Ever since Fleetwood Mac, Queen and good ol’ Eric Clapton roaming the Earth or more so on my Dad’s record player, I have always air guitared it out- yes we are talking since I was about 5 (there are many embarrassing videos of me hopping about to some Johnny Clegg and Savuka). Yeah well they call me the “headbanger”, what can I say..
For the past few years, I have been eager to try out either the drums or guitar- because I found that beating the stool to a pulp using some cocktail sticks from Italy or pretending my violin was a Fender just wasn’t working! And after a few years of ponderment (?), I did it. I just went and asked my wonderful parents if I could get a guitar, convincing them in the process that I wouldn’t be a dilletante in the field of electric guitaring. THEY SAID YES, and boy does it feel good. Imagining yourself playing the guitar in the mirror isn’t quite the same as holding the smooth built-in neck of your classic ebony Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plaintop and watching the light reflect of its shiny black surface- ahh the joy. Not to mention its ultra cool sidekick the Fender Mustang 1 V2 (the amp is so important) AND TOGETHER THEY WILL FIGHT OFF THE EVILS OF THE WORLD.
YES I NEED TO EXPRESS MY PURE EXCITEMENT AND LADILADILADSDSDKFKLF;kldjf;lkdjs (excitement, joy and hyperactivity summed up in one long beautiful word).
But what’s the point of playing something, if you don’t know how it works?
So this is obviously just a simple explanation, but hopefully when I go on to study engineering at (Oxford (MY MIND’S TELLING ME NO (because let’s face it, that is WAAy too hopeful) BUT MY BODY, MY BODY’S TELLING ME YEAAAHAHH))(bracketphilia again) I will understand everything like sugar on a pancake (with lemon, don’t ask about the analagy, I write what pops in my head, no more.)
If you play an electric guitar without an amp, it doesn’t make much sound because it doesn’t have a sound hole, like the acoustic guitar has. So the electric guitar, unlike the acoustic guitar, has pick-ups (my gorgeous gitarra has humbucker pick-ups, but you can also get single coil pick-ups as well), the electric guitar normally has a pickup at the neck and near the bridge. When the metal strings are played, the pick-ups beneath the strings create electric sound signals, which are then sent to the volume and tone controls and then to the amplifier.
Pick-ups work by producing a magnetic field (they contain magnets) around the strings and coil of wire. When the strings vibrate, they cause the fields to vary in strength. Because the field is changing, it creates a varying electric current in the coil of wire, which is then sent off to the volume and tone controls.
The amp, works by amplifying (so punny) the weak signal of the guitar by increasing the voltage, thus increasing its power (power=current x voltage). The amplifier contains lots of transistors to regulate the stronger flow of current from power supplies. The amplifier can use the transistors and other components to change the sound of the guitar as well.
Now I don’t want to bore anyone, so there will be another post all about the amaziinginosity of transistors (awesome new word right there.)
- The Invention of the Electric Guitar (todayifoundout.com)
- Electric Guitar Tabs Explained (crlug.org)
- What is the difference between an electric guitar and a bass guitar? (the-guitar.information-about-music.com)