Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I (or you) pluck 2nd string fret 10, and pluck 1st string fret 5, which it's the same octave of the A note. Why when you pluck the 2nd string, it feels smoother than when you pluck the 1st string?

Is that because of the string gauges, depend on guitar's wood or else? I usually use high frets for playing the melody because it seems smoother. I'm curious about this.

UPDATE: ..of an acoustic guitar (both nylon and steel string)

Thank you.

share|improve this question
I've updated my answer - there is a little more technical stuff that can be said about this. Let me know if you want any more info. – Bob Broadley Apr 16 '14 at 11:12
up vote 26 down vote accepted

Partly due to the thicker string gauge, but also because you will be plucking the string closer to its middle point (if your pick or R.H. finger/thumb plucks in the same place.) This excites fewer of the upper harmonics of the string, giving a mellower sound. In classical guitar music you are often asked to play closer to the middle of the string to produce a mellower sound; this can be marked dolce, which literally translates to sweetly, or can be marked sul tasto (over the fingerboard). The opposite of this is pont. or ponticello (near the bridge) or metallico, which asks for a brittle sound.

On electric guitar this mellow effect, of playing the same note on a lower string, is also due to the relative position of the pickups. Whichever pickup you are using is now closer to the middle of the string. (If you think about the relative positioning, the bridge pickup now has the equivalent positioning of the neck pickup; the neck pickup is now likely to be very close to the middle of the string.)

share|improve this answer
So, more thick = more smoother? Or it depends on something? – seseorang Apr 16 '14 at 13:16
Hi there, most of my answer is about other aspects, rather than string gauge. – Bob Broadley Apr 16 '14 at 13:20
I mean other than where you pluck the string. – seseorang Apr 16 '14 at 13:29
Info about effect of string gauge on tone here: – Bob Broadley Apr 16 '14 at 13:49
Alright, thank you :) – seseorang Apr 16 '14 at 16:44

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.