when exploring complex subjects is important. I know an extremely good luthier, and when he chooses the wood for an acoustic guitar, he does so on the basis of the characteristics the clients has said they desire from the instrument.

    Although he knows those woods are the right starting point for a particular sound, it doesn't mean Bill Dinsdale then goes ahead and makes 'the same old guitar' as if the wood is the be-all and end-all. I know we're primarily talking about electric guitars here, but if an experienced luthier modifies his builds slightly as he goes along to meet the clients needs, I suspect you are correct in saying you can't reduce this down to a 'rule of thumb', still less a precise set of formulae that will produce a guaranteed outcome.

    On the other hand, the world is awash with guitars, so all players have to do is chose ones that work for them.:)
     
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  15. CigBurn

    CigBurn Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jun 22, 2014
    Same Shed Different Day
    Can't figure out if they are trying to go for a "Pawn Stars" meets "American Chopper" meets the Guy Fieri of guitars or what with their vids. But it's definitely a show someone was trying to shop to a cable network.




    Bleh...
     
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  16. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    It means I beams would make the ultimate guitars!
     

  17. Wrighty

    Wrighty Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 7, 2013
    Harlow, Essex, UK
    It will, but it will have a dampening effect. Flesh doesn’t vibrate (much). If it did, when you slapped someone’s bum it would make like a tub of Swarfega!
     

  18. dirocyn

    dirocyn Strat-Talker

    Age:
    43
    200
    Jan 20, 2018
    Murfreesboro, TN
    What it means is, different materials, construction, etc. act like an EQ. Some will turn up part of the curve, most turn down part of the curve. Some things might turn down the attack or sustain for particular frequencies. There are a ton of different "rules of thumb" relating to tone, some of which are poorly understood--in part because English is poorly suited for describing tone, and in part because hearing seems to be pretty individual. We could probably put it all into scientific terminology, but we might be describing an effect such as "-5 Db on 1020-1080Hz" or "decay on 0-80Hz increased by .001Db per milisecond" But we don't have easy ways to measure and quantify these effects, and also most of us wouldn't understand it even if we did.

    I have convinced myself that harder wood will yield longer sustain. Maple, for example, is quite hard, while white pine is pretty soft. I doubt you'd be happy with the sustain from a white pine neck--though I don't doubt it's been done. A question relating to this rule: how much sustain do you want, really? If you're in a Santana cover band, quite a lot. If you're playing Flamenco, maybe not so much.

    For another rule of thumb, the weight of the headstock can make a big difference. See, the neck flexes quite a bit, and the neck is more free to move if there's not a mass out there to slow down that movement. That high and biting Tele sound comes, in large part from the tiny headstock, which effectively turns down the EQ for some bass frequencies. It doesn't always take much difference in the headstock to make an audible difference--on half of my guitars I can hear a difference just from clamping/removing a capo to the headstock--though I'll only hear a difference on 1-2 strings. The guitars where I can't hear a difference have thicker necks.
     

  19. Monkeyboy

    Monkeyboy Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    A perfect world
     
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  20. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    Pretty sure if you can contain the vibrating strings energy from going past the nut and the block you will have more sustain since the string energy is staying with the string and not spreading to other parts.

    I think the body mass is secondary to that but I went to science class with Dr. Bunsen and Beaker so I am not all in.
     
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