If you google for the word ‘guitar’ on the internet, you will discover thousands of questions on web sites and discussion forums. Questions about guitar tone, playability, potential modifications to make a guitar sound better and questions about recording guitar music. This is hardly a surprise, because many guitarists struggle with these issues during their lifetime quest for the best sounding guitar and the best possible tone. However, the answers provided by other players on the internet are not always clear and often inconsistent.
If you read this book, you can leave the internet forums for what they are. This is the ultimate book for every guitarist who wants to know how guitars produce their tone. It describes the complete journey of the sound waves from the strings, through the bridge saddle and the bridge, vibrations in the top, room reflections, microphones and digital recorders, all the way to the point where air pressure in your ears is converted into electric signals that are sent to your brain. That is a lot, and it may sound like boring science, but if Eltjo Haselhoff tells the story, it is not boring at all.
As a well-established player in the international fingerstyle guitar arena, Eltjo needs no further recommendation. Those familiar with his instrumental guitar albums and instructional DVDs know he is not only a true master on the guitar, but also an inspiring mentor with excellent teaching skills and a great sense of humor. In addition, he holds a PhD in physics, and therefore understands guitars probably better than anyone else.
This book will provide you with a deep understanding of acoustic (and electric) guitars and how they create their sound. It is also full of practical tips and step-by-step instructions that can be applied right away by every guitarist. For example, you will learn that you don’t need expensive microphones to make professionally sounding recordings at home, that the back and sides of a guitar should be selected on their looks alone, and that you don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive bridge pins, but instead should visit your local tire center.
Hardcover, full color, 188 pages, 130 illustrations and photographs
CHAPTER 1 - HOW IT ALL STARTED
This introductory chapter tells how and why the author became interested in understanding and tweaking guitars when he was 8 years old, and what he has done since those early years to satisfy his curiosity.
CHAPTER 2 - STRINGS AND PITCH
This chapter discusses the relationships between the pitch of a string, its diameter, its length and the forces acting on it. It shows simple rules of thumb, which help you understand basic principles of guitar mechanics and easily find the appropriate strings for your preferred playing style or alternate tunings.
CHAPTER 3 - THE SOUND SPECTRUM
This chapter discusses how a vibrating string not only moves along its entire length, but also in more complicated manners. Each string does this in its own way, and that is why every string produces a unique sound. It also introduces the concept of Fourier Transforms and why we perceive sounds the way we do.
CHAPTER 4 - THE GUITAR
This chapter discusses all essential parts of a guitar (nut, bridge saddle, bridge, bridge pins, fingerboard, frets, top, bracings, sides, back, body dimensions, neck, sound hole and electric pickups), and the exact role they play in creating the tone of the instrument.
CHAPTER 5 - RECORDING ACOUSTIC GUITAR
This chapter discusses the effect of room acoustics and presents several ways to reduce the resulting bad effects on audio recordings. It also discusses the essentials of digital recording techniques and explains in detail how you can create professional studio-quality recordings at home with a small budget.
CHAPTER 6 - TWEAKING YOUR GUITAR
This chapter explains what you can do to improve playability and tone of your guitar, and how to make sure you can enjoy its tone all your life.