# Guitar Strings

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The solution to the problem begins by first identifying known information. knowledge of the length and the harmonic number allows one to determine the wavelength of the wave. And conversely.physicsclassroom. To demonstrate the use of the above problem-solving scheme. consider the following problem and its detailed solution.com/class/sound/u11l5b.Motion and Forces in Two Dimensions Momentum and Its Conservation Work. and Power Circular Motion and Satellite Motion Thermal Physics Static Electricity Current Electricity Waves Sound Waves and Music Light Waves and Color Reflection and Ray Model of Light Refraction and Ray Model of Light Guitar Strings Student Extras A guitar string has a number of frequencies at which it will naturally vibrate.765 m The problem statement asks us to determine the frequency (f) value. listing the desired quantity. we will merely summarize the results of that discussion. Thus. This relationship is derived from the diagram of the standing wave pattern (and was explained in detail in Lesson 4).5 cm = 0.53 m Now that wavelength is known. the natural frequency at which an object vibrates at depends upon the tension of the string. The graphic below depicts the standing wave patterns for the lowest three harmonics or frequencies of a guitar string. Energy. the wavelength is twice the length. The graphic below depicts the relationships between the key variables in such calculations. and constructing a diagram of the situation.Guitar Strings http://www. speed = frequency • wavelength frequency = speed / wavelength Find: f1 = ?? Diagram: 2 de 4 12/12/2011 15:22 . In this problem (and any problem). From the graphic above. Example Problem The speed of waves in a particular guitar string is 425 m/s. then the frequency could be easily calculated. The specifics of the patterns and their formation were discussed in Lesson 4. the lengthwavelength relationships and the wave equation (speed = frequency * wavelength) can be combined to perform calculations predicting the length of string required to produce a given natural frequency.cfm » The Physics Classroom » Physics Tutorial » Sound Waves and Music Sound Waves and Music . The speed is given.765 m Wavelength = 1. Wavelength = 2 • Length Wavelength = 2 • 0. the only means of finding the frequency is to use the wave equation (speed=frequency • wavelength) and knowledge of the speed and wavelength. This relationship. which works only for the first harmonic of a guitar string. Each of these calculations requires knowledge of the speed of a wave in a string. the wavelength associated with each of the harmonic frequencies can be found.Lesson 5 Musical Instruments Resonance | Guitar Strings | Open-End Air Columns | Closed-End Air Columns Physics Tutorial 1-D Kinematics Newton's Laws Vectors . If the wavelength could be found. the linear density of the string and the length of the string. Determine the fundamental frequency (1st harmonic) of the string if its length is 76. Each of these natural frequencies or harmonics is associated with a standing wave pattern. For now.5 cm. If the length of a guitar string is known. As mentioned earlier. but wavelength is not known. For the first harmonic. is used to calculate the wavelength for this standing wave. it can be combined with the given value of the speed to calculate the frequency of the first harmonic for this given string. These relationships will be used to assist in the solution to problems involving standing waves in musical instruments. This calculation is shown below. Given: v = 425 m/s L = 76. calculations can be performed to predict the natural frequencies produced by a known length of string. Minds on Physics The Calculator Pad Multimedia Studios Shockwave Studios The Review Session Physics Help Curriculum Corner The Laboratory The Photo Gallery The wavelength of the standing wave for any given harmonic is related to the length of the string (and vice versa). These natural Teacher's Guide frequencies are known as the harmonics of the guitar string.

Most problems can be solved in a similar manner. and third harmonics. Example Problem Determine the length of guitar string required to produce a fundamental frequency (1 st harmonic) of 256 Hz. listing the desired quantity. be sure to be mindful of the numerical relationships involved in such problems.Guitar Strings http://www. The solution to the problem begins by first identifying known information.791 m If you have successfully followed the logic in the above two example problems. Calculate the frequency of the first.58 m Now that the wavelength is found. Avoid the tendency to memorize approaches to different types of problems. and constructing a diagram of the situation. is used to calculate the wavelength for this standing wave pattern. See Answer 2. For the first harmonic. Length = (1/2) • Wavelength Length = (1/2) • Wavelength Length = 0. The speed of the wave is 600 m/sec. take the time to write down the given information and the requested information and to draw a meaningful diagram.com/class/sound/u11l5b. However. the length is one-half the wavelength. take a try at the following practice problems. The tendency to treat every problem the same way is perhaps one of the quickest paths to failure. examine the following problem and its solution. It is important to combine good problem-solving skills (part of which involves the discipline to set the problem up) with a solid grasp of the relationships among variables. which works only for the first harmonic of a guitar string. The length of the string is 70. Diagram: Given: v = 405 m/s f1 = 256 Hz Find: L = ?? The problem statement asks us to determine the length of the guitar string. From the graphic above. But the wavelength is not known.53 m) frequency = 278 Hz Hosted by comPADRE. A guitar string with a length of 80. It is always wise to take the extra time needed to set the problem up. the length of the guitar string can be calculated. This relationship is derived from the diagram of the standing wave pattern (and was explained in detail in Lesson 4). The speed of a wave in the string is 400 m/sec. A frequency of the first harmonic is 587 Hz (pitch of D5) is sounded out by a vibrating guitar string. the frequency and speed are given.0 cm is plucked. Find the length of the string. so one can use the wave equation (speed = frequency • wavelength) and knowledge of the speed and frequency to determine the wavelength. The speed of waves in a particular guitar string is known to be 405 m/s. speed = frequency • wavelength wavelength = speed / frequency wavelength = (405 m/s) / (256 Hz) wavelength = 1. As you proceed. Calculate the speed of the standing wave in the guitar string. All rights reserved. A pitch of Middle D (first harmonic = 294 Hz) is sounded out by a vibrating guitar string. the only means of finding the length of the string is from knowledge of the wavelength.0 cm. refer to the graphic above. This relationship between wavelength and length. To further your understanding of these relationships and the use of the above problem-solving scheme. See Answer 3. It may also be evident to you by looking at the standing wave diagram drawn above.physicsclassroom. These preparatory steps become more important as problems become more difficult.cfm frequency = (425 m/s) / (1. second. This calculation is shown below. © 1996-2011 The Physics Classroom. See Answer 3 de 4 12/12/2011 15:22 . Seldom in physics are two problems identical. Check Your Understanding 1. And if necessary.

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