School of Rock: The Physics of Waves on Guitar Strings
Playing the guitar is an art form. But the good vibrations you hear are a science.
PERHAPS THE MOST iconic instrument in modern rock is the guitar. It’s really just a bunch of strings stretched across a board, which you can strum to make awesome tunes, thanks to the physics of waves and sound.
Let’s start with a demo you could probably repeat at home. Get a nice string—one that’s sort of thick—and lay it out in a straight line on the floor. Now grab one free end and give it a side-to-side shake. Here’s what it might look like….