Significant Tonal Improvement Changing Klusons for Grovers

ErictheRed

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That guy does great videos in his "where does the tone come from" series. Everyone should watch the one he does on amp tone. But with this one, I have some issues. There are some holes and assumptions.

On a side tangent, Eric, have you read the translated publication "Physics of the Electric Guitar" by Manfred Zollner? I'm curious what a physicist has to say about it.
I have some issues with all of Jim Lill's videos, but I still think that they are very interesting and that a lot can be taken from them in a practical sense. His cabinet video was quite good, I thought.

Regarding Zollner, I haven't read the entire thing (it's quite long!), but I've read some of it. What I've seen is all quite good. I've read other books on the physics of instruments though, for instance Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics by Benade and The Physics of Musical Instruments by Fletcher and Rossing. Music and sound come up a lot in physics education, as it all falls under the umbrella of physics: vibration, oscillations, waves and energy, stress/forces on rigid bodies, electromagnetism, etc. I don't think that the average guitar player realizes how fundamental all of those topics are in physics, and how often musical instruments come up in university physics curricula as simple, easy-to-understand examples of more complicated scenarios.

About myself personally, I shouldn't pass myself off as a physicist in the sense that I don't have a PhD in physics. I'm not one of those brilliant, all-knowing physics professors--and I don't say that tongue-in-cheek! I had professors that were incredibly intelligent and educated about an enormous and diverse range of applications. They seemed to know everything! I have degrees in physics and electrical engineering though (B.S. and M.S.), so I know a fair amount, but I'm more a typical engineer/physicist working at a company.

In electrical engineering school I took entire classes not only on signal processing, but audio spectrum signal processing. I took a few classes on amplifier design as well, but none of those were audio-specific. Most were about power and RF amplifiers (no-one really teaches anything about tube guitar amps anymore anyway as they're outdated technology). So I know a lot about how an electrical signal is generated, transmission line theory and how it propagates through cables, what happens at different stages of amplification, and all of that. Most of my engineering career was spent in aerospace analyzing conducted and radiated emissions on aircraft: basically the same thing as signals going through a guitar/cable/amplifier system, just much, much higher frequency. I left engineering a while ago to teach, though. I teach physics and the occasional engineering (and rarely chemistry or math) class now.

So I do know a good amount about all of this stuff, but I'm not expertly qualified to comment on the Zollner work, etc., and don't want to come off like I am. I realize that I can sound know-it-all or condescending at times, but I think that's mostly because the average musician or musical hobbyist doesn't understand how well-understood all of these things are. There's just not much room for magic fairy unicorn dust when it comes to electric guitar tone anymore.
 
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edro

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I have some issues with all of Jim Lill's videos, but I still think that they are very interesting and that a lot can be taken from them in a practical sense. His cabinet video was quite good, I thought.

Regarding Zollner, I haven't read the entire thing (it's quite long!), but I've read some of it. What I've seen is all quite good. I've read other books on the physics of instruments though, for instance Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics by Benade and The Physics of Musical Instruments by Fletcher and Rossing. Music and sound come up a lot in physics education, as it all falls under the umbrella of physics: vibration, oscillations, waves and energy, stress/forces on rigid bodies, electromagnetism, etc. I don't think that the average guitar player realizes how fundamental all of those topics are in physics, and how often musical instruments come up in university physics curricula as simple, easy-to-understand examples of more complicated scenarios.

About myself personally, I shouldn't pass myself off as a physicist in the sense that I don't have a PhD in physics. I'm not one of those brilliant, all-knowing physics professors--and I don't say that tongue-in-cheek! I had professors that were incredibly intelligent and educated about an enormous and diverse range of applications. They seemed to know everything! I have degrees in physics and electrical engineering though (B.S. and M.S.), so I know a fair amount, but I'm more a typical engineer/physicist working at a company.

In electrical engineering school I took entire classes not only on signal processing, but audio spectrum signal processing. I took a few classes on amplifier design as well, but none of those were audio-specific. Most were about power and RF amplifiers (no-one really teaches anything about tube guitar amps anymore anyway as they're outdated technology). So I know a lot about how an electrical signal is generated, transmission line theory and how it propagates through cables, what happens at different stages of amplification, and all of that. Most of my engineering career was spent in aerospace analyzing conducted and radiated emissions on aircraft: basically the same thing as signals going through a guitar/cable/amplifier system, just much, much higher frequency. I left engineering a while ago to teach, though. I teach physics and the occasional engineering (and rarely chemistry or math) class now.

So I do know a good amount about all of this stuff, but I'm not expertly qualified to comment on the Zollner work, etc., and don't want to come off like I am. I realize that I can sound know-it-all or condescending at times, but I think that's mostly because the average musician or musical hobbyist doesn't understand how well-understood all of these things are. There's just not much room for magic fairy unicorn dust when it comes to electric guitar tone anymore.

Great post, Eric.... There IS a ton of stuff that is known that can apply to anything when it comes to vibration and such....

I've always believed that part of learning is assessing what is taken to be known and questioning it to the point one understands it in a form that makes sense to that individual, not necessarily with the goal of disproving, rather questioning as in 'what makes this true or false... What may be obvious to one may be elusive to another. I enjoy discussions of individual thoughts on things as something is always illuminated that escaped my previous experiences/observations....

Way back when I was working with a musico, these below came out and I pondered on the theories about em a good bit. I should have ordered some for me just to partly see for myself and also I just liked the look on the back of the head. (yeah buddy, really scientific)... It would have been interesting to take one of my Lesters, figure out what transducers would have the sensitivity and freq response, beg an SA from a bud and figure out mechanism to trigger vibration. Tweren't any PrimeVibes back then that I could use the silicone contact transducers to excite guitar. Not available then...

1674607128576.png


Do a series of data points without strings exciting the guitar with a contact transducer without the FatHead and record data points and graph. Repeat with the FatHead but still no strings. That could take a LOT of variables out of the equation.... (pick, picking consistency in intensity, etc.) I would imagine I could establish a response curve for both conditions... I'd feed from my old HP hubcap lab sig gen as excitement source....


I think it is obvious there would be a difference in response with the difference in mass, discernible with the test equipment. However, I am not convinced it would be discernible to the ear... Therein lies the rub. Audio Range and audible range by any particular human are two totally different animals... In the old days waaaay back full time, I walled and 57'd my 4x12 cooked by my 800.... Enough signal sent through the floor mix to help me hear.... Never was fond of louder'n two hells.... I still have some hearing dips and such like everybody else....most faaaar worse than mine....

Probably none of us actually hear as well as we thing we do... We're musicians.... ;)
 
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ErictheRed

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Ya, he sort of built a giant electric lyre.

mid_00819410_001.jpg
Another thing that comes to mind about Jim's video is that, even if he sort of built a giant lyre, it still sounds just like an electric guitar. Someone could reasonably hypothesize that due to the construction it should sound at least a little bit like a lyre (or like an electric lyre, whatever that would sound like). Instead it sounds just like someone playing slide on an electric guitar. If it was only an audio sample, no-one would be the wiser.

I find that interesting. It's true that he isn't playing a guitar made from air or without a body at all, as some people have pointed out. But I think that misses the point. He's playing some weird lyre-like contraption with the scale length, strings, saddles, nut, and electronics of an electric guitar. Nothing else about the construction is even remotely similar to a guitar, and yet it sounds exactly like an electric guitar. I think that's very illuminating.

I'm certainly not going to be the one to do this, but it would be cool if he went back and installed a guitar neck underneath the strings to play fretted notes on. I doubt that anyone would be able to hear the difference between that and the same fretted notes on a Telecaster with all of the same electronics, fret material, etc.
 
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cooljuk

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Another thing that comes to mind about Jim's video is that, even if he sort of built a giant lyre, it still sounds just like an electric guitar. Someone could reasonably hypothesize that due to the construction it should sound at least a little bit like a lyre (or like an electric lyre, whatever that would sound like). Instead it sounds just like someone playing slide on an electric guitar. If it was only an audio sample, no-one would be the wiser.

I find that interesting. It's true that he isn't playing a guitar made from air or without a body at all, as some people have pointed out. But I think that misses the point. He's playing some weird lyre-like contraption with the scale length, strings, saddles, nut, and electronics of an electric guitar. Nothing else about the construction is even remotely similar to a guitar, and yet it sounds exactly like an electric guitar. I think that's very illuminating.

I'm certainly not going to be the one to do this, but it would be cool if he went back and installed a guitar neck underneath the strings to play fretted notes on. I doubt that anyone would be able to hear the difference between that and the same fretted notes on a Telecaster with all of the same electronics, fret material, etc.

Yes, I agree. My experience, though be it limited and anecdotal, is that mounting a Tele bridge pickup in the steel bridge plate is a pretty critical part of "the Tele sound." I have a test jig that's just a block of walnut with a Gibson wraparound bridge anchored on it and an old Strat neck bolted to it. It's just a very fast way for me to quickly test pickups, assess the relative difference between them, bridge/neck balance, and any harness / switching options. Tele bridge pickups mounted to the wood in that rig sound pretty different. If I slip one into a steel Tele bridge, though, they start sounding as expected.

I've found that bridge plate to be fairly microphonic. I think they common "mod" of putting a screw right through a vintage-style stamped steel plate to fix it firmly to the body, reducing squeal, is some evidence that this is fairly common. Now, here's the part I find really interesting, not only is that bridge plate microphonic (at least the old stamped steel type that bubble up a bit in the middle) but the steel control plate is also rather microphonic in a vintage-style Tele! Just tap on one. It would be great for flamenco, if a Tele wasn't about the worst guitar to play flamenco on.

Perhaps coincidence but, regarding microphonics and flat plates on Teles, Fender started potting the Tele neck pickups around the same time they started mounting them to the pickguard for easier height adjustment.
 

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