Understanding Electric Guitars – Electric Guitars and the Special Sound Affects
When you’re comparing an electric guitar and acoustic guitar, the big difference between the two types of guitars is that one of them requires electricity and the other does not. In order for electric guitars to produce great sound, a lot of different variables have to work together.
The kind of wood used, the construction method, the age and the shape the strings are in all affect the way an el-guitar sounds. Also, the quality of and how long the guitar cord is to the amplifier, the kind and placement of pickups, and the specs of the amplifier all affect how electric guitars sound.
Around 1950, the Gibson Guitar Company discovered that putting an electrical wire near a vibrating guitar string allowed sounds to be played by loudspeakers. This is how electric guitars were produced. The original electric guitars had coils meant to pick up sounds around 60Hz. However, this caused a humming sound from the current that powered the amplifier. After more work and better design, new pickups with two counter coils were produced to get rid of the humming sound. This design is referred to as hum bucking. Hum bucker pickups are often used by those who play the el-guitar today.
As electric guitars became more popular, there were more special effects produced like the “Wah” pedal, harmonics, tremolo, distortion, and many more. These special effects allow musicians to come up with a variety of interesting sounds. Stompboxes were produced during the 1960s and contained one or more special effects combined in one box that was turned on and off using a spring switch you could press with your foot. That’s where the name comes from.
The tremolo bar was one of the first special effects for el-guitars and attaches to the bottom string area. Musicians could press this bar to decline the tension on the strings. This is referred to as “bending” the sound. This is nevertheless done today but the tremolo effects are produced by the amplifier, which makes the sounds more uniform.
Amplifiers continued to evolve along with el-guitars. The biggest change was from valve pushed systems using tubes to substantial state transistors. The original amplifiers were build by RCA technicians who were familiar with sound systems relying on tubes so they naturally included them in the amplifiers. People who play electric guitars today sometimes prefer to use tub amplifiers instead of transistor amplifiers because the sounds are cleaner and there is less clipping.