Recording Studios Sydney: The acoustic (non-electrified) guitar is the centuries-old ancestor of the electric guitar. The instrument shown here is an example of the modern Spanish-style six-string acoustic guitar that was developed around 1800. Steel strings were introduced in the 19th century to replace traditional gut strings.
Sound is produced by striking the strings and making them vibrate. The energy of the vibrating strings is transferred to the soundboard through the bridge. The guitar’s hollow body amplifies the sound of the vibrating strings. The pitch of the vibrating strings depends partly on the mass, tension, and length of the strings.
On steel-string guitars, the lower strings are thicker. Tuning the strings changes the tension; the tighter the string, the higher the pitch. Pressing down on the frets changes the amount of the string that is free to vibrate; the closer the fret is to the sound hole, the shorter the vibrating string, the higher the pitch.
Recording Studios Sydney: Electro-Acoustic Guitar
Recording Studios Sydney: Guitar makers and players have always searched for ways to increase the instrument’s volume. Electronic amplification was one of the most successful innovations for building a louder guitar. Some of the earliest electronic experiments from the 1920s and 1930s involved simply attaching a pickup to an acoustic guitar.
An electric-acoustic guitar is also called a hollow-body electric guitar
Recording Studios Sydney: Pickups
Electric guitar pioneers tried a variety of ways to pick up the instrument’s sound and amplify it. George Beauchamp and Paul Barth developed the first successful electromagnetic pickup system; it was applied to the Rickenbacker Frying Pan guitar, marketed in 1932.
Today, pickups are electromagnets mounted under the guitar strings. They sense the strings’ vibrations and convert them into electrical signals that travel through a cable to the amplifier to increase the sound. There are two kinds of pickups: single-coil and double-coil, or humbucking. The latter give a fuller sound.