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Old 03-09-2021, 02:34 PM
g-dude g-dude is offline
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Default Good vibrations? Bad vibrations? Sympathetic vibrations

So Iím a rank beginner when it comes to classical guitar, but in the world of bass guitar, sympathetic vibrations are to be avoided.

Should I be focusing on trying to prevent it, or is it just a function of the instrument that should be embraced?

I know that on the double bass, sympathetic vibrations can make it really easy to tell if your intonation is spot on (hit the E perfectly on the D string, and watch that low E start to shake).
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Old 03-09-2021, 03:23 PM
Bax Burgess Bax Burgess is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g-dude View Post
So Iím a rank beginner when it comes to classical guitar, but in the world of bass guitar, sympathetic vibrations are to be avoided.

Should I be focusing on trying to prevent it, or is it just a function of the instrument that should be embraced?

I know that on the double bass, sympathetic vibrations can make it really easy to tell if your intonation is spot on (hit the E perfectly on the D string, and watch that low E start to shake).
A sympathetic vibration shows that the intonation is spot on, while sympathetic vibrations are to be avoided. I'm out of the loop here.
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Old 03-09-2021, 07:21 PM
g-dude g-dude is offline
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Originally Posted by Bax Burgess View Post
A sympathetic vibration shows that the intonation is spot on, while sympathetic vibrations are to be avoided. I'm out of the loop here.
On a bass guitar, sympathetic vibrations create a rumble that isnít very musical at all. Itís why bass guitarists often anchor their thumbs on a string, or use a floating thumb method that silences the strings that are not played. Often, the left hand will also be use to silence strings in conjunction with the thumb.

In contrast, on the double bass, you donít do that at all. While you could in theory do that when playing pizzicato, nobody does, and itíd be practically impossible to do when playing arco (with the bow). In general, the sympathetic vibrations arenít as noticeable audibly on the double bass as the bass guitar, but you can certainly feel them.

So back to the question, when playing classical guitar, are the sympathetic vibrations something I need to worry about dampening down?

I certainly notice them a lot more than I do on the double bass, likely due to the pitches involved and the fact that the guitar is moving a lot less air than a double bass does, so the ratio of sympathetic vibration to actual note is a lot different. (To get an idea of how much air a double bass can move, I can face the wall and play my bass and proceed to rattle glassware and the snares on my sonís drum set in another room behind me).
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Old 03-10-2021, 12:20 AM
Bax Burgess Bax Burgess is offline
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I tune steel and nylon guitars very low (CGCFAC) and don't plug-in. The wobbly basses do get messy when played aggressively, though, I haven't noticed a disruptive rumble, which may be due to the standard guitar sizes that I use. An overly sensitive, larger body, scalloped braced steel string guitar, or the massive Bajo Sexto could be more likely to deal with that issue.

You could reduce bass string resonance by using a mixed set, the bass strings being of a higher tension than the trebles. La Bella 2001 series offers a mixed set.

Last edited by Bax Burgess; 03-10-2021 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 03-10-2021, 11:36 AM
Carey Carey is offline
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It depends on the music of course, with some sounding better with the bloom of the basses; but I do tend to damp the bass strings a lot- it sounds tidier,
and fits most of the music I work on. I might do it too much, though..
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Old 03-10-2021, 11:49 AM
g-dude g-dude is offline
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Originally Posted by Carey View Post
It depends on the music of course, with some sounding better with the bloom of the basses; but I do tend to damp the bass strings a lot- it sounds tidier,
and fits most of the music I work on. I might do it too much, though..
You know... ďit dependsĒ is actually a helpful answer in this case.

Iím so used to sympathetic vibrations being a sign of bad technique on guitar type instruments, full stop, that I think I can live with a case by case type of situation.

I definitely notice it a lot more with rest strokes vs free strokes, but that sort of makes sense at a gut level.
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