String Theory - The Physics of String-Bending and Other Electric Guitar Techniques
David Robert Grimes
Electric guitar playing is ubiquitous in practically all modern music genres. In the hands of an experienced player, electric guitars can sound as expressive and distinct as a human voice. Unlike other more quantised instruments where pitch is a discrete function, guitarists can incorporate micro-tonality and, as a result, vibrato and sting-bending are idiosyncratic hallmarks of a player. Similarly, a wide variety of techniques unique to the electric guitar have emerged. While the mechano-acoustics of stringed instruments and vibrating strings are well studied, there has been comparatively little work dedicated to the underlying physics of unique electric guitar techniques and strings, nor the mechanical factors influencing vibrato, string-bending, fretting force and whammy-bar dynamics. In this work, models for these processes are derived and the implications for guitar and string design discussed. The string-bending model is experimentally validated using a variety of strings and vibrato dynamics are simulated. The implications of these findings on the configuration and design of guitars is also discussed.
A crash program to cobble together a fast train with a few surplus jet engines mounted on a lightweight commuter train car. The frontal area is low on trains and a slightly more aerodynamic shape was added. Low rolling resistance and long areas for acceleration permitted some high speeds for the day.
pathos /ˈpāˌTHäs/, n. 1. The quality or character of those emotions, traits, or experiences which are personal, and therefore restricted and evanescent; transitory and idiosyncratic dispositions or feelings as distinguished from those which are universal and deep-seated in character; — opposed to ethos.
It continued. 2. That quality or property of anything which touches the feelings or excites emotions and passions, esp., that which awakens tender emotions, such as pity, sorrow, and the like; contagious warmth of feeling, action, or expression; pathetic quality; as, the pathos of a picture, of a poem, or of a cry.
Dear god! How did I not know about this dictionary? How could you even callyourself a dictionary if all you give for “pathos” is “a quality that evokes pity or sadness”? Webster’s definition is so much fuller, so much closer to felt experience.
Notice, too, how much less certain the Webster definition seems about itself, even though it’s more complete — as if to remind you that the word came first, that the word isn’t defined by its definition here, in this humble dictionary, that definitions grasp, tentatively, at words, but that what words really are is this haze and halo of associations and evocations, a little networked cloud of uses and contexts.
What I mean is that with its blunt authority the New Oxford definition of “pathos” — “a quality that evokes pity or sadness” — shuts down the conversation, it shuts down your thinking about the word, while the Webster’s version gets your wheels turning: it seems so much more provisional — “that which awakens tender emotions, such as pity, sorrow, and the like; contagious warmth of feeling, action, or expression; pathetic quality; as, the pathos of a picture, of a poem, or of a cry” — and therefore alive.
Most important, it describes a word worth using: a mere six letters that have come to stand for something huge, for a complex meta-emotion with mythic roots. Such is the power of actual English.
The pleasure of finding things out
I could go on forever listing examples. I could say, “Look up example, magic,sport. Look up arduous, huge, chauvinistic, venal, pell-mell, raiment, sue, smarting,stereotype. Look up the word word, and look, and up. Look up every word you used today.” Indeed that’s what motivated this post: I’d been using Webster’s dictionary for about a year; I kept looking words up, first there, then in whatever modern dictionary was closest to hand, and seeing this awful difference, evidence of a crime that kept piling up in my mind, the guilt building: so many people were getting this wrong impression about words, every day, so many times a day.