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location Cologne, Germany
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visits member for 3 years, 3 months
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Functional programming enthusiast, audio engineer & musician. Whilst not busy with any of that, I study physics at Universität zu Köln / Bonn-Cologne Graduate School.


Sep
11
comment Are there guitar strings for very high tunings?
This will probably work, but standard thin a and g strings will certainly be very fragile: going to thinner gauges only reduces the total tension (force on the pegs), but not the actual material tension the steel has to endure. What you'd really need is strong, but more lightwight materials than steel; titanium ought to work very well (obviously not for electric guitars though).
Sep
7
comment Do you use a metronome for songs or just for scales and exercises?
@Shevliaskovic: yes. To a beginner, the most crucial thing is to get a feel for the instrument. Forcing a feel for steady tempo before the instrument starts to go smoothly is futile, they should better train that without an instrument by intensively listening to music. Where, as I said, a metronome is a good idea is in purely technical excercises, to make sure the technique doesn't interfere with the internal tempo sense.
Sep
7
comment Do you use a metronome for songs or just for scales and exercises?
You have always something to keep your tempo steady: your feet! (Or rather, your "inner metronome".) Occasionally training that tempo-feeling itself with a metronome is certainly a good idea (in technical excercises), but for practising actual music the human metronome is superior to a mechanic/electronical one.
Sep
6
comment Learning guitar without making noise
Don't expect too much from buying a sound-hole cover: these do lower the volume, but only slightly; they're most effective in shielding internal microphones from outside noise, whereas the guitar sound is transmitted from all the walls to both outside and inside. The outlying faces still emit sound, no matter what you do to the sound hole. Stuffing the entire body with t-shirts is more effective, because it damps the vibrations of the wood itself.
Sep
5
comment Is it possible to plug one guitar into two amps?
Impedance matching is just one of many good-practise design aspects that's blatantly neglegted by guitar electronics... though in defence, in the audio range a transmission low-output-impedance to high-input-impedance can actually work very well, just not for the horribly uneven characteristic of an electric guitar. — As for capacitive loading: that is actually a relevant sound aspect, but it's mostly due to the guitar cable! Amps represent a mostly Ohmic load.
Sep
5
comment Is it possible to plug one guitar into two amps?
"each gets only half as much signal as it would otherwise get" erm, no! The amps are in parallel, and their inputs have each a much higher impedance than the pickups. Perhaps it'll sound different if you plug the second amp in (guitar PUs have inductive impedance, so an ohmic load makes for a high-cut), but the overall signal strength won't be much different: it's not that the amp's input power halves, rather the guitar's output power doubles. — The real problem with setting amps parallel, as already said by the other answers, is ground loops.
Sep
2
comment What do we call music which is not played on the beat?
Quite agree that there's a difference, but your characterisation of syncopation sound a bit like it's always just a few "moved" beats per measure – which isn't true. In classical music, you often have quite lengthy passages played only on the offs, still this is called syncopation and IMO is not off beat, because the strong beats are "grossed over" rather than explicitly used as silent beats or minor accents.
Aug
29
comment Math PI represented musically
@CarlWitthoft: I agree. Alternatively, one might use a π/4 time signature, or use intervals with frequency ratio π:3 as the melodic step size. But using the digits of π is basically just like using a random stream of numbers.
Aug
28
comment Math PI represented musically
music.stackexchange.com/questions/11923/…
Aug
28
comment Electronic device that introduces harmonic overtones
@PatMuchmore: that's mostly true when you play chords. When you distort a simple, cleanly played single note then the extra frequencies are in fact in the harmonic series, or very close to it (as close as in a violin). Perhaps you mean there are dissonant overtones; that's of course true for a violin as well. — Really the main reason that distorted guitar sounds so different from bowed strings is the attack character: a bow gives a quiet but "fuzzy" friction sound, a pick gives a loud and sharp click. Also, the playing technique, phrasing etc. idioms are of course completely different.
Aug
26
comment What's the difference between two notes played on strings of different thickness?
How relevant viscous friction is I don't know, but it can't be dominant or all electric guitars would sound pretty much the same.
Aug
26
comment What's the difference between two notes played on strings of different thickness?
Where did you take "to leading order the damping is directly proportional to mass density per unit length" from anyway? That's not in your source. Again, it's wrong; for constant friction coefficient the viscous damping goes ∝ 1/ρ as per a simple energy argument (doubling the density reduces the average velocity (and hence force) by 1/√2, so each oscillation by a given amplitude dissipates that much less energy. It also lengthens each cycle to √2 T, so the time needed to dissipate a given amount of energy is doubled).
Aug
26
comment What's the difference between two notes played on strings of different thickness?
@ninemileskid: deformation is time-derivative of the string's bending, i.e. ∂ₓ² v rather than v alone. Therefore this damping's efficiency grows ∝ ω², while viscosity-damping affects all frequencies equally. That's a main reason why nylon strings sound mellower than steel strings: plastics deform in a strongly inelastic way. In steel strings, the deformation is mostly elastic (fortunately, for inelastic deformation leads to metal fatigue), so it causes inharmonicity but not damping.
Aug
26
comment What's the difference between two notes played on strings of different thickness?
That's a nice reference you quoted there, but it doesn't really discuss dampening as it happens in stringed instruments, only dampening by fluid viscosity friction (unless you're playing underwater guitar, that won't be a relevant factor. And if it was relevant, your conclusion would be wrong: a heavier string is actually attenuated less by this effect, for much the same reason a ball of lead drops faster than a feather). In reality, attenuation on a steel string happens mostly at the bridge and fretboard and on dirt particles on the string. For nylon etc. strings it's more complicated.
Aug
25
comment Best strings for heavy metal (I love distortion)?
Good thinking about the inharmonicity part – but actually the argument doesn't quite work out, because thinner bass strings would need to be driven to higher amplitudes where the oscillation becomes nonlinear, giving you effectively more inharmonicity (and even the fundamental doesn't stay consistent). With fat strings you can keep the amplitude low and still have plenty of output, also you can (palm mute etc.) better concentrate the energy into a few lower harmonics, where inharmonicity doesn't come very much into effect yet. Most harmonics you hear in the end are from distortion itself.
Aug
21
comment When to use a dot or a tie in music notation?
And while we're at readability... does it really make sense to notate a guitar in (octave-) violin clef, if it's tuned down that low? I'd prefer bass clef, those ledger lines are a nightmare.
Aug
21
comment When to use a dot or a tie in music notation?
BTW, what's with this strange C-C♯-C♮ combination? Are you sure the notes shouldn't rather be simply C-C-C-E♭-C-C-D♭-C, e.g. with a key signature of 5 ♭s?
Aug
21
comment Relationship between 3/4 and 4/4
Also, a hemiola switches between 6/8 and 3/4 (or two bars of 3/4 and 3/2, or possibly 10/8 and 5/4 etc.) but it doesn't make sense for power-of-two meters.
Aug
13
comment What factors contribute most to the tone of an electric guitar?
As for active pickups, you're missing the point. A cable, even with really high capacitance, does not by itself roll of any high end. This phenomenon only comes about in connection with a resistor (the cable itself has a resistance, so, technically it does swallow treble... but you need many miles of cable for this to become an issue) or inductance. It so happens that a passive electric guitar has a massive inductance in its signal path, namely the pickup itself; it is this combination of solenoid inductance and cable-capacitor that creates both the pickup's resonance and treble cutoff.
Aug
13
comment What factors contribute most to the tone of an electric guitar?
@Kaz: didn't see you'd commented on my remarks. — Alas, you're wrong here. When we properly design a guitar circuit nowadays, we put a capacitor in, yes. But this wasn't done back in the days, those are not properly designed circuits but (usually) more or less random collections of parts that the luthiers found sufficiently nice in the end-result (with cable, amp etc.). Capacitance in such a guitar cable is needed; when you connect a pickup with just two short wires to a preamp it'll sound rather thin and characterless, the resonance will be so high it doesn't really come out in the amp.